Israel Policy Forum mourns the passing of former former President George H.W. Bush. President Bush’s broader contributions to the Jewish people extended throughout his career in public service. As American ambassador to the United Nations and as vice president, Bush advocated for the rights of Soviet Jewry. As president, he maintained his commitment to distressed Jewish populations, pushing the Syrian government to allow its Jewish citizens to emigrate, and encouraging Ethiopia to accede to the evacuation of its Jewish population.

The elder President Bush will be remembered for his administration’s strong and proactive stance regarding Arab-Israeli relations. In 1991, the United States co-sponsored the Madrid Conference, achieving an historic moment in which representatives of the Arab states and the Palestinians sat side by side with Israeli delegates in a public setting. President Bush’s record served as the basis for successive diplomatic initiatives over the years and remains strong proof, in a highly polarized political climate, that Israeli-Palestinian peace can be a bipartisan pursuit.

At this time of national mourning, we remember President Bush as a man whose legacy represents the highest calling of public service and whose life was consonant with decency, integrity, humor, compassion, and devotion to humanity.  May his memory be for a blessing.