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Posted at 7:45 PM ET, 12/14/2010

Henry Kissinger and the Jews

By Harold Meyerson

There hasn't been much buzz in official Washington about the most incendiary quote in the latest batch of Nixon tapes released a few days ago. There was some reporting on Nixon's stunning if unsurprising displays of equal-opportunity bigotry in his musings on the Irish, Italians, Jews and African-Americans. But the prize quote captured on the tape came not from Nixon but from Henry Kissinger. Plainly peeved that the efforts of human-rights activists to pressure the Soviet Union to allow Jews to emigrate might upset the administration's grand designs for détente (Metternich never had to deal with any such touchy-feely crap), Kissinger let fly with the following:

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.

To which Nixon responded, "I know. We can't blow up the world because of it."

Now, it's clear from the Nixon tapes that his aides generally believed that a little verbal bigotry was a good way to ingratiate themselves with their boss and added to the general bonhomie. As a Jew serving an anti-Semitic president, Kissinger probably had to go farther than most to preserve his credibility (and career) with his (and our) pathological president.

And yet, after making all possible allowances for the good doctor, Kissinger's quote remains the most despicable thing to come out of the mouth of a major American official (not to mention the official in charge of American foreign policy) since God only knows when. Added to the secret war in Cambodia, the overthrow of the democratic government in Chile, the Christmas bombing of Hanoi -- I could go on -- it confirms Kissinger's standing as a abominable public figure and human being.

By Harold Meyerson  | December 14, 2010; 7:45 PM ET
Categories:  Meyerson  | Tags:  Harold Meyerson  
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Posted by: donjamar | December 14, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Your priorities are very twisted. Kissinger was right: it was NOT an objective of American foreign policy. Nor should it have been. There were far more important problems to deal with -- including far more serious human rights violations -- than the denial of the right to emigrate.

For a more balanced perspective on the problem at the time, read "The Fur Hat" by the Soviet satirist (and Jew himself?), Vladimir Voynovich.

Posted by: Syllogizer | December 14, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

I grew up in Kissinger's neighborhood. The Jewish immigrants of my parent's generation were proud of how far he has risen. Many were refugees from the holocaust who lost family members in death camps, who would have been saved if the US allowed more refugees to immigrate into the US during WW2.

Most of these holocaust survivors have passed away, but I wonder what they would say to the quote from the Nixon tapes.

Posted by: eadler2 | December 14, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Harold, You don't give a d*mn about Jews except to belabor them as Hymies or to use them as foils for you "poh me" "gimmie som moh" con-job. And you and your boyz, the left-wing reddie crowd, now-a-days hate Isreal because they perverted American Foreign Policy and oppressed the Red Palestinians. Am I right?

Oh well, hating is hard and sometimes don't make sense but you deserve whatever you can get from shakedowns, even if Nixon has been dead for 30 years.

Anyway, go back to Politicial Science 101..National Interest. Re-read that and get back to us with a coherent statement of what you believe to be the foreign policy national interests of the people of the USA. Waiting Harold...tic toc...we're waiting.

Posted by: wjc1va | December 14, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

From the remarks of Henry Kissinger, it appears that he's a JINO (Jew in Name Only). Whatever happened to morals and principles?

Posted by: barrysal | December 15, 2010 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Let's not forget hugging Arafat... Jews don't do that... Then there's always the Evans book ("Kid Stays in the Picture") wherein he writes that Kissinger knew nixon hated Jews and was probably going to fire him (as the Billy Graham/nixon tapes revealed)according to Evans, they talked outside by the pool as he believed that nixon had even the Firestone, Palm Springs estate bugged.

Posted by: lesliekorshak | December 15, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Meyerson you belong to the same group of people, the extreme left, which accuses the Jewish community of influencing the choices of the USA's foreign policies and when you have the historical proof of the unbiased professionalism of an American Jewish official, who worked with only the USA best interests in mind you call him abominable, but had Mr. Kissinger told Nixon the opposite: “The emigration of Jews from the USSR is an objective of the American foreign policy” the left would have said that he was manipulating the administration in order to achieve Jewish goals, in your view the Jew is always guilty no matter what he does.

Mr. Kissinger gave us a moral lesson: he did his duty as an American with only the Country interests as a guide, he had learned from his own History that at the end of the day the only ally of all oppressed minorities in the world is the USA and to protect its interests equates to protect the interest of all of them.

We all, Jewish and non Jewish must thank Mr. Kissinger for preserving the fragile free World we live in.
One last word regarding Chile, as someone of Chilean descent I know something about the history of my parent’s country, to advance, as you do, that Mr. Kissinger did overthrow a “democratic” government it’s simplistic and biased hate. Because even if the government of Chilean Allende was like first Hitler’s regime, democratically elected, by its communist orientation it was aimed to become like Cuba, an USSR missile platform, a dictatorship, an anti-Semitic one… talking of what, that “democratic government” refused to extradite SS Nazi criminal Walter Rauff, please learn some history instead of repeating your leftist mantra.

Thanks to Mr. Kissinger Chile is nowadays the richest and freest country of South America, a modern and vibrant democracy with an enviable 7% rate Growth (Q3 2010) they even have a president who’s a billionaire!

Posted by: Aristotle2010 | December 15, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

It's easy for you, thirty years later, to make judgments.

Unfortunately, like it or not, Nixon was president. Kissinger had to deal with the actual facts on a real time basis, not in retrospect. To impose your morality, without all of the facts and circumstances of the actual time, is simply unfair.

Of course, as with a broken clock, you may be right twice - accidentally.

Posted by: Hazmat77 | December 15, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Gee, as if the far left needed another reason to hate Kissinger.

Policy wise this is realpolitik in its purist form.

Posted by: bbface21 | December 15, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

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