Dennis Ross was interviewed earlier this month by Thomas Friedman at the Council on Foreign Relations:
THOMAS FRIEDMAN: . . . I'm going to . . . start with a simple question for you, Dennis. There's a lot of talk in the Jewish community that Jews should vote for Bush, and not for Kerry, because it will be better for Israel. Should Jews vote for Bush, Dennis? [Laughter.]
DENNIS ROSS: . . . Well, let me answer the question in my typically analytical, nonpartisan way. In the Jewish community there's certainly a sense that George Bush has been good for Israel, and I would say there are two bases on which to evaluate any judgment of this president and Kerry should he win--as it relates only to Israel . . . .
One, is Israel judged the way we judge ourselves when it comes to combating terror. Is there one standard for us, and the same standard for the Israelis? Many around the world apply a different standard for the Israelis. They're quite happy to condemn what happens to the Israelis, but they either say, well, the occupation creates this, or they basically say the Israelis really don't have a right to respond to it.
I think that George Bush deserves high marks for how he's basically created the same standard for ourselves and for the Israelis on the issue of terror. . .
The other measure is, what has been done to deal with the fact that in the last three-plus years Israel has fought a war? It has been in a day-to-day war with the Palestinians and [the] price for Israelis and Palestinians alike has been frightful. It's been horrendous. And here you have to ask what has been done to stop that war, contain that war, and get back to peacemaking. . .
And here I would have to give the Bush administration low marks, because they've done very little in my judgment to stop that war, contain that war and create a basis on which to get back to peacemaking.
So on those two standards, I will let people draw their own conclusions as to where they end up.
I would say that Bush, in my judgment, has not indicated at this point that he would do more than he has done in the first term. Kerry has obviously not outlined a particular policy, but he has said that he would be more involved, and he certainly left the impression that he'd be more like Clinton than he is like Bush.
Actually, Kerry did outline a particular policy, before he didn’t. On December 3, 2003, at the Council on Foreign Relations, Kerry suggested “picking up somewhere near where we left off at Taba” and appointing Jimmy Carter to do so in “the first days” of a Kerry Administration.
Kerry’s response to the war against Israel was thus to suggest that Israel get back to the process that led to it. Bush’s response to the war was to support Israel in winning it, which has led to "Israel's unexpected victory over terrorism."