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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Guess who distinguished between Jews and Zionists

As a teenager, I can recall vividly how hurt I was by the way Richard Nixon talked about Jews in the transcripts from his White House taping system. I had argued with my parents in the summer of 1972 that a vote for George McGovern was a vote to sell Israel down the creek, and therefore I argued that they (I couldn't vote yet) should vote for Nixon. My parents - both lifelong Democrats - hated "Tricky Dicky" and could not bring themselves to vote for him no matter who ran against him. In fact, when the Watergate scandal broke, my parents put a bumper sticker on our car saying "I'm from Massachusetts, don't blame me." (The only states Nixon did not carry in the 1972 elections were Massachusetts and the District of Columbia).

Nixon's anti-Semitic remarks never made sense to me in light of the unquestioned fact that he (a little later than we would have liked but at least he eventually did) initiated an airlift to Israel during the Yom Kippur War that arguably saved the Jewish state from annihilation. Now, an important new transcript from Nixon's White House taping system has been released, and it helps explain why that airlift took place: Nixon hated Jews but loved Zionists.
While previous recordings have detailed Nixon’s animosity toward Jews, including those who served in his administration like Henry A. Kissinger, his national security adviser, these tapes suggest an added layer of complexity to Nixon’s feeling. He and his aides seem to make a distinction between Israeli Jews, whom Nixon admired, and American Jews.

In a conversation Feb. 13, 1973, with Charles W. Colson, a senior adviser who had just told Nixon that he had always had “a little prejudice,” Nixon said he was not prejudiced but continued: “I’ve just recognized that, you know, all people have certain traits.”

“The Jews have certain traits,” he said.


A moment later, Nixon returned to Jews: “The Jews are just a very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious personality.”


These tapes, made in February and March 1973, reflect a critical period in Nixon’s presidency — the final months before it was “devoured by Watergate,” said Timothy Naftali, the executive director of the Nixon Library.

Mr. Naftali said that there were now only 400 hours of tapes left to released, and that those would cover the final months before the tape system was shut down in July 1973 after Alexander Butterfield, who was a deputy assistant to Nixon, confirmed its existence to the Watergate committee.

Mr. Naftali said he intended to have those tapes — actually, given changing technologies since Nixon’s time, CDs, and available for listening online at the library’s Web site — released by 2012.

An indication of Nixon’s complex relationship with Jews came the afternoon Golda Meir, the Israeli prime minister, came to visit on March 1, 1973. The tapes capture Meir offering warm and effusive thanks to Nixon for the way he had treated her and Israel.

But moments after she left, Nixon and Mr. Kissinger were brutally dismissive in response to requests that the United States press the Soviet Union to permit Jews to emigrate and escape persecution there.

“The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy,” Mr. Kissinger said. “And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.”

“I know,” Nixon responded. “We can’t blow up the world because of it.”
I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm more shocked by Kissinger's words than by Nixon's. During the period that Kissinger was Secretary of State, I frequently stayed with an Aunt and Uncle of his for the Sabbath (I read the Torah in their community for the synagogue - it was too far to walk from home), and they always spoke of him as being a committed Jew. Committed to what?

Well, perhaps my memories are wrong on this one.
Six months later, during the Yom Kippur War, Nixon rejected Kissinger's advice to delay an arms airlift to Israel as a means of setting the stage for an Egypt confident enough to pursue peace; Nixon, among other reasons, cited Israel's urgent need.
Kissinger would have jeopardized Israel's existence too. If he weren't German, I could speculate that he was a forebear to George Soros.

Meanwhile, 40 years later, Jews are looking for an apology from Kissinger.
The American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants called for an apology from Kissinger, who is still consulted by Democratic and Republican administrations and by Congress on matters of state.

"Henry Kissinger's comments are morally grotesque and represent a disgraceful perversion of American values," said a statement. "He owes an apology to all victims of the Nazi Holocaust."
Actually, he owes an even bigger apology to Soviet Jews. But I wouldn't allow him to make it, nor would I accept it. Let him rot in hell with the punishment he deserves.

Later in the transcript, Nixon makes a comment about Jews having inferiority complexes. Jeffrey Goldberg (you really could have waited until after Shabbos) says that Nixon was right about one Jew having an inferiority complex: Henry Kissinger.

In any event, Nixon wasn't the pure unadulterated evil my parents thought he was, but he was pretty close. Fortunately, he had a soft spot for Israel.

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At 3:55 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

To be fair to Nixon, a large disproportionate number of Nixon hating zealots , were Jews. Assimmilated liberals, but Jews. They helped feed his justifiable paranoia.

At 8:18 PM, Blogger Moriah said...

You should read "The Secret War Against the Jews" by John Loftus and Mark Aarons. It reveals among other things how during WWII America and Europe had a conference in Bermuda where they decided to 'take no action' in saving Jews. It's an eye-opener. It also enlightened me as to why Europe is suffering so much now. It's definitely Divine retribution..

At 8:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

way to go daniel...blame the jews for why they are hated

nixon was a bigot and a racist...and none of his paranoia was justified...

as for why he supported israel...it had to do with the cold war...no soviet union and nixon wouldve allowed egypt and the arab states to crush israel

as for kissenger....im not shocked at all


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