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2016 U.S. Presidential Campaign: Jeb Bush

John Ellis “Jeb” Bush is a former Governor of Florida, who sought the Republican party's presidential nomination during the 2016 election. He is the second son of 41st U.S. President George Bush sr, and brother of 43rd U.S. President George Bush jr.

Jeb was born in Midland, Texas on February 11, 1953, and is seven years younger than his brother George. At age 17, Bush travelled to Mexico and taught English to poverty-stricken children on an exchange program from his boarding school in Massachusetts. While there, he was introduced to his future wife. Jeb registered for the Vietnam war draft upon returning to the United States, but his number was not chosen.

Although much of his family had attended Yale University Jeb decided to attend the University of Texas at Austin, where he completed a Bachelor's degree in Latin American Studies in only five semesters. Jeb began a career at Texas Commerce Bank after college, and in 1977 was transfered to Venezuela where he opened a new branch of the bank and served as the branch manager. Jeb Bush moved back to the United States and started working in real estate in Miami, Florida, after his father was elected Ronald Reagan's Vice President in 1980.

Bush worked for his father and Reagan's campaign in 1980 and got involved in politics himself a few years later, when he served as chairman of the Miami-Dade County Republican Party. From this position he was eventually appointed Florida's Secretary of Commerce, but resigned after two years to work on his father's presidential campaign.

Bush served as the campaign manager for Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's successful Congressional run in 1989. Lehtinen was the first Cuban-American to serve in Congress. In 1994 Jeb launched an unsuccessful campaign for Florida's Governorship, but decided to run again in 1998 and defeated the sitting Lieutenant Governor. He was re-elected in 2002, becoming the state's first ever 2-term Republican Governor. During the 2002 election, Jeb won 44% of Florida's Jewish vote. Jeb Bush was Governor of Florida when his brother George won a hotly contested recount election in 2000 against Al Gore.

As Governor Bush advocated for greater environmental protections, immigration reform, and reforms to the state education system. He instituted a policy of tougher standards for children, increased state testing, and began an assessment program for Florida's public schools. One of his major accomplishments was legislation that restored and protected the Florida everglades. Jeb Bush approved Florida's controversial “stand your ground,” law, and is a vocal opponent of gun restrictions. He is an advocate for capital punishment, opposes same-sex marriage, and is a supporter of the pro-life movement. Bush supports fracking, drilling for oil off the coast of Florida, the Keystone XL pipeline, and has on multiple occasions questioned the scientific legitimacy of the theory of global warming. Jeb has been criticized by members of his own party for not being conservative enough, holding positions on immigration and education that are inconsistent with the party's core.

Following the 2012 election, it was thought that Jeb Bush would be the Republican's top choice for the 2016 election. He announced his candidacy officially on June 15, 2015, with a speech in which he touted his moderate conservative views, promised sweeping immigration reform, reminded voters of his wife's Mexican heritage, and criticized political rival Hillary Clinton.

In order to bolster his standing with Jewish voters, in the lead-up to the primaries Jeb claimed that he recommended to President Reagan to airlift Ethiopian Jews in what was later called Operation Moses. During the operation, Israeli planes with American support flew thousands of refugees from Sudan to Israel. The claim that Bush had a hand in deciding to rescue these people during Operation Moses was later proved false, as Jeb was a 31 year old real estate developer in Miami at the time.

During a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition on December 3, 2015, Jeb Bush promised to fight the BDS movement if elected President. “On day one I will work with the next attorney general to stop the BDS movement in the United States,” Bush told the audience, promising to use “whatever resources that exist” to combat BDS.

Jeb Bush came in sixth place during the 2016 Iowa Republican caucus, falling behind Cruz, Trump, Rubio, Carson, and Rand Paul. Bush only managed to get 2.8% of the votes, but it was enough to allow him one delegate. Jeb came in fourth during the New Hampshire primary on February 9, 2016, placing behind Trump, Kasich, and Cruz. Political analysts pointed to this as a sign of Jeb moving up in the polls and being taken as a more serious candidate. Jeb Bush won 2 delegates in New Hampshire, and received 11.1% of the vote. After a defeat in the South Carolina primary where Jeb only managed to win 7.8% of the vote, he called off his campaign on February 20, 2016.

