(JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League awarded its highest honor to former President George W. Bush.
The ADL presented its America’s Democratic Legacy Award to the former president during its during a Thursday night gala dinner that opened the League’s National Executive Committee Meeting in Palm Beach, Fla.
“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 the ADL’s national director, Abraham Foxman. “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.”
Foxman also cited Bush’s support for immigration reform and leadership during the terrorist attacks on September 1, 2001.
“When you were called on to respond to unspeakable terror, hate and violence, you refused to let America give into stereotypes,” Foxman said. “You answered calls for anti-Muslim revenge with calls for respect and understanding.”
Bush spoke at the dinner, which was held at The Breakers resort and closed to the press.
Previous recipients of the award, which the ADL has been giving out for more than half a century, have included American presidents as well as other government, business, literary and religious figures.