But two elements of Biden’s Wednesday version were different than usual, and both of these changes were incorrect. One of the falsehoods was obviously an accidental slip; the other was more substantial.
Biden began on Wednesday as follows: “And during the Six-Day War, I had an opportunity to — she invited me to come over because I was going to be the liaison between she and the Egyptians about the Suez, and so on and so forth.” Later in the story, he suggested that Meir had referred to him during the meeting as “Mr. Ambassador.”
At the time of the Six-Day War in 1967, Biden was still a law student and Meir was not yet prime minister.
A White House official suggested to CNN on Thursday that Biden’s assertion that “she invited me to come over because I was going to be the liaison between she and the Egyptians about the Suez” was simply a reference to the fact that he had met with both Egyptian and Israeli officials on the 1973 trip to discuss relations between their countries.
An Israeli summary of the meeting
The Israeli official who wrote the summary, Gideon Yarden, ended by offering his personal assessment of Biden. He wrote that Biden was full of admiration and appreciation toward Meir, and kept saying he had come to learn, “but on the other hand” spoke in a manner that reflected “his age and diplomatic ‘experience.'” Yarden put the word “experience” in quotation marks, conveying sarcasm.
In a speech marking Israeli Independence Day, Biden, then vice president, said he had told Meir and Rabin during the meeting that “I thought that they (Egypt) were getting ready to attack again.” He added: “And everyone including my military and Israeli military thought I was crazy.”
The Israeli summary does not note any such comment from Biden. Rather, the summary reported that Biden had conveyed that, of all the officials he had met in Egypt, none of them denied Israeli’s absolute military superiority, and that the officials had argued it would be impossible for Egypt to go to war now against Israel.