The Anti-Defamation League has presented former US president George W. Bush with its highest honor, the America’s Democratic Legacy Award.

The ADL cited the former president’s leadership in promoting democratic values worldwide when faced with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001; his commitment to securing Israeli-Palestinian peace; and his establishment of the United States’ Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.

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“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,” Bush said at the award ceremony in Palm Beach, Florida, on Thursday.

“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,” ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said. “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.”

Previous award recipients include former US presidents Ronald Reagan, Lyndon Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower and Harry S. Truman; as well as Eleanor Roosevelt, Adlai Stevenson, Justice Earl Warren, author Saul Bellow, former CIA director George Tenet, and former secretaries of state Colin Powell and Henry Kissinger.

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