A TRIBUTE TO THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF
PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH
By MALCOLM HOENLEIN
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and its members join the nation in mourning the passing of the 41st President, George Herbert Walker Bush. We extend our condolences to President George W. Bush, to Governor Jeb Bush, and to the entire Bush family. The late President Bush served this country with great distinction, honor, and dignity.
Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents Executive Vice-Chair/CEO, said, “We worked closely with President Bush during his tenure as president and vice-president. He maintained an open and welcoming relationship, even when there were areas of disagreement. We worked closely with him in gaining freedom for Ethiopian Jews, Syrian Jews, as well as the rescue and absorption of the Jews of the former Soviet Union. Some of these intersessions dated back to his time as a US Ambassador to the United Nations.
The most contentious event with the Conference during his presidency involved the loan guarantees Israel sought for the resettlement of Russian Jews then exiting the Former Soviet Union. We organized a day of citizen advocates from across the country, which met with members of Congress to discuss the importance of this humanitarian measure, which the president opposed on grounds related to other issues in US-Israel relations.
Following a meeting with a delegation in September, 1991, the President went public in a statement saying ‘I’m one lonely little guy facing…some powerful political forces’ made up of ‘a thousand lobbyists on the Hill,’ which gave rise to hostile and often bigoted reactions.
Thereafter, the Conference was invited to meet with President Bush at the White House. Prior to the session, Conference Chairperson Shoshana Cardin and I were invited to a private meeting with the president and his key advisors.
Mrs. Cardin told the president, ‘Mr. President, you are a fisherman. And you know that when you draw blood, the sharks come out. You drew blood, and the anti-Semites came out.’ She described some of the reaction that followed the president’s statement. Mr. Bush was taken aback and said, ‘I never realized the impact. I lived my whole life differently. I never would have done it,’ and went on to repeat similar comments and tears came to his eyes.
Thereafter, he came out to the larger meeting of the Conference leadership and for a long time could not get off the subject, expressing regret. It was clear how impacted he was. We saw this humanity on other occasions, including when we came to the White House to arrange what became the Boshowitz mission to Ethiopia, which was critical to the rescue of Ethiopian Jews. He overruled his chief of staff, who had initially turned us down, even after we explained that there was a 48-hour window of opportunity to get the Jews out of Addis Ababa.
During a reception at the vice-president’s residence at the Naval Observatory, just before he moved to the White House, the president-elect hosted a reception and it was clear he was uncomfortable making idle chatter with the guests. He quietly asked then COP Chairman Morris Abram and me to go to his den on the second floor, where he kicked off his shoes and just talked to us about the status of the world and very personal matters.
In fact, he went picture by picture on the mantle to talk about his grandchildren and said to me in response to a question, ‘the thing I am most proud of in my life is that my children want to come home.’ A great lesson for all of us.”
CA GOVERNOR ISSUES STATEMENT ON PASSING OF FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH
By GOV. EDMUND G. BROWN
SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown issued the following statement … on the passing of former President George H.W. Bush:
Our thoughts are with the Bush family tonight. America has lost a true public servant.”
In honor of George H.W. Bush, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.
Gov. Edmund Brown, Sacramento, CA
WJC MOURNS THE DEATH OF UNITED STATES PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH
By RONALD S. LAUDER
The World Jewish Congress (“WJC”) and its more than 100 affiliated Jewish communities across the globe mourn the passing of former US President George H.W. Bush, and extend the condolences of the international Jewish community to both the Bush family and the American people.
President George H.W. Bush was a genuine American hero and a true friend of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. I got to know then Vice President Bush well when I served in the Reagan Administration, and we had many conversations in which he expressed unambiguous sympathy and support for a broad range of Jewish causes.
The Jewish people will never forget the instrumental role played by the late President in making possible the dramatic airlift to freedom of Ethiopian Jewry, and his unwavering assistance in enabling Soviet Jews to emigrate.
President Bush was also responsible for revoking the scurrilous United Nations resolution that equated Zionism with racism. Despite occasional disagreements, he was a firm ally of the State of Israel and worked tirelessly to achieve an end to the Israeli-Arab conflict. As an American, I also stand in awe of his leadership and determination during the first Gulf War that saw the effective end of Saddam Hussein’s threats against the Jewish state. He embodied the values of decency and patriotism at their finest.
