The latest batch of Watergate-era tapes from the Nixon White House reveals an administration filled with bigotry and anti-Semitism even as it avidly supported Israel, says Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. But President Richard Nixon was practical enough to separate his personal views from the interests of the country, Foxman tells Newsmax.
“Nixon was a pragmatist, a realist,” Foxman said during an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV. “He saw the interests of America being challenged by communism, and Israel as a state was an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean which was Democratic. We shared values, we shared history, et cetera. You can be both, unfortunately, you can be both. You can be a bigot, and you can dislike Jews — be an anti-Semite but act in a realpolitik way to support Israel.
“Don’t always look for consistency when it comes to bigotry. Bigotry is irrational,” he said.
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Foxman, who was saved from the Holocaust in World War II by his Polish Catholic nanny and has spent more than four decades with the ADL, was commenting on a report in The New York Times last week about 265 hours of tape recordings that the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum released. In the tapes, Nixon can be heard disparaging Jews, Italians, Irish, and blacks.
The tapes show that, after a March 1973 meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, Nixon and Henry Kissinger, his national security adviser, rejected the idea that the United States should pressure the Soviet Union to let Jews emigrate, the Times reported.
“The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy. And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern,” Kissinger said, according to the Times.
“I know,” Nixon responded. “We can’t blow up the world because of it.”
Foxman said he had a dual reaction to the remarks of Kissinger, who is Jewish himself.
“I think what Kissinger said is horrendous, offensive, painful, but also I’m not willing to judge him,” he said. “The atmosphere in the Nixon White House was one of bigotry, prejudice, anti-Semitism, the intimidation of the anti-Semitism, the stories, the bigotry.
“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. And so when Kissinger, in that type of intimidating atmosphere, I’m not ready to judge. I’m sure he wishes he hadn’t said it.”
The sad part of anti-Semitism is that “this disease so permeates so many good people and goes all the way up to the top,” Foxman said.
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