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Kissinger's 'Despicable' Comments About Gassing Soviet Jews Revealed in Nixon Tapes
'Kissinger, in addition to being the quintessential court Jew, is also a hypocrite.'
Sat, 12/11/2010 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

I cannot remember reading anything as despicable or callous as Henry Kissinger’s observation, captured for posterity on secret White House recordings newly released by the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, that “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, then National Security Adviser, made the odious remarks on March 1, 1973, to President Nixon after Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir had requested American intervention on behalf of Soviet Jewry.

Nixon’s response was no less disconcerting. “I know,” he said. “We can’t blow up the world because of it.”

Kissinger and Nixon would have been right at home with the most extreme elements of the America First crowd who desperately wanted to keep the United States out of any European conflict during the 1930’s and early 1940’s.

“Must the entire world go to war for 600,000 Jews in Germany who are neither American, nor French, nor English citizens, but citizens of Germany?” asked the hate spewing Father Charles Coughlin in January of 1939.

Along the same lines, Charles Lindbergh, reaching essentially the identical basic conclusion as Kissinger would 31 and a half years later, declared in a speech in Des Moines on September 11, 1941, that “the leaders of both the British and the Jewish races, for reasons which are as understandable from their viewpoint as they are inadvisable from ours, for reasons which are not American, wish to involve us in the war.”

The literary critic George Steiner once wrote that if Hitler had ceased his territorial expansionism after the annexation of Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland, “Dachau, Buchenwald and Theresienstadt would have operated in the middle of twentieth-century civilization until the last Jew had been made soap. There would have been brave words on Trafalgar Square and in Carnegie Hall . . . . But no foreign power would have taken action.”

Kissinger’s mindbogglingly perverse 1973 comments validate Steiner’s thesis. Since the United States had not yet become a party to the 1948 Genocide Convention during the Nixon years – Congress did not ratify it until 1988 – Kissinger clearly did not believe that the United States had even a moral obligation to implement the Convention’s spirit. In his utilitarian conception of American foreign policy, “if they put Jews into gas chambers . . . it is not an American concern.”

Kissinger’s attitude toward his Jewish identity has always been, to say the least, conflicted. On his first visit to Israel as Secretary of State, he was reluctant to visit Yad Vashem and only agreed to go to the country’s official Holocaust memorial when it was pointed out to him that other foreign ministers did so as a matter of course. In 1985, he publicly supported President Reagan’s controversial decision to lay a wreath at the German military cemetery at Bitburg where members of Hitler’s Waffen-SS lie buried. He opposed building the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., warning ominously that having such a museum on federal grounds would constitute “too high a profile” for American Jews and would “reignite anti-Semitism.”

The crux of the issue, of course, is that Kissinger, in addition to being the quintessential court Jew, is also a hypocrite. He obviously has no problem with the fact that he and his family were given refuge in the United States when they fled Nazi persecution in 1938. Unlike the biblical Joseph who used his position of power in Egypt to save his people from famine, the motto Kissinger lived by seems to have been, “hoist the lifeboat’s gangplank now that I’m on board.”

Indeed, Kissinger has consistently been far warmer toward his native Germany, which he and his family fled in 1938, than toward the people into which he happened to have been born. Upon receiving a medal in 2007 from the German state of Baden-Württemberg, for example, he euphemistically referred in passing to “the difficulties of my childhood” before bestowing lavish praise on Germany and German society. Not a word about Nazism. Not a word about having been a persecuted Jew. Not a word about the millions of Jews murdered by Germany during World War II.

Still, Kissinger has disingenuously exploited his refugee status when it suited his purposes. His biographer, Walter Isaacson, quotes him as telling Jewish leaders “How can I, as a Jew who lost thirteen relatives in the Holocaust, do anything that would betray Israel?”

In 2007, Kissinger was the keynote speaker at New York City’s annual citywide Holocaust commemoration at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Presumably, had the organizers known that he considered the prevention of another genocide against Jews to be no more than “maybe a humanitarian concern,” he might not have been invited.

