President Joe Biden recounted a meeting with former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir during remarks about the conflict between Israel and Hamas Tuesday afternoon, but some on social media did not buy his story.
Biden reiterated the United States’ support for Israel after Hamas fired rockets at Israel while dozens of its fighters infiltrated its border by air, land and sea in areas near the Gaza Strip Saturday morning, marking an escalation of the longstanding Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a televised address on Saturday that Israel was now at war, launching its own attacks against Hamas in Gaza, as Israeli authorities have blocked the transfer of food, fuel, water and medications into Gaza. Biden has maintained that Israel has the right to defend itself against the attack, upholding Washington’s longstanding allyship with Israel.
According to the Associated Press, the Israeli military has said at least 1,000 people have been killed in Israel, while an estimated 830 people have been killed in Gaza since the fighting began on Saturday.
While speaking to reporters about the conflict, Biden told a story about his meeting with Meir. He first visited Israel as a Senator in 1973 “just before the Yom Kippur War” and met with Meier in her office. After the meeting, Meir asked Biden if he wanted to take a photograph with her and noticed the “consternation” on his face, he said.
“She could tell, I guess, that I was concerned. She leaned over and whispered to me, ‘Don’t worry Senator Biden. We have a secret weapon here in Israel. My word is what she said, ‘We have no place else to go,'” Biden said.
Some social media users accused Biden of lying about the meeting.
“So, Joe Biden thinks he met with Golda Meir? Interesting……..3 May 1898 – 8 December 1978,” wrote @USBornNRaised on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
“He lied about the Golda Meir story. Wake up,” posted @JammieWF.
Is Biden’s Story True?
Biden became a senator in 1972, and Meir served as prime minister from 1969 to 1974. Therefore, she would have been in office during his visit in 1973.
Furthermore, the story is consistent with what he has said in the past about his meeting with Meir. Biden has told the story several times throughout his political career, including during a speech in 1992.
“She said, ‘Son you look depressed.’ I said, ‘Madame prime minister, I am depressed. You just spent the last hour telling me, in effect, you have no chance.’ She said, ‘One thing I didn’t tell you, you should know, we Jews have a secret weapon in our battle, or dispute, with the Arabs. We have no place else to go,'” Biden said.
He has described the meeting as “one of the most consequential meetings” he ever had. He told the same story in a 2022 speech at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv in July 2022.
Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment via email