- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is criticizing the Obama administration’s recent handling of the Islamic State terrorist group, Iran and Israel, saying in a new opinion piece that rather than projecting “American determination and leadership,” the president “has either withdrawn from the stage or chosen to trust our enemies.”

“The rest of the world must wonder what it takes to enrage the White House,” Mr. Bush wrote for National Review. “Apparently, all you have to do is re-elect a leader whom the president doesn’t like.”

Mr. Bush went on to cite the White House’s “half-hearted congratulations” to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his party’s recent victory in the Israeli elections and the White House’s saying it would reassess its approach to Israel. Mr. Netanyahu said before the election that a Palestinian state would not happen on his watch, but said afterward on MSNBC he wants to see a two-state solution.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said earlier this week at the annual conference of J Street, the top left-leaning Jewish lobby group in Washington, that no matter who leads Israel, America’s commitment to Israel’s security will never waver.and reiterated a call for a two-state solution.

But Mr. Bush, a possible GOP presidential candidate in 2016, chided the Obama administration for a pattern of “diplomatic scolding of Israel.”

“The Obama administration has insisted that Israel make concessions just to get the Palestinian leaders to the negotiating table,” he wrote. “The Obama administration treats announcements of new apartment buildings in Jerusalem like acts of aggression. The Obama administration anonymously insults Israeli leaders personally and then pretends that such insults were never authorized.

“This is no way to treat an ally,” he wrote. “Conducting the foreign policy of a great nation requires maturity and a strategic sense of America’s long-term interests. This is no time for schoolyard antics.”

The piece also comes as Mr. Bush’s team seeks to put some distance between the former Florida governor and comments made to J Street by former Secretary of State James Baker, a foreign policy adviser to Mr. Bush.

Mr. Baker blasted Mr. Netanyahu for “diplomatic missteps and political gamesmanship,” Politico reported. A Bush spokeswoman told the outlet that while Mr. Bush respects Mr. Baker, he disagreed with the sentiments and said the former governor’s support for Israel and Mr. Netanyahu is unwavering.

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