By Lori Lowenthal Marcus
The official Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration held at the Israeli Embassy in the United States took place on Thursday evening, April 23.
The special guest of honor at the 67th anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence was U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.
While many people scratched their heads over why Biden was at the event, those people seem to have forgotten that prior to being yoked to his current boss, Biden was considered a reliably pro-Israel U.S. Senator from the Democratic party.
The presence of such a high level representative of the U.S. government at the Israeli Embassy’s Independence Day celebration is also significant because of the extremely bad blood between the personalities of the leadership on both sides.
Ron Dermer, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. and the host of the event is viewed with at least as much displeasure as is Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and for the same reasons, by this White House.
Both Israelis refuse to humble themselves or their nation to the dictates of this U.S. administration which has incessantly called for life-threatening concessions to the enemies surrounding it.
Dermer, a long-time and essential aide to Netanyahu, is clearly a thorn in the side of the U.S. administration. In its official editorial, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz – widely read by those who loathe Israel, but with only a tiny readership in Israel -just last week called on Netanyahu to fire Dermer.
The Haaretz editorial stated as unqualified fact – which it presumably would not do without confirmation from senior White House officials – that:
Obama’s associates, headed by National Security Advisor Susan Rice and chief of staff Denis McDonough, are ignoring Dermer. A meeting between him and Obama himself is out of the question.
So having the Vice President of the United States show up for Israel’s birthday celebration was surely seen as a way to show both the American and Israeli people that strong bonds of friendship still exist between the two nations.
Biden was at his most Bidenesque at the D.C. Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration. Which was a problem.
As soon as he started speaking, audience members began to squirm.
Obviously not realizing the sensitivity Jews have to the dangers of intermarriage, Biden proudly told everyone assembled: “Two of my three children married Jews.”
One woman who was at the celebration told the JewishPress.com that she was sitting between one woman who was the child of a Holocaust survivor and her own husband, who is also the child of a Holocaust survivor.
“Their expressions, when Biden talked – at length – about two of his Catholic children marrying Jews, was pained.”
But Biden, oblivious to the palpable discomfort, told everyone assembled that the “dream of every Irish Catholic father is for his daughter to marry a Jewish surgeon.”
Biden then went on to describe the negotiations when his daughter married a Jewish surgeon from New Jersey. He talked about how his daughter, Ashley, was to be married in the oldest Catholic Church in Delaware, but they also had a rabbi present at the church who co-officiated in the wedding.
The Vice President also explained that when the music for the wedding was chosen, he suggested a particular hymn be played as the newly-married couple left the church, but his daughter instead requested that the hora be played.