web analytics
May 25, 2015 / 7 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Monitor »

Acknowledging Bush’s Historic ‘Tilt’


Media-Monitor-logo

George W. Bush will leave office as one of the most unpopular presidents in history, battered by years of non-stop criticism, scorn and derision – a good deal of it deserved, but much of it politically motivated, hypocritical and unfair.

Whether Bush will, like Harry Truman (who left office in January 1953 with approval numbers lower than Bush’s), eventually rise in terms of public esteem is a question that won’t begin to be answered for years if not decades.

But one thing that can be said with near certainty is that we shall not see a president as instinctively pro-Israel as Bush for a very long time to come – a president who entered office determined to pursue a policy that unambiguously favored Israel over its enemies.

In their anti-Bush book The Price of Loyalty, author Ron Suskind and his collaborator and protagonist Paul O’Neill, the treasury secretary who left the Bush administration on less than friendly terms, provided a revealing glimpse into Bush’s thinking on Israel.

On January 30, 2001, just ten days after his inauguration, Bush met with his senior national security team and, according to O’Neill as transcribed by Suskind, startled those in the room when the discussion turned to Middle East policy.

“We’re going to correct the imbalances of the previous administration on the Mideast conflict,” Bush announced. “We’re going to tilt it back toward Israel. And we’re going to be consistent. Clinton overreached, and it all fell apart. That’s why we’re in trouble.”

Bush reminisced about meeting Ariel Sharon (who the following week would easily win election as Israeli prime minister) when they shared a helicopter flight during Bush’s visit to Israel in December 1998.

“We flew over the Palestinian camps,” Bush said. “Looked real bad down there. I don’t see much we can do over there at this point. I think it’s time to pull out of that situation.”

Powell protested that “such a move might be hasty” and spoke of the “roots” of the violence in the Palestinian areas. “He stressed,” wrote Suskind, “that a pullback by the United States would unleash Sharon and the Israeli army. “The consequences of that could be dire,” he said, “especially for the Palestinians.”

Bush, according to Suskind and O’Neill, shrugged. “Maybe that’s the best way to get things back in balance,” he said. “Sometimes a show of strength by one side can really clarify things.”

So here was Bush, the media-caricatured simpleton, a week and a half into his presidency and some nine months before Sept. 11, making it clear that he was “going to tilt” U.S. policy “back toward Israel.” And here was Bush, the man his opponents tell us is an empty suit in thrall to a coterie of Machiavellian advisers, refusing to be taken in by Colin Powell’s State Department-style prattle.

In his book The Right Man, which preceded Suskind’s by a year, former White House speechwriter David Frum also referred to Bush’s first NSC meeting, quoting the new president as saying “a top foreign-policy priority of my administration is the safety and security of Israel.”

Frum also noted how Bush, seeking to allay the fears and suspicions of Jewish liberals, told an American Jewish Committee dinner, “I am a Christian. But I believe with the Psalmist that the Lord God of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.”

(An amusing, if somewhat depressing, sidebar to the AJC story is that the climactic line of Bush’s speech, the one about the God of Israel, was met with something less than approval from the secular Jews in attendance: “There was nothing,” wrote Frum. “Not a clap, not a cheer. Silence. Maybe even a rather disapproving silence.”)

Bush has been pilloried by his critics for supposedly neglecting Israeli-Palestinian negotiations for most of his presidency. What those critics usually mean but don’t say is that Bush refused to push Israel in the manner they would have preferred, that he wasn’t even-handed enough, that he saw through Yasir Arafat’s pretensions and lies, that he actually carried through on the promise he made in that first NSC meeting “to tilt it back to Israel.”

For that he deserves our heartfelt gratitude, no matter how we may view other aspects of his presidency.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at jmaoz@jewishpress.com.


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 “Acknowledging Bush’s Historic ‘Tilt’”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Court Sentences Olmert to 8 Months in Jail for Talansky Scandal
Latest Indepth Stories
Israeli-flag

U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.

Harris-052215

We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.

Shalev and Rabbi Levinger

During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai

MK Moshe-Feiglin

20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse

Connecting Bamidbar&Shavuot is simple-A world without Torah is midbar; with Torah a blessed paradise

Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting

She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes

Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times

Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program

“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me

Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.

The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.

The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.

“…his neshamah reached out to us to have the zechus of Torah learning to take with him on his final journey.”

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Front-Page-051515

Some of the president’s defenders took to arguing that the overwhelming majority of German military personnel interred in Bitburg were regular Wehrmacht soldiers who died on the battlefield and likely were not involved in atrocities against civilians.

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, both outspokenly critical of Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to Congress, were wowed by him in 2011.

Note also the response to the speech by the top Democrats in the House and Senate, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, both of whom have been outspoken in their criticism of Netanyahu’s upcoming visit.

The New York State comptroller manages the state’s $180.7 billion pension fund, audits the spending practices of all state agencies and local governments, oversees the New York State and Local Retirement System, reviews the New York State and City budgets, and approves billions in State contracts and spending.

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

When you grow up in a home where your parents went through what my parents went through, you realize that life has to be meaningful. You have to be there for other people.

“It’s a lousy column and a dishonest one,” Halberstam wrote. “So close it. Or you will end up just as shabby as Safire.”

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

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/acknowledging-bushs-historic-tilt/2008/11/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: