ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 147

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Biden to Netanyahu, full text: ‘Without Israel, there’s not a Jew in the world who’s secure’

US President Joe Biden, left, meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York City on September 20, 2023. (Avi Ohayon, GPO)
US President Joe Biden, left, meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York City on September 20, 2023. (Avi Ohayon, GPO)

Here is a transcript of US President Biden’s opening public remarks to Prime Minister Netanyahu.

As the camera crews set up, Biden’s team and Netanyahu’s team greet each other.

Biden says to Netanyahu, “Hello my friend, welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome, and I hope we’ll see each other in Washington by the end of the year.”

The president recalls his long working relationship with Netanyahu, then, referring to cards in his hand, says:

“Seventy-five years ago, the first Israeli prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, after declaring independence, used a phrase that I’ve quoted very often. He said that the world stands with Israel so that the dream of generations will be fulfilled. Together, Israel and the United States have been working together to make that dream a reality for a long time.

“You’ve heard me say, many times, if there were no Israel we’d have to invent one.

“It includes building a more stable and prosperous Middle East — that, over time, is beginning to occur, and through historic initiatives begun under previous administrations, including most recently the Indian, Middle East, European economic corridor which I think has enormous promise after the G20 meeting
in India, which is going to connect India and Europe through Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Israel.

“I think it’s a big deal, and we’re working on a lot more together.

“Today, we’re going to discuss some of the hard issues. That is, upholding democratic values that lie at the heart of our partnership, including checks and balances in our systems, and preserving the path to a negotiated two-state solution, and ensuring that Iran never, never, acquires a nuclear weapon.

“Because even where we have some differences, my commitment to Israel, as you know, is ironclad.

“I think without Israel, there’s not a Jew in the world who’s secure.

“I think Israel is essential.

“And I look forward to discussing all of this with you, and working together with your team, to fulfill as Ben-Gurion said, the dream of generations.

“I suffer from, oxymoron, Irish optimism. If you and I ten years ago were talking about normalization with Saudi Arabia, I think we’d look at each other, like, Who’s been drinking what?”

Netanyahu: “Good Irish whiskey.”

Biden: “Good Irish whiskey. That’s the reason why I’ve never had a drink.

“So, welcome Bibi [using the premier’s nickname], and I hope we can get some things settled today.”

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