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Jeb Bush Calls W. His Top Israel Adviser

Jeb Bush says his most influential adviser on Israel is his brother George:

When asked this week at an exclusive Manhattan gathering about who advises him on U.S.-Israel policy, Jeb Bush surprised many of the 50-plus attendees by naming his brother, former president George W. Bush, as his most influential counselor.

I’m not sure why anyone was surprised. Based on everything Jeb Bush has said about the U.S.-Israel relationship and policies related to it, he agrees with his brother on these issues and has agreed with him for a long time. Like his brother, Bush thinks that there should be no “light” between the U.S. and Israel. He has made it fairly plain that he reflexively supports Israeli actions and policies. As far as I know, he has never criticized or opposed any. He endorses the hard-line “zero enrichment” demand that Iran hawks have wanted as part of the negotiations. It’s possible that Bush is mentioning his brother as an adviser in order to dispel any lingering impression that his association with James Baker matters. If so, it’s also a confirmation that Baker’s inclusion as one of Bush’s foreign policy advisers never meant anything, but then that should have been obvious.

No doubt Bush was also pandering to the crowd here, since the audience he was addressing presumably likes his brother and thinks the previous administration’s reflexive support for Israel was a good thing. Even so, I don’t think that makes the statement any less significant. He didn’t grudgingly admit that he agrees with his brother, but proudly boasted that he was taking advice from him. It’s a safe bet that this isn’t the only foreign policy issue where the two Bushes agree.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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