Tuesday, Jeb Bush was quick to back away from anti-Israel comments made at the J Street conference by one of Bush's stable of advisers James "F**k the Jews" Baker. Baker was Secretary of State for Bush 41 an administration which many consider the most anti-Israel administration before Obama, and despite the fact he was also an adviser to Bush 43, many consider that presidency the most pro-Israel administration ever.
Seeking to double-down on his support of Israel, Bush penned an op-ed which appeared on National Review Online Wednesday.
It is clear that nothing — not public opinion, not opposition from his own party in Congress, and not even the facts — will deter President Obama from a potentially risky agreement that may well allow Iran to intimidate the entire Middle East, menace Israel, and, most of all, threaten America. This policy choice is a reflection of the way Obama has handled a range of foreign-policy matters. Instead of projecting American determination and leadership, he has either withdrawn from the stage or chosen to trust our enemies.
(...) Even when presented with evidence of treachery committed by the Iranians, the Obama administration turns the other way. Iran was caught cheating on previous agreements related to its nuclear program; Obama officials dismissed the matter, calling it a “mistake” by a low-level employee. Such is the state of the administration’s inability to conduct basic diplomacy: It always believes Iran’s excuses, but never its threats.As said yesterday, there are many reasons why one would support or fight against Jeb Bush's candidacy for President. But if you are a friend of Israel, there should be nothing in Bush's background that should scare you away from the former Governor.
Those threats keep coming. Iran’s leaders condemn America and its allies routinely. Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, did so just last Saturday: “Death to America,” he said. This is supposed to be a reliable partner? The rest of the world must wonder what it takes to enrage the White House. Apparently, all you have to do is reelect a leader whom the president doesn’t like. Israel’s elections should be something to celebrate. If only the rest of the region were able to hold peaceful and vibrant multi-party elections . . . Yet instead of recognizing Prime Minister Netanyahu’s reelection and the achievement of Israel’s multi-party, multi-ethnic democracy, the White House issued half-hearted congratulations. Then Obama threatened to downgrade the U.S.-Israel relationship and permit a series of anti-Israel resolutions to pass the United Nations Security Council without firm American opposition. But this is consistent with a pattern of diplomatic scolding of Israel.
The Obama administration has insisted that Israel make concessions just to get the Palestinian leaders to the negotiating table. The Obama administration treats announcements of new apartment buildings in Jerusalem like acts of aggression. The Obama administration anonymously insults Israeli leaders personally and then pretends that such insults were never authorized. This is no way to treat an ally.
Conducting the foreign policy of a great nation requires maturity and a strategic sense of America’s long-term interests. This is no time for schoolyard antics. With Israel, those interests lie in a firm alliance. Israel and America must work together to build a more prosperous and hopeful future for the region. A state for the Palestinian people, side by side with Israel, will be possible only if the Palestinian people are represented by leaders committed to delivering on the promises made at the negotiating table. (...)
However, sometimes actions speak louder than words, James Baker is an evil name to those who support Israel. Most probably Bush has Baker on his long list of foreign policy advisers to give him the "street cred" for international relations. The 2016 presidential year has the potential of seeing a large shift in the Jewish vote just as it shifted away from Carter when he ran for re-election (71% first election/45% when he ran for re-election) and from Bush 41 (36% first election--11% when he ran for re-election). If Jeb Bush truly believes he can get the nomination he would be well served when he announces his candidacy to make sure Baker is not on his official campaign advisory staff.