Palm Beach, FL, February 7, 2014 … Citing his inspirational leadership in promoting democratic values worldwide when faced with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 during one of the most dramatic and consequential periods in American history; his commitment to securing Israeli-Palestinian peace; and his establishment of the United States’ first Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism; the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) presented President George W. Bush with its highest honor, the America’s Democratic Legacy Award.
The honor was conferred during the opening gala dinner of the League’s National Executive Committee Meeting, held February 6-8 in Palm Beach, Florida.
"The best Middle Eastern policy starts with an alliance with the only democracy in the Middle East, and that is Israel. ... The cornerstone of peace begins with an unshakable US-Israel alliance,” stated President George W. Bush.
“We will never forget, Mr. President, how the vision you laid out of ‘two states, living side by side, in peace and security’ still informs our consciousness and our parlance today,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “You solidified an unbreakable affinity between two democracies challenged by extremists and terrorists – and an ironclad shared understanding-- that security is one of the most important foundations for peace.”
“You led a united American people through the trauma of an attack that in one day redefined our sense of security and our domestic and foreign policy,” added Mr. Foxman. “When you were called on to respond to unspeakable terror, hate and violence, you refused to let America give into stereotypes. You answered calls for anti-Muslim revenge with calls for respect and understanding.”
Mr. Foxman continued, “He (President Bush) brought that same plain spoken clarity to his call for fair and humane immigration reform. As Governor of Texas, President Bush had a long record of support for immigration reform. As President, he pushed back against the detractors and yes, the haters, and told Congress that America could be a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants at the same time.”
ADL’s America’s Democratic Legacy Award, its highest honor, was established more than 50 years ago to recognize “those precious few individuals who have helped make our nation a place where freedom, equality and democracy are cherished rights forever.”
Previous award recipients include former U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan, Lyndon Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower and Harry S. Truman; as well as Eleanor Roosevelt, Adlai Stevenson, Justice Earl Warren, Saul Bellow, George Tenet, Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger, Lee Iacocca, Walter Annenberg, Dwayne Andreas and Cardinal John O’Connor. The award has also been presented to distinguished institutions including Harvard University, The New York Times and the Columbia Broadcasting System.