Nixon Disallowed Jewish Advisors From Discussing Israel...

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JONATHAN CHAIT DECEMBER 10, 2010

Nixon Disallowed Jewish Advisors From Discussing Israel Policy

New documents released today about Nixon and the Jews:

Documents released today by the Richard Nixon presidential library contain fresh details on the former president’s antipathy toward Jews, his interest in exposing more details of John F. Kennedy’s policy on Cuba and Vietnam, and his approach to the office that he was eventually forced to resign.

Mr. Nixon ordered his aides to exclude all Jewish-Americans from policy-making on Israel, according to formerly classified notes taken by then-chief of staff H. R. “Bob” Haldeman on a meeting with the president in July 1971. “No Jew can handle the Israeli thing,” the notes read. Later in the one-page excerpt, Mr. Haldeman writes, “Forget the Jews — they’re against” the administration.

That stipulation explicitly includes then-national security adviser Henry Kissinger, with accompanying plans to keep him out of the loop: “get K. out of the play — Haig handle it,” says one note, referring to then-aide Alexander Haig.

You do see a fainter echo of this view today on the fringes of the debate among the likes of ultra-Nixonian realists like Stephen Walt, but even Walt believes that Americans Jews can prove their loyalty by adopting a sufficiently left-wing line on Israel. It's hard to imagine any president today refusing to allow his own national security adviser to participate in Israel-related debates on account of being Jewish.

Meanwhile, Kissinger has pathetically defended Nixon against charges of anti-Semitism despite being excluded by Nixon from formulating Israel policy on the basis of his ethnicity.

Update: And here is Kissinger trying to prove to Nixon he's not that kind of Jew, or perhaps just displaying his cold-eyed realism:

“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.”

Maybe.

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posted in: jonathan chait, vietnam, henry kissinger, henry kissinger, john f. kennedy, nixon

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