Former Secretary of State James Baker's comments criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are not sitting well with Jeb Bush, who turns to Baker for foreign policy advice.
Saying Netanyahu's "diplomatic missteps and political gamesmanship" had set back Obama administration efforts to solve the Arab-Israel conflict, Baker said Monday night
"settlement construction has continued unabated" despite Netanyahu's "rhetoric."
A spokesmen for Bush, who served as Florida's governor from 1999-2007, said Baker's comments were not in line with how the potential Republican candidate for president feels.
Kristy Campbell told Politico
Bush supports Israel without question.
"While [Bush] respects Secretary Baker, he disagrees with the sentiments he expressed last night and opposes J-Street's advocacy," Campbell said. "Governor Bush's support for Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu is unwavering, and he believes it's critically important our two nations work seamlessly to achieve peace in the region."
Baker made his comments at a dinner sponsored by J-Street, a Jewish group that stands with the Obama administration's views on the conflict between Israelis and Arabs and also on the issue involving a nuclear-armed Iran.
Netanyahu has pushed for military action to put a stop to Iran's nuclear program, while President Barack Obama supports the ongoing negotiations between Iran and a group of six countries that includes the United States.
Baker, on the other hand, said a military solution to end the Iranian threat does not exist.
"If the only agreement" that Netanyahu would accept "is one in which there is no enrichment, then there will be no agreement," Baker said.
Supporting Netanyahu has become a marker for both GOP leaders and potential presidential candidates emerging from the right — particularly in the wake of Netanyahu's speech in front of Congress
earlier this month, an event organized by Republican House Speaker John Boehner.
So far, just one major candidate — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
— has entered the 2016 race for president.
Baker has been a Bush family friend since meeting President George H.W. Bush during the pair's younger years in Houston. Last month, it was revealed that Baker is one of 21 unpaid foreign policy advisers to Jeb Bush.
Baker was the White House Chief of Staff for five years under President Ronald Reagan before becoming Secretary of the Treasury for most of the remainder of Reagan's second term.
Under President George H.W. Bush, Baker served as secretary of state for 3½ years before becoming the White House Chief of Staff for the final few months of Bush's time as president.
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