• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

A generous supporter has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Day Joe Biden Threatened to Kick My Ass

It was nearly two decades ago, yet the memory of a campus speech delivered by Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware remains especially vivid (and even more so after hearing his latest gaffe to Senator Barack Obama). The topic was predictably foreign policy, on which he is allegedly an expert, but reason for attending was not to hear the verbose senator sanctimoniously expound on international relations. Rather, it was in anticipation of the question and answer session to follow. At the time, Israel was in the throws of the first intifada.

After responding to a few softballs, my persistent hand was acknowledged. I prefaced my remarks with the following two quotes, the first by Winston Churchill:

“The cause of unrest in Palestine, and the only cause, arises from the Zionist movement, and from our promises and pledges in regard to it” (House of Commons, 14 June 1921).

The second, a poignant comment by the late Israeli civil rights activist Dr. Israel Shahak:

“You cannot have humane Zionism. It is a contradiction in terms” (Journal of Palestine Studies, vol. IV, 1975).

Thereafter, I posed the following question to the good senator:

“Rather than succumb to the influence of various lobbying groups in Washington, such as AIPAC, and the untold amounts of money it uses to dictate policy, wouldn’t it be more prudent to examine the real effects that collective punishment, daily humiliation, and countless civilian causalities inflicted by the Israelis have on an occupied population, and use that understanding to formulate a more rational approach toward the Palestinians?”

Senator Biden proceeded to walk directly from the podium to me–literally nose-to-nose–and we engaged in an uneasy back-and-forth about the influence of the Israeli lobby on US diplomacy in the Middle East and the heavy-handed approach (quite an understatement, but a polite phrase nonetheless) that Israel routinely uses to deal with all its problems.

Shortly thereafter Biden turned, put his arm around my shoulder, and addressed the audience.

“If this was not such a fine, articulate, and sincere young man, and he implied that my vote had been bought, I would give him a swift kick in the ass.”

The audience roared in applause.

Satisfied, however, that my point had been delivered and rebutted with only an insult, I sat down.

The next question happen to come from a friend of mine sitting directly behind me.

“If my father heard you say such a thing, I believe he would have done the same to you first.”

An imperceptible smile crept across my face. I realized it was time to go. Both of us got up and walked out of the muted auditorium.

I departed not with the certainty of my arguments, as unpopular as they were that night, or the shaky poise of a college student who stood up to a senator and self-styled expert in foreign affairs. Instead, I was satisfied I had left with my dignity intact.

A pity the same could not have been said for Mr. Biden.

How little things have changed in twenty years.

RANNIE AMIRI is an independent observer, commentator and exponent of issues dealing with the Arab and Islamic worlds. He welcomes your comments at rbamiri@yahoo.com

 

More articles by:

Rannie Amiri is an independent commentator on Middle East affairs.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
October 15, 2019
Victor Grossman
The Berlin Wall, Thirty Years Later
Raouf Halaby
Kurdish Massacres: One of Britain’s Many Original Sins
Robert Fisk
Trump and Erdogan have Much in Common – and the Kurds will be the Tragic Victims of Their Idiocy
Ron Jacobs
Betrayal in the Levant
Wilma Salgado
Ecuador: Lenin Moreno’s Government Sacrifices the Poor to Satisfy the IMF
Ralph Nader
The Congress Has to Draw the Line
William A. Cohn
The Don Fought the Law…
John W. Whitehead
One Man Against the Monster: John Lennon vs. the Deep State
Lara Merling – Leo Baunach
Sovereign Debt Restructuring: Not Falling Prey to Vultures
Norman Solomon
The More Joe Biden Stumbles, the More Corporate Democrats Freak Out
Jim Britell
The Problem With Partnerships and Roundtables
Howard Lisnoff
More Incitement to Violence by Trump’s Fellow Travelers
Binoy Kampmark
University Woes: the Managerial Class Gets Uppity
Joe Emersberger
Media Smears, Political Persecution Set the Stage for Austerity and the Backlash Against It in Ecuador
Thomas Mountain
Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed Wins Nobel Peace Prize, But It Takes Two to Make Peace
Wim Laven
Citizens Must Remove Trump From Office
October 14, 2019
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
Class Struggle is Still the Issue
Mike Miller
Global Climate Strike: From Protest To Power?
Patrick Cockburn
As Turkey Prepares to Slice Through Syria, the US has Cleared a New Breeding Ground for Isis
John Feffer
Trump’s Undeclared State of Emergency
Dean Baker
The Economics and Politics of Financial Transactions Taxes and Wealth Taxes
Jonah Raskin
What Evil Empire?
Nino Pagliccia
The Apotheosis of Emperors
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A Passion for Writing
Basav Sen
The Oil Despots
Brett Wilkins
‘No Friend But the Mountains’: A History of US Betrayal of the Kurds
John Kendall Hawkins
Assange: Enema of the State
Scott Owen
Truth, Justice and Life
Thomas Knapp
“The Grid” is the Problem, Not the Solution
Rob Kall
Republicans Are Going to Remove Trump Soon
Cesar Chelala
Lebanon, Dreamland
Weekend Edition
October 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
CounterPunch in Peril?
Anthony DiMaggio
Fake News in Trump’s America
Andrew Levine
Trump’s End Days
Jeffrey St. Clair
High Plains Grifter: the Life and Crimes of George W. Bush
Patrick Cockburn
Kurdish Fighters Always Feared Trump Would be a Treacherous Ally
Paul Street
On the TrumpenLeft and False Equivalence
Dave Lindorff
Sure Trump is ‘Betraying the Kurds!’ But What’s New about That?
Rob Urie
Democrats Impeach Joe Biden, Fiddle as the Planet Burns
Sam Pizzigati
Inequality is Literally Killing Us
Jill Richardson
What Life on the Margins Feels Like
Mitchell Zimmerman
IMPOTUS: Droit de seigneur at Mar-a-Lago
Robert Hunziker
Methane SOS
Lawrence Davidson
Donald Trump, the Christian Warrior
William Hartung – Mandy Smithburger
The Pentagon is Pledging to Reform Itself, Again. It Won’t.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail