Former President George W. Bush has been honored with the Anti-Defamation League’s highest award for his “inspirational leadership” in the face of the 9/11 terror attacks and his commitment to Israeli-Palestinian peace, the group announced Friday.
At a private dinner for the ADL’s national executive committee meeting at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla., Thursday night, the organization bestowed its “America’s Democratic Legacy Award” on Bush, whom the group also praised for establishing the United States’ first special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism.
"The best Middle Eastern policy starts with an alliance with the only democracy in the Middle East, and that is Israel,” Bush said in accepting the honor, according to an ADL statement.
“The cornerstone of peace begins with an unshakable US-Israel alliance.”
Abraham Foxman, ADL national director, said that Bush’s “vision … of ‘two states, living side by side, in peace and security still informs our consciousness and our parlance today.”
“You solidified an unbreakable affinity between two democracies challenged by extremists and terrorists – and an ironclad shared understanding-- that security is one of the most important foundations for peace,” he said, according to a statement, adding: “You led a united American people through the trauma of an attack that in one day redefined our sense of security and our domestic and foreign policy.”
“When you were called on to respond to unspeakable terror, hate and violence, you refused to let America give into stereotypes. You answered calls for anti-Muslim revenge with calls for respect and understanding.”
Previous winners of ADL’s America’s Democratic Legacy Award include former Presidents Ronald Reagan, Lyndon Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower and Harry S. Truman; as well as Eleanor Roosevelt, Adlai Stevenson, Justice Earl Warren, Saul Bellow, George Tenet, Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger, Lee Iacocca, Walter Annenberg, Dwayne Andreas and Cardinal John O’Connor.
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