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Tags: biden | israel | irish | catholics | palestine | fight

President Biden Tries to Empathize With Palestinians Through Irish Catholic Analogy

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden speaks to reporters after meetings with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Waldorf Astoria Jeddah Qasr Al Sharq hotel on Friday in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Evan Vucci/AP)

By    |   Friday, 15 July 2022 05:29 PM EDT

President Joe Biden might have unwittingly stirred up controversy Friday, while visiting a hospital in Israel.

In a supposed bit of unscripted spontaneity, preceding his prepared remarks, the president compared Irish Catholics living under British rule to the plight of the Palestinian people.

Biden made the analogy at the Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem, saying, "My background and the background of my family is Irish-American, 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."

Margaret Brennan, the chief foreign affairs correspondent for CBS News and moderator of the "Face The Nation" Sunday program, tweeted out President Biden's words in real-time Friday morning.

Her quote-tweet of the president elicited the following responses from other Twitter users:

Reader #1: "I'm struggling to figure out exactly who was more insulted here. Great Britain? Israel? Both, maybe?"

Reader #2: "The English/British conquered Ireland imported English Scit settlers into what is known as Northern Ireland, Who displaced the indigenous Irish there, created a settler colonial apartheid system and brutalized Irish 4 centuries. This is why the Irish are very pro Palestinian."

Reader #3: "It's odd because the US supports Israel in bombing Palestine, not because Ireland and Palestine aren't somewhat analogous."

Reader #4: "Legit the worst comparison."

Reader #5: "Sure way to get two of America's closest allies upset."

And Reader #6 defended Biden's comment: "Great to hear the president making this point. The Palestinian struggle is something we support and has many similarities to our own."

Shortly thereafter, in a more scripted move, the president read from Seamus Heaney's poem, "The Cure of Troy."

"It's classically Irish, but it also could fit Palestinians," said Biden, referring to the poem. "It says: 'History [teaches us not to] hope on this side of the grave. But then, once in a lifetime [that] longed-for tidal wave of justice [rises] up, and hope and history rhyme.'"

During the same hospital visit, Biden announced the United States would soon commit "an additional $100 million to support these hospitals, your staffs, and — that work for the Palestinian people."

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President Joe Biden might have unwittingly stirred up controversy Friday, while visiting a hospital in Israel.
biden, israel, irish, catholics, palestine, fight
Friday, 15 July 2022 05:29 PM
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