Jeb Bush cites George W. as leading influence on Israel

Ben Harris

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush cited his brother, former President George W. Bush, as the person he turns to most for guidance on the U.S.-Israel relationship.

Bush made the comment Thursday at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s candidates’ forum in Washington, D.C., in response to a question about the qualities he would look for in a secretary of state.

“And we all love him,” said the RJC official who posed the original question.

Bush, who had been described as “low energy” by the GOP front-runner, Donald Trump, barely an hour before, was anything but in his appearance at the forum.

Criticizing the Iran deal as a “horrible agreement,” Bush promised to rebuild the sanctions regime.

“We have to be engaged in this in a meaningful way,” Bush said, “and our friends need to know we have their back. Allies need to know we have their back.”

Along with many of the other candidates who appeared at the forum Thursday, Bush promised to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem on day one of his presidency. Bush underscored that an essential foreign policy goal would be to “restore the ruptured relationship with Israel. That has to be first.”

Bush also emphasized his support for Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, declared “no moral equivalence” between terrorist attacks on Israel and Israel’s efforts at self-defense, and vowed to use American law enforcement to block the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

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