Detroit Biden: U.S.'s bond with Israel 'unbreakable'

DETROIT (AP) -- Vice President Joe Biden promised the large crowd at an Orthodox Jewish school's fundraising dinner Sunday that the U.S. would stand by Israel, calling its bond with America "unbreakable."

Biden said the U.S.'s relationship with Israel was one of friendship but also security, and said President Barack Obama felt the same way.

"It is a key component of our broader efforts to secure this region and the wider world as well as our own security," Biden said. "America's bond with Israel is unbreakable. I guarantee you: We will stand with Israel because we know she has nowhere else to go and we want her to stay right where she is."

Hundreds of people attended the dinner for the Yeshiva Beth Yehudah at the downtown Detroit Marriott Hotel, where Biden also attended an afternoon fundraiser for U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow. About 800 children and teens attend preschool through 12th grade at the school in the Detroit suburb of Southfield, according to the school's website.

Republicans have tried to attract Jewish support following Obama's suggestion that the future borders of a Palestinian state and a Jewish state be drawn on the basis of Israel's pre-1967 war frontiers.

"He is very supportive of Israel," 33-year-old Shlomo Loketch, of Oak Park, told The Detroit News. "It's good to know we have an administration that really cares about Israel."

During the earlier event for Stabenow, Biden touted the second-term Democrat -- who is being challenged by at least eight Republicans -- as "an incredible asset" to workers in Michigan and around the country. It wasn't immediately clear how many people attended the $250-per-person fundraising event.

Biden also noted that Obama inherited an "awfully deep hole" when he was inaugurated.

"Most of those folks in that hole are our folks," Biden told the crowd of Stabenow supporters. "People I grew up with ... people who were raised and believe with every fiber of their being in this notion of the American Dream."

But when the economy crashed as Obama was taking office, "they saw their dreams literally evaporate," Biden said.

Stabenow has been in the U.S. Senate since 2001, after two terms in the U.S. House. Among those vying for her seat during her 2012 re-election bid is former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Holland, who issued a statement attacking her and Biden on the eve of the event.

"It seems like Vice President Biden and Sen. Debbie Stabenow will say anything about their do-nothing policies," Hoekstra said, alluding to statements about the Democratic administration's economic stimulus and jobs programs. "Their big government approach has failed, and a repeat of those initiatives isn't what Michigan voters are looking for."

In response, Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer said Hoekstra's comments were a "hollow attack" to distract from problems on the campaign trail.

"He's having trouble explaining his vote for the Wall Street bailout and his support for taxpayer giveaways to special interests like big oil companies," Brewer said in a statement.

Published: Tue, Nov 15, 2011