U.S. - Israel Relationship

  • “Israel is under attack. We are negotiating with Iran and and tearing asunder our relationship with Israel. The Iranian [nuclear] deal has created huge pressure; they see Iran as a real threat. It is. If we are serious, we need to - not just symbolically - be engaged, but get back in the business of showing support to our strongest ally we have in the Middle East”
    (Jewish Insider, January 21, 2016)
  • “We need to move our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to send a serious signal that we're back in the game with Israel and sign an agreement that makes sure that the world knows that they will have technological superiority.”
    (Republican Presidential Debate, January 14, 2016)
  • “I will restore that trust and restore a relationship that will create security for Israel and security for the United States. I’ve been to Israel five times. I don’t have plans to visit there. But what I’ve said is that on Day One, I would announce that the U.S. Embassy would move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem... I believe my brother was the strongest friend to Israel in modern history, and that would be a guide as it relates to my presidency.”
    (Jewish Insider, January 7, 2016)
  • “Given the deep historic, cultural, and emotional ties that bind the United States and Israel, as well as our shared interests in fighting the growing terrorist threat and combatting Iranian aggression, the U.S.-Israel relationship should be stronger than ever.”
    (Fox News, December 3, 2015)
  • “I believe our friends - and Israel is our closest ally - should know that we have their back. And this is not just symbolism when you move the Embassy to the nation’s capital. It is a clear signal that that you’re serious about the existential threat that Iran brings to Israel and to the United States.”
    (Jewish Insider, November 25, 2015)
  • “The United States must have a comprehensive strategy not merely to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, but also to confront Iranian aggression, terrorism, and malign activities that have stoked such sectarian violence and destabilized the region. To accomplish this, the U.S. will have to repair broken alliances and partnerships, above all with Israel.”
    (Jeb Bush White Paper, November 17, 2015)
  • “Our friends, our potential friends, no longer trust us. Look, in the Middle East, the first signal that we’re not serious is when we disrespect Israel, when there’s space between Israel and the United States, the rest of the Arab world goes, well, how are we going to get a fair shake if Israel doesn't?”
    (Bloomberg, November 17, 2015)
  • “I will rebuild our vital friendships. That starts by standing with the brave, democratic State of Israel.”
    (Campaign Announcement Speech)
  • “The appropriate traditional foreign policy requires you to nourish the alliances that exist in the world and have kept us safe. That means NATO. That means our relationship with Israel.”
    (Newsmax, October 31, 2014)


  • “The president called people that didn't agree with him in cahoots with the Death to America crowd. Well, I could have made the case that he's in cahoots with the Death to America crowd. He negotiated with them. The people that he negotiated with are the ones that, three days after the agreement was signed, did what they always do on the religious days. They march in Tehran, and they say 'Death to Israel' and 'Death to America.'”
    (Politico, February 8, 2016)
  • “The deal Obama reached with Iran ignores Iran’s support for terrorism and missile proliferation that directly threatens Israel, and has rewarded Iran with more than $100 billion to spend on its terrorist proxies.”
    (Fox News, December 3, 2015)
  • “We should take them at their word when they say Death to Israel. Death to America. And sending a signal like [moving the Embassy to Jerusalem] is important.”
    (Jewish Insider, November 25, 2015)
  • “The United States must have a comprehensive strategy not merely to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, but also to confront Iranian aggression, terrorism, and malign activities that have stoked such sectarian violence and destabilized the region.”
    (Jeb Bush White Paper, November 17, 2015)
  • “I’m deeply worried about this agreement because I think it’s going to create the possibility of nuclear proliferation in the region and a much more unstable Middle East that will impact us ”
    (Politico, August 17, 2015)
  • “The reason why this is a bad deal is, Iran hasn't recognized Israel and its right to be a Jewish state.”
    (Washington Examiner, May 30, 2015)
  • “Nuclear weapons in Iran was once a unifying issue within American foreign policy. Leaders of both parties agreed to it. When he launched his negotiations, President Obama said that that was the goal — to stop Iran’s nuclear program. Now we are told that the goal has changed. The point of these negotiations is not to solve the problem, it is to manage it.”
    (Forward, February 21, 2015)
  • The nuclear agreement announced by the Obama Administration today is a dangerous, deeply flawed, and short sighted deal. A comprehensive agreement should require Iran to verifiably abandon – not simply delay – its pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability.
    (Bush Campaign Website)

Hamas and the Situation in Gaza

  • “The Palestinian Authority is not a legitimate regime. They can’t speak for the Palestinian people. There has to be a completely different environment for serious negotiations to take place... We must not pressure Israel on settlements until Palestinians recognize Israel’s existence as a Jewish State and it borders.”
    (Republican Jewish Coalition Forum, December 3, 2015)

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

  • “(When asked if he would push for a return to negotiations for a 2-state solution) Not until the Palestinians recognize the right of Israel to exist within safe and secure borders; not until they stop the hatred of the Jewish State, and of Jews in general; not until they stop teaching their children to hate Israelis, and not until they have the capability of delivering on any negotiated settlement. You don’t force Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians until they have established some degree of credibility, because they have none; until they recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State inside safe and secure borders, or say it not; until they have the political legitimacy to not only commit to a deal but enforce a deal, which they don’t. I believe my brother was the strongest friend to Israel in modern history, and that would be a guide as it relates to my presidency.”
  • “Israeli citizens have for decades lived with the daily threat of terror on their doorstep, in their communities, and when they travel abroad.”
    (Fox News, December 3, 2015)
  • “Prayers for more Israeli victims of Palestinian terror. Israel has a right to defend itself from these attacks and we should stand with them.”
    (Jeb Bush's Twitter, october 4, 2015)
  • “I support the aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians for a two-state solution. Both sides must be represented by leaders who have the ability to uphold the promise made at the negotiating table - something the Palestinian people do not have right now. Israel is right to be skeptical of the Palestinian leadership's ability to deliver... There should be an end to the occupation that began in 1967. The agreement must establish Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people, just as Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people... These negotiations must ensure that Israel has secure, recognized and defensible borders. And they must ensure that the state of Palestine is viable, contiguous, sovereign and independent.”
    (MSNBC, May 14, 2015)