Vice President Joe Biden called Washington-Israel ties "unshakeable" Tuesday morning. The address comes in the midst of a trip that Foreign Policy's Joshua Keating has referred to as Biden's "reassurance mission" to Israel. Did Biden convince? In the media, at least, he has face a skeptical reception. Though Biden insisted that "there is absolutely no space between the United States and Israel in terms of Israel's security," political observers think the overall tone of the visit suggests otherwise. Others, meanwhile, are preoccupied with the wisdom of sending Biden and MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who is covering the trip, on this delicate mission. A sampling of the skepticism:
- 'The Point of Biden's Visit,' tweets Deputy Director of the Brooking Doha Center Shadi Hamid, is "to say: we will prevent iranian bomb but u guys gotta cool down on threatening to do a pre-empt strike." Hamid doubts Biden's statement to Israeli President Shimon Peres that it is "a moment of real opportunity."
- Nice Travel Partner There "So who does Biden bring with him to convey that cautious 'reassure and reaffirm message?" asks Politico's Laura Rozen. She thinks Chris Matthews and the vice president, "prone to sometimes say a bit too much (Biden), a bit undiplomatically (Matthews)" something less than an ideal pair of representatives.
- Indeed--After Him, Boys! "Media Bistro's Betsy Rothstein notes that Matthews has expressed some fear of traveling in our region, lest he be kidnapped," writes blogger Carl in Jerusalem at Israel Matzav. "Maybe we should hang him over the Gaza fence and see if there are any takers."
- Clue in Speech Commonweal magazine's Margaret O'Brien Steinfels wonders at Biden calling the ties between the U.S. and Israel "unshakeable." If the ties are actually "unshakable," she wonders, "does the VP need to say so?"