Biden to Be Keynote Speaker at Israeli-Palestinian NGO Gala in New York City

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FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a conference in Las Vegas, May 18, 2017.
FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a conference in Las Vegas, May 18, 2017. Credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon

WASHINGTON - Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will speak next month at a gala dinner for Seeds of Peace, an international educational organization famous for promoting co-existence between Israeli and Palestinian teenagers. The organization will be celebrating 25 years to its foundation in early May, and Biden will give a keynote speech at a New York City event celebrating the occasion. The speech will be his first public appearance at an event related to Israel since leaving the White House last January.

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Biden's last two appearances at Israel-focused events took place in 2016, when he represented the Obama administration at the annual conferences of both AIPAC and J Street. In March of that year, Biden also visited Israel with members of his family, in what was described at the time as a "farewell" visit before he finished his term as vice president.

Despite the many tensions between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu-led government in Israel, Biden was considered to have a good relationship with the Israeli leadership during his time in office, and was dispatched a number of times by Obama to send messages to Jerusalem. 

Seeds of Peace camp participants

Biden's speech at the Seeds of Peace event is expected to focus on the importance of building peace "from the bottom up," something the organization has been trying to do ever since it was created in 1993.

Seeds of Peace originally began its activity by bringing together teenagers from Israel, the Palestinian territories and Arab nations in the Middle East. It later expanded its reach to other conflict zones in the world, including the Balkans, India and Pakistan. 

The organization's work on the Israeli-Palestinian issue has won the endorsement of a number of senior American politicians over the years. The 41st U.S. President George H.W. Bush joined its advisory board last decade, and met a delegation of teenagers from Seeds of Peace in 2016. His successor in the White House, Bill Clinton, invited the first graduates of the program to attend the signing of the Oslo Accords in the White House in 1993, and later helped raise funds for the organization and served as its honorary chairman. 

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