Vice President Joe Biden's Israeli trip further shatters the United States' already fragile image. Israeli newspapers captured the sentiment with one word headlines that read "Embarrassment." Biden's week long trip to Israel intended to 'pave the way" for revived Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, fell short of the mark.
The U.S. Vice President's week of gaffes began when he chose Chris Matthews, MSNBC's "Hardball"
reporter to relay details of the trip. Seems Matthews publicly announced the Israelis "dislike President Obama because they're racist" on his show Monday night. Matthews and NY Times reporter Ethan Bronner then went on to question "Who's more popular over here? Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden. Put them in order..." Bronner apparently had Obama at the bottom of the list. Matthews then went on to say "Okay, that tells you a lot. So tell me why the president of the United States is so far at the bottom? Is it his middle name? Hussein?" Bronner indicated that "prejudice" regarding Obama's Islamic background contributed to the Israelis disdain. Matthews didn't stop there and added "Yeah, because they see him as a black man."
Tuesday didn't get any better. Biden and Israeli President Shimon Peres had a meeting at the president's residence where Biden tortured Peres with twenty plus minute long speech, with out allowing Peres a word in response. The Israeli press was furious. Then VP Biden arrived at a dinner with Prime Minister Netanyahu over one and a half hours late. Netanyahu intended to give Biden a framed certificate honoring his late mother and trees of Jerusalem but ended up breaking the glass, allowing shards to "fly all over" and Netanyahu to lose his temper with "Thank you, Joe. I have one thing to offer you right now, and it's broken glass," Biden retorted "Don't cut yourself." Netanyahu reportedly later apologized. Then plans to build 1,600 homes in Jerusalem set Biden off. He released a statement on Tuesday saying the "substance and timing" of the plan "is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions I've had here in Israel."
Wednesday didn't improve much either. Biden maintained that Israel had "undermined" the trust between the U.S. and Israel. He stated that the U.S. "will hold both sides accountable for any statements or actions that inflame tensions or prejudice the outcome of talks, as this decision did."
Biden tried to save face Thursday through a speech at Tel Aviv University. During the speech Biden insisted the U.S. has "no better friend than Israel."
The Deputy speaker of the Israeli parliament, Danny Danon, reported to the Washington Post that Israelis "see it as nothing short of an insult that President Obama himself is not coming" regarding Biden's visit.