Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) said it was a mistake for one of his foreign policy advisers to go speak at the left-leaning Israel policy group J Street. The adviser, James Baker, criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on seeming to change his position on a two-state solution.
Bush called Baker a “a sage, smart man with a vast amount of experience.” But Bush said he didn’t agree with Baker’s decision to speak at J Street, which advocates for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“I did not believe that it was appropriate to go speak to J Street, a group that basically has anti-Israeli sentiments,” Bush said Thursday during a radio interview with Brian Kilmeade. “But I have a vast array of people advising me and I’m honored that Jim Baker was doing so. The fact that I have people that I might not agree with me on every subject advising me shows leadership, frankly.”
Baker, according to The Washington Post on Monday, said in the speech that he had “been disappointed with the lack of progress regarding lasting peace —and I have been for some time.” He continued that “in the aftermath of Netanyahu’s recent election victory, the chance of a two-state solution seems even slimmer, given his reversal on the issue.”
In response, Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said Bush “opposes J Street’s advocacy” according to the Post.
That sparked the ire of neoconservatives. Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said the comments didn’t reflect the entire Republican Party.
Thankfully, James Baker doesn’t speak for today’s Republican Party. Wish the same could be said for Denis McDonough and the Democrats.
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) March 24, 2015