web analytics
September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Back to the Future: A Political Excursion

George Herbert Walker Bush

George Herbert Walker Bush

Bush certainly supported Israel’s right to exist, as he did the longstanding American commitment to Israel’s survival, but there was no indication of sensitivity on his part to Israel’s special history – the circumstances of its birth and the constant fears for its survival.

During his tenure as vice president Bush generally found himself allied with Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger in pushing President Reagan to take a more even-handed approach to the Middle East. Those efforts usually proved fruitless as Reagan was more in tune with the pro-Israel views of Secretary of State George Shultz and UN ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick.

Bush signaled early on that his own presidency would differ from Reagan’s with regard to Israel when he appointed his good friend James A. Baker III as secretary of state.

A sharp-as-nails political operator with presidential aspirations of his own, Baker, who had been a key player in the Reagan administration as White House chief of staff dur­ing Reagan’s first term and later as treasury secretary, seemed to exude hostility toward Israel. But Baker’s responsibilities under Reagan essentially revolved around domestic issues and as such his feelings about Israel did not come to the fore until Bush brought him into the sphere of foreign policy.

Baker would achieve permanent notoriety among Jews in March 1992, when it was reported that he had responded to criticism of the administration’s Mideast policy by exclaiming, “[expletive deleted] the Jews. They didn’t vote for us.” Baker denied making the comment, but the sources for the story were reliable, and many who knew the secretary of state said it sounded like vintage Baker.

Far from an aberration, Baker’s statement was only the latest in a string of caustic remarks he had made about Israel and its American supporters almost from the day he took office.

In June 1990, for example, speaking before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Baker made it clear he viewed Israel as the chief obstacle to getting some sort of peace process off the ground. Then, in a sound bite that was aired on nearly every television news broadcast over the next 24 hours, he addressed the Israeli government in a voice dripping with indignation: “When you’re serious about peace, call us. The phone number is 202-456-1414.”

According to investigative reporter Seymour Hersh and several others, Baker as much as admitted his bias soon after becoming secretary of state. A friend of his had asked why it seemed that every administration leaves office disliking the Israelis. Baker responded with a laugh, “What do you do about someone who comes into office feel­ing that way?”

* * * * *

There was at least one prominent figure in the Bush administration whose support for Israel was up front and genuine – the much maligned vice presi­dent, Dan Quayle.

By the time Bush chose him as his running mate in 1988, Quayle had amassed a strong pro-Israel voting re­cord in Congress, first in the House and then in the Sen­ate. What made his record on Israel even more impressive was that, as a Republican from Indiana, Quayle was neither beholden to a large Jewish constituency nor answerable to Jewish financial contributors.

Quayle, who called himself a Zionist, did not share the view of Bush and Baker that Jewish settlements on the West Bank were the main stumbling blocks to peace in the Middle East. And he agreed with those who be­lieved the formula of “land for peace” placed a dispropor­tionate risk on Israel.

For Jewish lobbyists and organiza­tional representatives, Quayle was the most accessible and sympathetic official in a White House where empathy for Israel was in constant short supply.

In contrast to Bush, who surrounded himself with men like Baker, John Sununu (chief of staff) and Brent Scowcroft (national security adviser) – none of whom was regarded as particularly sensitive to the concerns of American Jews and Israel – Quayle assembled a team of aides considerably more attuned to the Jewish community.

Notable among the Jews who worked for Quayle were his chief of staff William Kristol (who has since become a high profile television pundit and editor of the political magazine The Weekly Standard) and speechwriter Lisa Schiffren (who wrote Quayle’s famous “Murphy Brown” speech that criticized a popular TV character for glamorizing sin­gle motherhood).

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Back to the Future: A Political Excursion”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Protest rally against Metropolitan Opera staging Death of Klinghoffer on 9/22 at 4:30 pm at the Met.
For Grass Roots Klinghoffer Protest 9/22, Jewish Establishment MIA
Latest Indepth Stories
IDF lone soldier and  David Menachem Gordon (z"l).

Why has his death been treated by some as an invitation for an emotional “autopsy”?

Starck-091914

SWOT analysis: Assessing resources, internal Strengths&Weaknesses; external Opportunities&Threats.

Kohn-091914

Strategy? For the longest time Obama couldn’t be bothered to have one against a sworn enemy.

Miller-091914

Seventeen visual skills are needed for success in school, sports, and everyday life.

We started The Jewish Press. Arnie was an integral part of the paper.

Fear alone is substantial; without fusing it to beauty, fear doesn’t reach its highest potential.

Fortunate are we to have Rosh Hashanah for repentance, a shofar to awaken heavenly mercy.

Arab leaders who want the US to stop Islamic State are afraid of being dubbed traitors and US agents

National Lawyers Guild:Sworn enemy of Israel & the legal arm of Palestinian terrorism since the ’70s

A little less than 10 percent of eligible Democratic voters came out on primary day, which translates into Mr. Cuomo having received the support of 6.2 percent of registered Democrats.

The reality, though, is that the Israeli “war crimes” scenario will likely be played out among highly partisan UN agencies, NGOs, and perhaps even the International Criminal Court.

Peace or the lack of it between Israel and the Palestinians matters not one whit when it comes to the long-term agenda of ISIS and other Islamists, nor does it affect any of the long-running inter-Arab conflicts and wars.

Rather than serving as a deterrent against terrorist attacks, Israel’s military strength and capabilities are instead looked at as an unfair advantage in the asymmetrical war in which it finds itself.

Sisi:”The religious nature of the Middle East creates challenges for the governing authorities.”

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Charles Krauthammer

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

Presidential-Seal-062014

These are not necessarily the best all-around biographies or studies of the individual presidents listed (though some rank right up there), but the strongest in terms of exploring presidential attitudes and policies toward Israel.

The Clintonan “engagement” liberals remember with such fondness did nothing but embolden Arafat and Hamas and Hizbullah as they witnessed Israel’s only real ally elevate process ahead of policy.

What really makes one wonder about the affinity felt by certain Jews for Grant was the welcome mat he put out for some of the country’s most pernicious anti-Semites.

With 2013 marking half a century since Kennedy’s fateful limousine ride in Dallas, the current revels are exceeding the revisionist frenzies of years past, with a seemingly endless parade of books, articles and television specials designed to assure us that, despite everything that has come to light about him since his death, JFK was a great president, or at least a very good president who would have been great had his life not been so cruelly cut short.

As someone who for the past fifteen years has been writing a column that largely focuses on the news media, I’ve read what is no doubt an altogether unhealthy number of books on the subject. Most of them were instantly forgettable while some created a brief buzz but failed to pass the test of time. And then there were those select few that merited a permanent spot on the bookshelf.

George W. Bush has been getting some positive media coverage lately, with recent polls showing him at least as popular as his successor, Barack Obama, and a big new book about the Bush presidency by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker (Days of Fire, Doubleday) portraying Bush as a much more hands-on chief executive than his detractors ever imagined.

Readers who’ve stuck with the Monitor over the years will forgive this rerun of sorts, but as we approach the fortieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War – and with the stench of presidential indecisiveness hanging so heavily over Washington these days – it seemed only appropriate to revisit Richard Nixon’s role in enabling Israel to recover from the staggering setbacks it suffered in the first week of fighting.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/back-to-the-future-a-political-excursion/2012/10/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: