Biden rambles comparison between Palestinians and Irish Catholics, Israel to British Empire

President Biden’s visit to Israel included many snubs to his Israeli hosts, but none was as disturbing as when he compared Israel to the British in Ireland, implying that just as he might understand and justify Irish Catholic terrorism, he would also empathize with Palestinian terrorism. 

The speech was made at Augusta Victoria Hospital in eastern Jerusalem on Friday, the third day of his visit to Israel. Though the Israeli government requested that their officials accompany him, the president refused, making Biden the first sitting US president to visit East Jerusalem. Many understood the visit to be a strong statement of US support for a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem.

The speech was disjointed with the president introducing himself as “Jill Biden’s husband,” a joke which has lost its effect after being used frequently over the course of many years. He later explained the joke, noting that she had visited in 2010 and again in 2016, both visits in which she was accompanied by her then-vice president husband, a fact he did not mention. 

 The president then quoted an incongruous metaphor, “Hope springs eternal,” without explaining its relevance.

He then commented on the Palestinians in a manner that had dark connotations, perhaps revealing how he really perceives Israel.

“I — my background and the background of my family is Irish American,” Biden said. “And we have a long history of — not fundamentally unlike the Palestinian people with Great Britain and their attitude toward Irish-Catholics over the years, for 400 years.”


The comparison is disturbing.  British involvement in Ireland began with the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169, enforcing an oppressive empirical rule until 1921. In 1534, the Act of Supremacy declared the English crown to be “the only supreme head on earth of the Church in England” in place of the pope. The British rule was characterized by religious oppression carried out by the invading British Protestants against the indigenous Catholics. This culminated in the Catholics waging a war of terrorism carried out by groups like the Irish Republican Army (IRA) against the British army in Northern Ireland. 

Biden’s comparison establishes Israel as an invading empire oppressing the Palestinians, thereby justifying their terrorism. 

Marc Zell, chairman of Republicans Overseas Israel, responded to the President’s remarks.

“President Biden has demonstrated a fundamental lack of knowledge about the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Zell told Israel365 News. “I won’t comment on his knowledge of Irish history.”

David Rubin, the author of Trump and the Jews, noted that in a forum where the State Department emphatically excluded Israelis, Biden’s subtle reference revealed his true feelings.

“Biden’s false analogy implying Israeli, or more accurately, Jewish persecution of the Arabs in eastern Jerusalem is an outrageous slander,” Rubin told Israel365 News. “The Jews are the indigenous people in Jerusalem, with a native history that goes back over 3000 years. Since recapturing the full city in the defensive Six Day War in 1967, Israel has rebuilt its capital city with full voting rights and freedom of religion for all.”         

Biden then cited a paragraph from The Cure at Troy”, a poem by Seamus Heaney, a 20th century Nobel Prize-winning Irish Catholic poet, published in 1991. Biden frequently quotes this section of the poem  21 times while VP, preceded by the same quip:

“But my colleagues, when I was a U.S. senator, used to always joke with me that I was always quoting Irish poets when I was on the floor of the Senate.  And they thought I did it because I’m Irish.  That’s not the reason I did it; I did it because they’re the best poets in the world.”

In a 2013 speech in Mumbai, Biden recited the poem, claiming his Irish roots gave him solidarity with the Indians who rose up against the British Empire.

Perhaps inspired by the medical surroundings, Biden lapsed into an incongruous description of the 1972 accident that took the lives of his first wife and their one-year-old daughter. He then launched into a narrative about his own aneurysms in 1988. This segued into the president talking about the military service of his son, Beau, who died in 2015. 

The president then complimented the hospital staff, noting that the US has given $85 million in aid to the Palestinian health network since 2014. Biden then noted that due to the COVID pandemic, the US will be giving an additional $100 million in aid to the PA for medical use.

Biden then stated that he is rededicating himself to finding a cure for cancer, what he referred to as “a Cancer Moonshot,” saying that billions of dollars have already been spent on this by the  National Institute of Health.

After thanking the audience, he invited questions. One question was begun but was left unfinished and unanswered.

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