President Joe Biden claimed he was invited to Israel during the Six Day War by former Prime Minister Golda Meir — but history doesn’t exactly square with his recollection.
Biden, speaking during a Hannukah party at the White House, said that he had been close with every Israeli Prime Minister since Meir.
“I was saying to a couple of young members of my staff before I came over about the many times I’ve been to Israel, and I said — all of a sudden I realized, God, you’re getting old, Biden,” he began, prompting laughs from the audience. “I have known every — every prime minister well since Golda Meir, including Golda Meir. And during the Six Day War, I had an opportunity to — she invited me to come over because I was going to be the liaison between she and the Egyptians, about the Suez and so on and so forth.”
Biden says he went to Israel during the Six Day War to act as a liaison. He’s lying. That never happened. Totally normal. pic.twitter.com/rqLysviI4U
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) December 2, 2021
“And I sat in front of her desk. And she had a guy — her staff member — to my right. His name was Rabin. And she kept flipping those maps up and down. She had that bevy of maps — sort of kept it — and it was — it was so depressing what she was — about what happened. She gave me every detail,” Biden continued.
🇺🇸🇮🇱 — BELAAZ VIDEO: President Biden said at the Chanukah party Wednesday that he went to Israel during the 6 Day War in 1967 & PM Golda Meir asked him to mediate with Egypt.
Fact Check: It did not happened at that time — he went only prior to the ‘Yom Kippur War in 1973. pic.twitter.com/bzY2g1cfLx
— Belaaz News (@TheBelaaz) December 3, 2021
The historical complication for Biden is the fact that the Six-Day War, also known as the Third Arab-Israeli War, took place between June 5-10, 1967. At the time, Biden was still a student at the Syracuse University School of Law — he would not graduate until 1968 and would not be elected to the U.S. Senate until four years later, in 1972. Additionally, Meir was not elected Prime Minister of Israel until March 17, 1969.
Biden did visit Israel during Meir’s tenure, but it was not until 1973 — on the eve of the Yom Kippur War. It was his first major overseas trip as a senator, and he has often called it “one of the most consequential meetings I’ve ever had in my life.”
He claimed that Meir chain-smoked through the meeting while she gave him details about all of the security threats the Israelis faced on a daily basis — and during a 2010 interview, he claimed that she had even told him of Israel’s “secret weapon” when it came to such wars.
“We have a secret weapon in our conflict with the Arabs,” Meir told Biden. “We have no place else to go.”
But according to The Times of Israel, a once-classified memo paints a slightly different picture of Biden’s meeting with Meir.
Biden warned that Israel’s actions in the territories it had captured during the Six Day War, including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, were leading to “creeping annexation.”
Since he believed Israel was militarily dominant in the region, he suggested the Jewish state might initiate a first step for peace through unilateral withdrawals from areas with no strategic importance.
The official said Biden criticized the Nixon administration for being “dragged by Israel,” complaining that it was impossible to have a real debate in the Senate about the Middle East as senators were fearful of saying things unpopular with Jewish voters.
The official added his own personal impressions regarding the young senator at the bottom of the document, saying Biden was full of respect toward the Israeli leader and repeatedly said he had come to learn, “and yet while speaking displayed a fervor and made comments that signaled his lack of diplomatic experience.”