Speaking at Israel’s 60th anniversary celebration in Jerusalem today, Bush launched attack on Democrats “suggesting they favor “appeasement” of terrorists in the same way some Western leaders appeased Hitler in the run-up to World War II.”
He did not specifically “name Obama or any other Democrat, but White House aides privately acknowledged the remarks were aimed at the presidential candidate and others in his party,” in attempt to “raise doubts about Obama with Jewish Americans.”
The Caucus provides this excerpt of Bush’s speech that includes the veiled attack on Obama and Democrats:
Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along.
We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: “Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.” We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.
Some people suggest that if the United States would just break ties with Israel, all our problems in the Middle East would go away. This is a tired argument that buys into the propaganda of our enemies, and America rejects it utterly. Israel’s population may be just over 7 million. But when you confront terror and evil, you are 307 million strong, because America stands with you.
America stands with you in breaking up terrorist networks and denying the extremists sanctuary. And America stands with you in firmly opposing Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions. Permitting the world’s leading sponsor of terror to possess the world’s deadliest weapon would be an unforgivable betrayal of future generations. For the sake of peace, the world must not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.
The full text of Bush’s speech is here. Barack Obama released the following statement in response to Bush’s speech:
It is sad that President Bush would use a speech to the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel’s independence to launch a false political attack. It is time to turn the page on eight years of policies that have strengthened Iran and failed to secure America or our ally Israel. Instead of tough talk and no action, we need to do what Kennedy, Nixon and Reagan did and use all elements of American power – including tough, principled, and direct diplomacy – to pressure countries like Iran and Syria. George Bush knows that I have never supported engagement with terrorists, and the President’s extraordinary politicization of foreign policy and the politics of fear do nothing to secure the American people or our stalwart ally Israel.
And earlier “in a telephone interview on CNN, Robert Gibbs, the communications director for Senator Barack Obama, called Mr. Bush’s remarks “astonishing” and an “unprecendented political attack on foreign soil.””
Democratic leaders are notably up in arms over Bush’s remarks.
Senator John Kerry released the following statement in response to President Bush’s partisan attacks from Israel’s Knesset:
“President Bush is still playing the disgusting and dangerous political game Karl Rove perfected which is insulting to every American and disrespectful to our ally Israel.
“George Bush should be making Israel secure, not slandering Barack Obama from the Knesset. If George Bush believes engagement with Iran is appeasement, the first thing he should do when he comes home is demand the resignation of his own Cabinet. Secretary Gates and Secretary Rice have both favored negotiations with Iran.
“The bottom line is that George Bush’s policies have made America less safe. The Middle East is more unstable than it’s been in decades. Al Qaeda is reconstituted, Israel is more threatened, Hamas controls Gaza, Hezbollah threatens to take over Lebanon, Iran is stronger and Iraq is in chaos. America needs – and Israel deserves – presidential leadership that actually makes us safer and stronger.”
“This is bullshit, this is malarkey. This is outrageous, for the president of the United States to go to a foreign country, to sit in the Knesset … and make this kind of ridiculous statement.”
And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that “Bush’s remarks were “beneath the dignity of the office of the president and unworthy of our representation” at the celebration of Israel’s 60th anniversary.”
Among the other notable responses to Bush’s remarks is this post from Will Bunch: “President Bush committed political treason today.”
We can’t get Bush out of office soon enough. And John McCain is absolute Bush enabler — We must, simply must put a Democrat in the White House in November.