US President Joe Biden did not fall asleep during a meeting last week with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, according to a Reuters fact check of the incident.
The false claim was widely disseminated on social media, in the US and Israel, including by a Likud MK.
Biden and Bennett met on Friday morning at the White House, after their planned meeting was delayed 24 hours following the suicide bombing at the Kabul airport on Thursday which killed 13 US military officers.
In clips shared on social media, Biden appears to have fallen asleep as Bennett is speaking. But those clips have been altered to cut out Biden’s remarks made immediately after he briefly lowered his eyes while listening, Reuters noted.
Observers also noted that Biden’s remarks immediately after Bennett stopped speaking — “You’ve given me credit, much of which should go to Barack Obama, for making sure that we committed to the qualitative edge you would have” — were a direct response to the prime minister’s comments.
The "Biden asleep" video is now being reported by #Iran's state broadcaster. The footage they've shared is clearly snipped to show a few seconds where Biden's dropped his head in conversation with Israeli PM Bennett.
The vid below includes a longer version of the snipped scene. pic.twitter.com/2TQN1TFeWQ
— Kian Sharifi (@KianSharifi) August 29, 2021
Likud MK Galit Distel Atbaryan, who was among those to share the misleading clip, accused the Israeli media of “falling asleep itself and not paying attention to this historical moment.”
Distel Atbaryan’s tweet accumulated more than 5 million views.
It was also flagged with a warning from Twitter for sharing “manipulated media.”
During the 2020 presidential election, Biden was dubbed “Sleepy Joe” by his opponent, former president Donald Trump, and critics of the president have repeatedly attempted to share disinformation claiming that Biden has fallen asleep during meetings or at events.