Jeb Bush may have finally read the handwriting on the wall. Earlier in the year when it was revealed that James Baker was one of his foreign policy advisers supporters of Israel especially the Jewish ones recoiled and were worried that a Jeb Bush administration would echo his fathers as being anti-Israel (Baker is also an anti-Semite). This week Jeb said his brother Bush #43 was his top adviser on Israel matters and threw Baker under the bus.
The paradox for Jeb Bush is that thanks to his Secretary of State James Baker, his dad was arguably the most anti-Israel administration in history before Barack Obama. Baker was famous for scheduling a Middle East peace conference without inviting Israel (he told Congress if Israel wanted to object the Prime Minister had his phone number). Of the American Jews Baker famously said, “F**k the Jews they wont vote for us anyway.”
On the other hand next to Harry Truman who recognized the nascent Israel over the objections of his much more popular Sec. of State George Marshall, Jeb’s brother George W. was the most pro-Israel president in history.
With Jew-hating James Baker on Jeb’s team there was worry about who had Jeb’s ear on the Middle East.
As reported in the Washington Post
The question that led to Bush’s response was about how much he relied on former secretary of state James Baker…
said that he respected Baker, but maintained that he is not part of his
foreign policy team and then noted that one person he routinely looks
to for guidance on Israel and related matters is his brother.
also expressed regret for the way he has unveiled his staff hires and
list of advisers and said the lengthy list he made public in February,
which included Baker, was not an accurate representation of who he
reaches out to when he’s considering Israel-related issues.
As to who the former Florida Governor relies on:
“If you want to know who I listen to for advice, it’s him,” Bush said Tuesday, speaking to a crowd of high-powered financiers at the Metropolitan Club, according to four people present.
(…) As he has explored a 2016 campaign for the White House, Jeb Bush has sought to create distance from the family political brand. While Bush has not criticized his brother, he rarely cites him as his guide on policies. And George W. Bush said last month that he planned to stay away from the campaign trail because voters do not like political dynasties.
Jeb Bush’s revelation that he regularly speaks with his brother about Israel also indicates that the siblings may be closer than often portrayed. The relationship is often described as cordial and warm but distant on policy matters.
Tim Miller, a spokesman, played down the significance of Bush’s comment.
“Governor Bush has said before that his brother is the greatest ally to Israel in presidential history, he admires his stalwart support for our ally, and that is in line with his commitment to standing with Israel in the face of great threats to their security and our own,” Miller said in a statement Thursday.
Whether or not Jeb Bush was being truthful in saying his brother is his number one adviser in Israel policy will be proven as the campaign goes on, but Tuesday’s meeting was a very good first step.