web analytics
September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » InDepth » Monitor »

When Bush Recast U.S. Mideast Policy


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.

Baker writes of Bush’s determination from the moment he took office to, in Bush’s words, “tilt [U.S. policy] back toward Israel” after years of Bill Clinton’s even-handed approach to Mideast peacemaking.

That’s not exactly a scoop, of course, to those familiar with former Bush speechwriter David Frum’s 2003 memoir The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush.

Frum acknowledged Clinton’s extraordinary popularity with American Jews and contrasted their support for Clinton with the low regard in which they held Bush, who “entered office with fewer Jewish friends and supporters than any president since perhaps Dwight Eisenhower.”

All of which, according to Frum, made it “really quite a stunning turnabout of history that George W. Bush should have emerged as one of the staunchest friends of Israel ever to occupy the Oval Office.”

Frum noted that Bush, during his first meeting with his National Security Council, stated that “a top foreign-policy priority of my administration is the safety and security of Israel.” And he recalled that Bush, seeking to allay the fears and suspicions of the liberals at the American Jewish Committee, addressed an AJC dinner and said, “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.”

Frum believes – and who will argue the point? – that “the American Jewish community is so terrified of non-Jewish religiosity that any reference to God by a non-Jew, no matter how friendly its intent, unnerved them. They do not trust people who talk too much about the ‘Lord God,’ and they do not like it any better when such people remind them that the Lord God in question is their Lord God, too.”

His personal support of Israel notwithstanding, Bush in the early months of his administration ceded control of Middle East policy to Colin Powell and his State Department pencil pushers. Even in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 it was apparent that, in Frum’s words, “those foreign-policy bureaucrats most eager to appease the Arab oil states” were still articulating the U.S. position.

And in October 2001 Bush voiced his support for a Palestinian state “so long as the right to an Israeli state is respected” – becoming the first U.S. president to speak of Palestinian statehood in unambiguous terms.

But something was happening, at first almost imperceptibly, to the very warp and woof of U.S.-Israel relations: Bush was developing an unusually warm relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the same time that he was being confronted with numerous examples of Yasir Arafat’s duplicity.

Arafat, Frum wrote, “sorely misunderstood” the president: “Bush does not lie to you. You had better not lie to him.”

By the time Bush gave his much-anticipated June 24, 2002 Rose Garden speech on the Middle East, he had decided that “the United States will not support the establishment of a Palestinian state until its leaders engage in a sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure.”

Still, the U.S.-Israel relationship in the remaining years of the Bush presidency was far from conflict-free. Bush was just as adamant in his criticism of Israeli settlements as Obama has been, and Bush disastrously pushed Israel to allow elections in Gaza, which Hamas handily won.

But with that 2002 speech Bush had dramatically recast American Middle East policy and turned his back on decades of government-sanctioned moral equivalence – at least on paper if not, as it turned out, always in practice.

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 “When Bush Recast U.S. Mideast Policy”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
In Lebanon, smoke rises from a Sunni Muslim dominated neighborhood in Tripoli on August 21, 2014.
Iran, US Equip & Finance Lebanese Army to Fight ISIS
Latest Indepth Stories
obama

Like our fabled character, Don Quixote, President Obama has constantly spawned his own reality.

Ayatollah Hossein-Kazamani Boroujerdi, in better times (left) and in his prison cell (right).

Boroujerdi was informed that “the pressures and tortures will increase until he has been destroyed.”

Senior Hamas and Fatah leaders in Gaza City on April 22. Hamas and Fatah signed a deal to establish a unity government, but since then little progress has been made.

Fatah: Hamas stole relief aid for Gaza and distributed it amongst its followers in mosques.

FE_PR_100112_22Learning_CableTV425x282

Can teenagers seriously be expected to behave properly when they are surrounded by so much suggestive material? Is it fair to expose them (and ourselves) to so much temptation and then tell them, “Just say no”?

Washington remains ignorant of the need to dismantle alliances with various Muslim countries.

Defeating IS requires bombing its strongholds and recognizing the violent nature of Islam.

Abbas again used the UN to attack Israel, distort history, and undermine prospects for peace.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority cannot even agree to move their clocks back on the same day.

Shemita is about relating to each other by temporarily eliminating gaps of wealth power & status

David transcended adversity to become a leader; Who are we to make excuses for a lack of greatness?

sympathy: Feeling sorrow or pity for another’s tribulations; Empathy:sharing an emotional experience

Last week the president announced a four-point plan. Unfortunately, there’s little buy-in from our European and Middle Eastern allies. Here’s my own four-point plan that may be more palatable to our allies.

Rosh Hashanah has an obvious connection to God’s Kingship. We constantly refer to Him during the Asseres Yemei Teshuvah as Melech/King. The nusach of the tefillah, referring to Rosh Hashanah as “a remembrance of the first day” (of Creation), implies a certain dimension of divine kingship operating at the time of Creation and replicated every […]

Yes, God judges, but His judgment is that of a loving father who longs for his child’s quick return.

Anti-Semitism has returned to the mainstream of European society and Israel has become its focus.

Home is Milwaukee where their congregation, Beth Jehudah, and community always await their return.

More Articles from Jason Maoz
William Safire

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

Charles Krauthammer

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.

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/when-bush-recast-u-s-mideast-policy/2013/10/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: