A new batch of recordings released by the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum provides further evidence of former U.S. President Richard Nixon’s animosity toward Jews. Particularly appalling were comments made by Nixon and his national security adviser Henry Kissinger after a March 1973 meeting with prime minister Golda Meir at the White House.
Nixon and Kissinger brutally dismissed Meir’s requests to come to the aid of Jews wishing to leave the Soviet Union.
Nixon also ordered his personal secretary Rose Mary Woods to block entry to a state dinner held in honor of Meir — he called it “the Jewish dinner” — to any Jew “who didn’t support us.”
Nixon said on the tape, "The Jews are just a very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious personality."
Nixon's anti-Semitic attitude is nothing new to the public - documents released more than a decade ago show that, beset by the leak of a top-secret history of the Vietnam War and rising unemployment statistics that were hurting his standing in the polls in summer of 1971, Nixon lashed out repeatedly at "the Jews" he saw at the root of his problems.
"The Jews are all over the government," Nixon complained to his chief of staff, H.R. "Bob" Haldeman, in a recorded Oval Office meeting. Nixon said the Jews needed to be brought under control by putting someone "in charge who is not Jewish" in key agencies.
Washington "is full of Jews," the president asserted. "Most Jews are disloyal."
Journalists wondered: this is the same Nixon who, during the Yom Kippur War, overrode intra-administration bickering and bureaucratic foot-dragging to implement a breathtaking transfer of arms. Code-named Operation Nickel Grass, the operation, over a four-week period, deployed hundreds of jumbo US military aircrafts to deliver more than 22,000 tons of armaments to Israel.
The New York Times, attempting to explain the apparent contradiction between Nixon’s anti-Semitic remarks and his pro-Israel behavior, ascribed it to a distinction the president made between Israeli Jews, whom he admired, and American Jews.
ADL director Abraham Foxman commented, "Here is the irony, here's President Nixon, who came to the defense of Israel, who intervened time and time again to protect Israel. He understood that Israel is part of America's national security interests and yet he was bigoted against Jews, he was a bigot, he was an anti-Semite.
"You can be both, unfortunately, you can be both," said Foxman. "You can be a bigot, and you can dislike Jews - be an anti-Semite but act in a realpolitik way to support Israel."
Actually, there is nothing surprising about someone supporting Zionism while disliking Jews. From the very beginning of the history of Zionism, the two have gone hand in hand. Herzl, founder of political Zionism, even sought to provoke anti-Semitism in Europe so that Jews would be forced to move to Palestine. He wrote, "Anti-Semites will be our best friends."
Sir Edwin Montagu, the only Jewish member of Lloyd George's cabinet when Great Britain issued the Balfour Declaration in 1917, was adamantly opposed to the creation of a Jewish state. Montagu attacked the Balfour Declaration and Zionism because he believed they were anti-Semitic. This argument was based on the fact that both Zionism and anti-Semitism were based on the premise that Jews and non-Jews could not co-exist.
Montagu was also afraid that a “Jewish State” would undermine the security of Jews in other countries. Montagu’s opposition to Zionism was supported at the time by the leading representative bodies of Anglo-Jewry, the Board of Deputies and the Anglo-Jewish Association.
This prophecy unfortunately came true during WWII, when Zionists in Britain and America made sure their countries' doors remained closed to Jews fleeing the Nazi death camps, in order to maintain pressure for a Jewish state.
In the 1930s President Roosevelt planned to open the gates of America to 150,000 refugees, and Great Britain agreed to follow suit. But the Zionist leaders told Roosevelt’s emissary Morris L. Ernst: “This is treason. You are undermining the Zionist movement.” As a result, Roosevelt informed Great Britain that the project must be abandoned: “We cannot put it over because the dominant vocal Jewish leadership won’t stand for it.”
In late summer 1942, Rabbi Solomon Schonfeld convinced the British Colonial Office to allow Jews fleeing the Nazis to find safe haven in the British colony of Mauritius. The Parliamentary motion omitted Palestine as a possible temporary haven and was therefore defeated due to vocal opposition from the Zionists.
In the years immediately following the end of WWII, the plight of the Jewish refugees in Europe was put to use for Zionism, at the expense of the refugees' own best interests.
President Harry Truman asked the State Department to put unused visa quotas from the war years to use now, allowing 400,000 refugees from Europe into America. However, this required legislation in Congress. The legislation was introduced by Congressman William Stratton in 1947, but did not pass because it failed to get any support from the major Jewish organizations, which were all controlled by the Zionist movement. The Zionists knew that if all the refugees went to America, they would lose their most powerful weapon in bargaining for a state.
Philip S. Bernstein was a Reform rabbi who served as an advisor to the American army in Germany after the war. In October 1946, he met with Truman and told him that 90% of the Jewish refugees wanted to go only to Palestine. Later, in a 1950 article, he admitted that this had been a lie in the interest of Zionism: "By pressing for an exodus of Jews from Europe; by insisting that Jewish DPs did not wish to go to any other country outside Israel; by not participating in the negotiations on behalf of the DPs; and by refraining from a campaign of their own - by all this they (the Zionists) certainly did not help to open the gates of America for Jews. In fact, they sacrificed the interests of living people - their brothers and sisters who went through a world of pain - to the politics of their own movement."
G-d, in His great wisdom, scattered Jews around the world to protect them: no anti-Semitic leader could ever have all the Jews under his empire. The kindhearted among the nations welcomed Jews to their lands. Today, when someone dislikes Jews in his country but encourages them to go to the State of Israel, he is no friend of Jews.
Henry Kissinger has come under fire for his comments on Soviet Jewry on the Nixon tapes, but he reminds us that by working with the problem of Soviet Jewry as a humanitarian problem, as opposed to an American problem, he was able to arrange for 40,000 Jews to leave the Soviet Union.
What he fails to mention is that the vast majority of those Jews went to the State of Israel, not America. There they faced great disappointment as they realized that the Zionist state was not the paradise they had been told about.
Economically, they had been much better off in the Soviet Union. Many of them were educated and talented and had jobs in the Soviet Union that required technical expertise. In the Zionist state, these fields were saturated and they were left unemployed or sweeping the streets.
Religiously speaking, although the Soviet Union forbade the practice of Judaism is most places, there existed some groups who had kept the Torah in the Soviet Union at the risk of their lives, in particular those from Carpathian Russia. Furthermore, there were Jews from Georgia and Bucharia who had been more or less permitted to maintain Judaism in their native lands. But even these observant Jews fell victim to the Zionist effort to stamp out religion.
The Zionist Agency dealt with the Soviet Jews in their characteristic style: settling them in irreligious communities to make sure they would learn nothing of the Judaism that Communism had made them forget.
It was not long before many of the new olim of whom the Zionists had been so proud became embittered at the way they were treated in the State of “Israel.” They could not find jobs, and had no place to live. Some of them became so depressed that they committed suicide; others left the country.
Zionism has brought us new friends and new enemies. A quick glance at history, and we see that over the centuries, the Muslim lands were always a safe haven to Jews fleeing persecution in the other places, from the Spanish inquisition to World War II. Today, Zionism has made most of the Muslim lands "judenrein" and has convinced most people that Muslims and Jews are arch enemies. At the same time, Western countries support the Zionist state for strategic reasons, allowing them to claim that they love Jews.
It is time for Jews to realize that we would be much better off without the friends and enemies Zionism has given us.
On the subject of the exodus of Soviet Jewry, it is important to point out that here we have another example of Zionists claiming to speak for the Jewish people, for the benefit of the Jewish people, while actually furthering their own agenda.
By the beginning of the 1970's, the Zionists had succeeded in uprooting most of Sephardic Jewry from their native Arab lands and bringing them to their state to help build it, fight its battles and boost its population. Now they desperately needed a new shipment of Jews. Knowing that the highly educated and professional Jews of the Soviet Union would be a great boon to their state, they launched a two-pronged campaign: to infuse the Soviet Jews themselves with nationalism, pride in the Zionist state and longing to go there; and to convince the free world that Jews in the Soviet Union constituted a humanitarian problem so that they should put pressure on the Soviets.
Of course, the Soviets restricted all religion, but the Zionists were not interested in bringing out the Soviet Jews so that they could keep the Torah. They needed them to bolster their state.
It was for this reason that Golda Meir spoke to Nixon in 1973 and asked him to come to the aid of the Jews wishing to leave the Soviet Union. And it was for this reason that Zionism organized protests and demonstrations during the 70's and 80's. Since then, one million Soviet Jews have come to the Zionist state.
But believing Jews know that the secret of Jewish survival throughout the centuries has always been to have Jews in every country. Thus if an anti-Semitic leader arises in one country, Jews in the other countries can influence their leader to put pressure on that anti-Semitic leader. As long as Jews are surviving and earning a living in a country, it is not in their best interest to leave. And it is especially not in their interest to go to the Zionist state, where they only fuel the conflict in the region and put their own lives in danger.
The United States government has established the Holocaust Museum in Washington to publicize the Nazi genocide and commemorate the victims. As American Jews we are very grateful to our country for this. But the museum also presents a one-sided view of Zionism and the State of Israel as the "solution" to the problem. We feel that a democratic country in which so many non-Zionist Jews reside should take a more fair approach. From the non-Zionist viewpoint, the State of Israel is no solution at all; it actually contributes to the problem. By exacerbating anti-Semitism and concentrating Jews from many countries in one place, it make Jews more vulnerable to another tragedy, G-d forbid. Scattering Jews around the world, where they are peaceful and loyal citizens of their governments, was G-d's way of protecting the Jews. The museum should either represent this viewpoint as well, or else completely omit all reference to the Zionist state.