On March 20,Vice President Joe Biden spoke to the annual public policy conference of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), the largest pro-Israel lobbying group in the United States. During that address, he took a not so subtle shot at GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.
Trump, who is supposed to speak to the gathering, is already the subject of controversy, as some Jewish leaders have announced a boycott of his address. Rabbis David Paskin and Jesse Olitzky have created a Facebook group and a website called “Come Together Against Hate” to rally others to their cause. The vice president’s remarks are certain to give encouragement to this and other efforts to voice displeasure at Trump’s stoking of fear and racial hatred.
In his speech Biden indirectly reminded the crowd of the rise of the Nazis and the persecution of Jews under their regime when he said this:
As the Jewish people know better than any other people, any action that marginalizes one religious or ethnic group imperils us all. It’s incumbent upon us, all of us, to stand up against those who traffic in pernicious stereotypes, who seek to scare and divide us for political gain.
If it wasn’t clear enough from that remark that Biden was also talking about Trump, he then referred to Trump’s idea to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
Because the future belongs to the bridge-builders, not the wall-builders. That’s why we’re here. Why does AIPAC exist? It exists to build bridges.
Biden’s remarks were greeted with cheers and loud applause, which is not likely to be the same sort of reception that Trump will receive from the crowd. Trump’s last appearance before a Jewish group was a disaster, as he made comments that spoke to stereotypes of Jews as shrewd dealmakers. As the reaction to Biden suggests, it’s not likely that any remarks by Trump that the U.S. should isolate or somehow profile Muslim citizens will be well received. Regardless of how the attendees may feel about the current situation in the Middle East, they know full well what can happen when a group is singled out by political leaders.
Here are Biden’s remarks, via YouTube:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2xfx-Kme_A?rel=0]
Featured image via Marc Nozell/Flickr