Former Nixon speechwriter Ben Stein says recently released tapes of his old boss are not reflective of the man he knew. President Richard Nixon was not anti-Semitic, he said, and, in fact, likely saved Israel's existence.
Talking to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Nixon says on the audio recording from April 1973 that a group is threatening the success of a summit with Russia because they want Jews to be allowed to leave for Israel or the United States.
"They put the Jewish interest above America's interest and it's about (expletive) time that the Jew in America realizes he's an American first and a Jew second," Nixon says.
Stein said on CNN's "The Situation Room" that the words were "extremely unpleasant," but when it came to action, Nixon was the best friend the Jewish people in the world have ever had.
"When the Nazis were killing the Jews of Europe FDR didn't lift a finger. When the Arabs were threatening to annihilate and overrun Israel, he moved heaven and earth to save Israel." The event Stein referenced happened in October of the same year as the recently released tape.
Nixon had many Jewish advisers, Stein noted, including his own father, Herber Stein, chaiman of the Council of Economic Advisers, as well as Kissinger.
"And, when push came to shove," Stein said, "he saved Israel."
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