Is Jeb Bush anti-Semitic or is he just guilty by association? That’s what a group of Jewish voters were asked on Sunday, March 22 at a political fundraiser in West Palm Beach, where a new radio ad (click to listen) was released assailing Bush for his alleged association with former Secretary of State James Baker, whose anti-Israel rhetoric over the years has been well-documented.
The luncheon was sponsored by a group calling itself, ‘Never Again in the White House,’ whose mission statement reads in part, ‘Dedicated to preventing the election of another anti-Semite to the office of president,’ a reference to President Obama. Under Obama’s tenure, U.S.-Israel relations have fallen to an all-time low. Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have demonstrated that there is no love lost between them, and with Netanyahu’s recent re-election analysts see no thaw in relations in sight.
“Jeb Bush is taking counsel from a well-known anti-Semite,” said Daniel Radnor, a West Palm Beach accountant who formed the group with two of his colleagues after learning of the Jeb Bush-James Baker pairing. “Baker hates Jews. That’s well-documented. If Jeb Bush can even associate with him, let alone enlist him as an advisor, Jeb Bush must not be president.”
Political analysts say that Jeb Bush, a two-term Florida governor who has yet to officially announce his candidacy for president is counting on winning the Florida primary to ensure his place as the Republican nominee. But fellow Floridian Sen. Marco Rubio also is said to be contemplating a presidential run and is viewed as a threat to Jeb Bush’s rumored lock on the Sunshine State. Rubio has gained the endorsement and monetary backing of billionaire auto dealer Norman Braman, who is active in Jewish philanthropy and an ardent supporter of Israel.
“It was just assumed that Jeb Bush would carry Florida easily in the primary,” said Bill Tremaine, a political analyst based in Virginia. “Now with Rubio in the picture and a big money donor behind him, nothing is a given.”
News of Jeb Bush courting Baker for advice quickly spread throughout Florida’s Jewish community. The news raised bipartisan concerns that the alleged anti-Semitic Baker would play a large role in Bush’s campaign. The thought of Baker, the man who is reported to have told the late Sen. Jack Kemp, “F**k the Jews, they didn’t vote for us anyway,” being courted by Jeb Bush was enough to unite Jews in opposition of Bush.
“While Jews have historically voted Democratic, this is one issue all Jews can agree on – whether they’re a Democrat or a Republican: Never vote for someone who associates with an anti-Semite or who is patently anti-Israel,” said Radnor.
‘Never Again in the White House’ will hold monthly meetings throughout South Florida and coordinate its efforts to spread the word of Jeb Bush’s association with Baker and other alleged anti-Semites, Radnor said.
“We’ll do whatever we can to avert another anti-Semite in the White House,” he said.