Ronald Lauder, WJC President
Mollette, Glenn, contributing columnist
Reuben, Liz editor
Israel Teitelbaum, contributing columnist
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AGUDATH ISRAEL OF AMERICA JOINS IN OUR NATION’S GRIEF OVER THE PASSING OF PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH
Former U.S. VP George H.W. Bush presents award to Agudath
Israel's Southern Brooklyn Community Organization (SBCO)
By AGUDATH ISRAEL
President Bush’s entire life was devoted to serving the United States, its people and its ideals -- during war and peace, at home and abroad, in Congress and the White House. His wisdom, skill, statesmanship and temperament helped our country find stability, and break new ground on the world scene, during the very tenuous and uncertain post-Cold War era. He is admired, and will be remembered, for his readiness to exert America’s strength to protect its interests and allies.
On a more personal note, we remember well how warmly Mr. Bush -- both as president and vice president -- engaged with Agudath Israel. He graciously welcomed Agudath Israel’s Washington Leadership Missions, joined by numerous members of the Cabinet and other high ranking administration officials. He invited our executive leadership on several occasions to small meetings to discuss various critical policy initiatives ranging from civil rights to child care.
The president also worked closely with Agudath Israel and recognized its achievements in several areas, including our efforts concerning the plight of Iranian and Syrian Jews, the discrimination and anti-Semitism facing the Jewish community of Airmont, NY, and the groundbreaking neighborhood stabilization and revitalization programs we had undertaken in Brooklyn. Agudath Israel’s late revered leader, Rabbi Moshe Sherer, had a particularly close relationship with the , and often was pivotal in voicing Jewish concerns to him on Israel’s security.
As the entire nation mourns, Agudath Israel expresses our deep condolences to his distinguished family. They should be comforted by the fact that they have admirably carried on the ideals of this great American leader and patriot.
BUSH DECENCY AND AMERICA'S CHRISTMAS LIST
By GLENN MOLLETTE
Christmas is coming and wish lists vary. Here are ideas from which most can benefit.
Medical care for all Americans. Congress must sever ties with lobbyists working on behalf of the pharmaceutical and medical insurance companies and represent the American people. Prescription costs are too high and the government pays too much money to the drug companies for those who receive various medicines from government coverage. All Americans should be able to see a doctor and receive medical care. Working Americans should have access to affordable medical care.
Retired and poor/disabled/uninsurable Americans should have access to Medicare and Medicaid. All Veterans and military should be able to choose an alternate doctor or hospital when the VA hospital and doctors are not in close proximity or are inaccessible.
My medical insurance company recently informed me that my doctors must always gain their consent when prescribing any kind of medicine. They not only demand final approval on any medications I might need, they frequently dictate that my doctor prescribes a medication that is less expensive. I would like to think that my doctor prescribes medicines based on his opinion that they will work. If I decide to follow my doctor's direction and the medical insurance company doesn't agree then I will be totally out of pocket for my prescription.
My wife and I were in France once and she had to see a doctor. There were doctor offices everywhere in Paris. Seeing a doctor and getting two prescriptions were less than $35. We didn't use an insurance card and a visit to the doctor and going to the pharmacy around the corner both took less than 90 minutes. France does not have socialized medicine. They are involved in controlling the costs of drugs. The life expectancy for those living in France is longer than us living in America. France's medical world is not perfect but we should take notes.
Christmas will be good if Americans can have access to jobs across the country. Big cities are booming with jobs it seems but rural America does not have the same options. I suppose it will always be this way but everyone cannot live in Provo, Utah, Austin, Texas or Nashville, Tennessee. A friend of mine recently moved to Indianapolis and has job opportunities galore. The federal government must spend some of the money we give away to the Middle East on rural America. Roads, bridges, parks and investing in small companies that will locate in rural America must be a government priority. We've spent too many years nation-building throughout the planet and let Appalachia and other rural communities drown.
I don't have enough space so here are musts for Americans this Christmas:
Insure that sane Americans can have their Colt 45 revolvers by their bedside tables when they turn out the lights and say their prayers.
Finally, may we all be a little more like President George H.W. Bush who wrote newly elected President Bill Clinton a very gracious note welcoming him to the oval office and assuring him of his support saying "...that you will be 'our' President when you read this note." He led by living the example that it doesn't hurt any of us to be respectful, gracious, decent people who help, love and encourage others. May all Americans have a Merry Christmas!
Glenn Mollette, Wsahington, D.C.
The Jewish Observer,
2-8 Tevet, 5779 Dec. 10-16, 2018 -- THE JEWISH OBSERVER, LOS ANGELES -- 616th Web Ed.