Tags: George H.W. Bush | george h.w. bush | jewish leaders | righteous gentile

Jewish Leaders: Bush 41 a 'Righteous Gentile' Who Saved Thousands

george h.w. bush's portrait is draped in black cloth at the national portrait gallery in washington, to mark his passing
From left, Steve Duensing of Salt Lake City, and Jan Fitzpatrick of Kennebunkport, Maine, look at the official portrait of former President George H.W. Bush as it is draped in black cloth at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, to mark his passing. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

By    |   Monday, 03 December 2018 01:49 PM

Jewish leaders around the world are praising the late former President George H. W. Bush as a “righteous gentile” who helped save thousands of Jews living under oppression in the Soviet Union, Ethiopia, and Syria.

Former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor told Newsmax on Monday that President Bush was “a true American,” adding, “I think really on the issue of Soviet Jewry, he was someone who made a difference to many people’s lives. This is how I think we Israelis as Jews would remember him.”

Regarding Bush’s anti-Soviet policies and his defense of persecuted Jews, Prosor recalled the ancient Israeli saying, “When a person saves one soul, it is as if they saved the entire world.”

Abraham Foxman, the national director emeritus of the ADL, tweeted “President GWB, RIP. You were a very decent human being, a dear friend and a righteous gentile who helped liberate thousands of Jews from the Soviet Union, Ethiopia, and Syria.”

Jewish leaders also hailed the elder Bush’s efforts to repeal the UN’s odious “Zionism is Racism” resolution, and lauded his efforts to slap down a rogue Saddam Hussein in Iraq who invaded Kuwait and threatened the entire region.

Among the reactions to Bush’s passing in the Jewish community:

  • The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) called Bush an “American hero” and “a great friend of Israel, the Jewish people, and the RJC.”
  • As reported in The Times of Israel, current Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said Bush was “always a true friend to Israel and the Jewish people, taking a stand against PLO terrorism and proving instrumental in helping save tens of thousands of Jews.”
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday commented: “The people of Israel will always remember his commitment to Israel’s security, his important contribution to the liberation of Soviet Jewry and his efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East.” Netanyahu also praised Bush’s stewardship during the difficult transition to a post-Cold War era, saying he “helped steer the world to a peaceful transition and the spread of democracy.
  • Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, who was imprisoned in the Soviet Union, had a more personal sense of gratitude toward Bush. “I will forever remember his stubborn struggle to allow my immigration to Eretz Israel,” he said.

Bush’s relationship with the U.S. Jewish community wasn’t all roses during his presidency, however.

Haaretz.com reports that in 1991 Bush took on the American Israel Public Affair Committee (AIPAC). Israeli leaders wanted $10 million in loan guarantees to support the construction of homes in Israel for Jewish immigrants who had fled the Soviet Union. Bush did not want the funds used to build homes in the West Bank.

Bush told the media that his lobbyists on Capitol Hill were badly outnumbered by AIPAC.

“I heard today there was something like 1,000 lobbyists on the Hill working on the other side of the question,” Bush said. “We’ve got one lonely little guy down here doing it.”

Jewish leaders were concerned Bush’s remark could be distorted to foment anti-Semitism.

One of Bush’s defenders over the years has been the ADL’s Foxman. In 1992, the two men received honorary doctorates together from Florida International University.

As Foxman tells it to Jewish Insider: “[Former President] “Bush greeted me, saying, “I just wrote you a letter on the plane thanking you for standing up against charges that I was an anti-Semite.’ Days later, the letter arrived in which Bush expressed his appreciation.”

Haaretz reported on Saturday that Malcolm Hoenlein, the man who led the AIPAC campaign that Bush opposed, later met with the president along with a delegation of major U.S. Jewish leaders.

“I literally saw tears in his eyes,” Hoenlein said. “He kept saying he regretted [the comments].”

Foxman added, “Bush was criticized in some Jewish circles because of his Middle East policies. I stated that while I disagreed with the president on the Middle East, he certainly was not an anti-Semite.

“I later witnessed his extraordinary efforts on behalf of Jews in trouble in the Soviet Union, Ethiopia, and Syria.”

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Jewish leaders around the world are praising the late former President George H. W. Bush as a “righteous gentile” who helped save thousands of Jews living under oppression in the Soviet Union, Ethiopia, and Syria.
george h.w. bush, jewish leaders, righteous gentile
Monday, 03 December 2018 01:49 PM
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