The White House on Tuesday defended Vice President Joe Biden, a day after he criticized the Israeli government in a major speech to a left-leaning Jewish group.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Biden did not make Israel out to be a villain. Instead, he was offering tough love from a strong ally.
“Well, I would vigorously disagree with that description of what Vice President Biden said,” Earnest responded to a reporter who said Biden vilified Israel in his speech.
In a speech to J Street’s annual gala Monday night, Biden said the government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has often frustrated the White House because of its unwillingness to work with the Palestinians toward a two-state solution.
“I firmly believe that the action Israel’s government has taken over the past several years — the steady and systematic expansion of settlements, the legalization of outposts, land seizures — they’re moving us, and more important, they’re moving Israel, in the wrong direction,” Biden said.
“They’re moving us toward a one-state reality, and that reality is dangerous.”
Earnest noted Biden recently traveled to Israel to meet with Netanyahu and is “somebody who understands the importance of the relationship between our two countries.”