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Biden wants Netanyahu to ‘come to Jesus’

The US president was apparently unaware that he was on a “hot mic” when he made the remark

US President Joe Biden was overheard this week stating that he’d told Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu that the pair would have “a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting.” Biden insisted that Netanyahu “knew what I meant” by the phrase.

Speaking to Colorado Senator Michael Bennet after his State of the Union address on Thursday, Biden could be heard on a microphone recounting a recent conversation he’d had with Netanyahu about Israel’s war in Gaza.

“I told him, ‘Bibi’ – and don’t repeat this – ‘but you and I are going to have a come to Jesus meeting’,” Biden told Bennet, using the Israeli leader’s nickname.

An aide then rushed over to stop Biden from speaking, before Biden replied “I’m on a hot mic here? Good. That’s good.”

President Biden: “I told him, Bibi, and don’t repeat this, but you and I are going to have a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting.”

“I’m on a hot mic here. Good. That’s good.” pic.twitter.com/KCgpbx4awf

— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) March 8, 2024

Biden was pressed on why he’d used such a phrase to describe a talk with the leader of the world’s only Jewish state. “It’s an expression used in the southern part of my state meaning ‘a serious meeting’,” the president told MSNBC on Saturday, adding: “I’ve known Bibi for 50 years and he knew what I meant by it.”

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Netanyahu hurting Israel more than helping – Biden

Netanyahu, Biden continued, “has a right to defend Israel, a right to continue to pursue Hamas, but he must…pay more attention to the innocent lives being lost as a consequence of the actions taken.” By ignoring calls to reduce the civilian death toll in Gaza, Netanyahu is “hurting Israel more than he’s helping Israel,” Biden stated.

Hamas fighters attacked Israel on October 7, killing around 1,200 people and taking more than 200 hostages back to Gaza. Netanyahu responded by declaring war on the Palestinian militant group and imposing a near-total siege on the enclave. In just over five months of fighting, Israeli forces have killed more than 31,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

While Biden initially pledged to arm and support Israel for as long as its campaign against Hamas took, the US president has become increasingly critical of the Israeli leader’s conduct in Gaza. During Thursday night’s State of the Union speech, Biden promised to build a pier to allow humanitarian aid into the besieged enclave and called for “an immediate ceasefire” to allow the last hostages in Gaza to be exchanged for Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

Asked by MSNBC whether he would travel to West Jerusalem to address the Israeli parliament, Biden said “yes,” but declined to say whether he had been invited.

 

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