Close encounters of the Biden kind

President Biden hosted “celebrities and elite social media influencers” a White House reception on April 26 (I’m quoting Ken Bensinger’s June 14 New York Times story). One such “influencer” was Jonathan Katz, who seized the opportunity to ask Biden about his support for Israel in the context of what he believes might “plausibly [be] described as genocide” — committed by Israel, of course.

Katz is that kind of a guy. He’s also the kind of guy that the Biden White House seeks to enlist in the cause of Biden’s reelection.

That’s not quite how the Times describes Katz. The Times pegs him as “an independent journalist and sharp critic of the administration,” adding that Katz was therefore “shocked to get an invitation.” Writing about it here in an April 30 post at his personal site, Katz says he thought at first the invitation “must be some elaborate practical joke, or possibly a phishing scheme.”

Katz soon figured out the invitation was the real deal and accepted. In the event, he did not come away from the reception empty-handed. He took a a 2:47 video that he has posted on TikTok. The video documents a close encounter of the Biden kind.

The proper response to Katz would have been to challenge his “genocide” charge against Israel as a disgusting calumny of which he should be ashamed, but that’s not how Biden sees it. Biden responds (recall that this was on April 26): “The answer is twofold. Number one, Israel’s security from the region is essential. It’s essential. That’s fundamentally different than how Israel acts in Gaza. I’ve been, as you probably know, putting extreme pressure on the Israelis to back off and…open up humanitarian access in Gaza. And I think we’re getting close.”

Biden turned away briefly from Katz and then returned to him at about 2:09 of the TikTok video. The last 40 seconds were all over X yesterday, as in Michael Doran’s tweet below.

“I know you’re a typical press guy,” Biden said. “I trust you as far as I can throw your phone. I have a good arm, man. I can throw it a long way.” Scary! Katz comments parenthetically: “Which may, come to think of it, mean he trusts me a lot? Though that also seems doubtful.”

Biden continued. “My point is this. I have made it very clear to the Israelis what they have to do in the near term. If they don’t, what’s going to happen.”

“What’s going to happen?” Katz asked.

“A lot,” Biden replied.

That’s what the man said. Biden’s handlers then escorted Katz away from Biden.

Katz comments on his encounter with Biden in his the April 30 post at his own site (linked above). The Daily Mail has a decent story on it here.

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