Now that Kissinger’s true nature has been exposed, the Jewish community and Jewish institutions must draw the appropriate consequences. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, and the Weizmann Institute should strip him of the honorary doctorates they bestowed on him. Similarly, the American Jewish Committee should demand that he return its American Liberties Medallion, and the ADL should rescind the America's Democratic Legacy Award with which they honored him.

Sheer intellect, without more, is not enough for statesmanship. Perhaps our fascination with a man whose moral compass turns out to have been non-existent has finally come to an end.

Menachem Z. Rosensaft is Adjunct Professor of Law at Cornell Law School, Distinguished Visiting Lecturer at Syracuse University College of Law, and Vice President of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants

anti-Semitism, Henry Kissinger, Holocaust, Israel, Jewish, Richard Nixon, Soviet Jews

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Although I am thoroughly disgusted deep on the inside, I will not take the judges seat. My outlook on Kissinger is however changed. He is no longer the man I admired for his brilliance. He is now the man I do not know. Is he a man who so detested his Jewishness that he despised it? Or a man that needed the prestige of the position? In the end even what is told in secret will be be made known.

I am not even Jewish, but I DETEST Kissinger for saying that and
regard him as little better than Hitler.

Wow, I'm reading the trial of h Kissinger right now, and it is absolutely incredible what he did in Gov't in the Nixon years. I was in high school at the time, and I didn't know a thing about this duo. Who gives a noble peace prize to a person that commits genocide?( Vietnam, Cambodia,Laos) And then take his money from him (net worth 180 million dollars) stick him in one of those chambers. Bye, bye Henry!

Of course, that said, going into a nuclear war was not the only option available. Smuggling Jews out of Russia at that time would most certainly have been a worthy action, both to support the US in the Cold war, and because it is a good and decent thing to do. It is unlikely that the Soviets would have initiated a nuclear war over that sort of action.
The American government, it's soldiers, and its people, are not the protectors of the world, nor should they be, the world should protect itself, that is not an "extremist" view, it is simply a non-Globalist view. However, suggesting that Nixon's reluctance to start a nuclear war that could, in his mind, potentially destroy the known world over the indisputably atrocious actions of the Soviets, as being somehow vile is... impressive. That said, Kissinger has shown himself to be a vile mockery of true values, Jewish, American, or human, in other comments and actions already.
It strikes me as either ignorant or disingenuous to suggest that Kissinger's recently released private comments in the oval office are the first evidence of his character flaws, or his betrayal of both American and Jewish values. The misplaced adulation he received throughout his career was motivated by the same shallow, short-sighted conceit as the current condemnation, and lavished by the same self-conscious elitists that now vilify him. Aren't these the same voices that supported GW Bush's Iraq war before later scape-goating him as a devil and a liar to displace their own guilt? Spare the readers the paroxysms. There are no epiphanies here and no morals to offend in the practice of Realpolitik.
Kissinger has the credit of selling US to China. Nixon patronized the Chinese, turned a blind eye to the Chinese aggression on India. Today's mighty China was a shrimp in the era of Nixon-Kissinger
It seems that few commenting here are old enough to remember the context, in which Dr. Kissinger spoke. His primary concern was avoiding a global nuclear holocaust - a situation that would have exterminated more Jews worldwide than Hitler's death camps!
I think the reaction to Henry Kissinger's comments are over-the-top and the same old attention-seeking, guilt-tripping persecution of the Jews nonsense. If you examine what Kissinger actually said, in context, his remarks are not that absurd. Take the first part "The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy." Correct. Why should one group of people be singled out (a) for special consideration re the situation in the Soviet Union at the time when many ethnic groups were being persecuted, and (b) why should the nation of America be singled out as the destination of emigration any more than other nations for such emigrants? Kissinger was correctly stating the real policy of the US at that time. Now examine the second part of the statement: "And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern." Sure, his words could have been more precisely stated, but what he is saying is that it is not only an American concern, it is a NATO concern, or an international one, or US and Western European, or UN concern. There should not be a special word Holocaust for just the jews, as they are one of a number who have suffered genocide throughout history. Stop trying to always gain sympathy and advantage from something this generation did not suffer. Many of my family members died as soldiers in WW2 liberating the peoples of Europe, but our group doesn't continually keep bringing it up.
Henry Kissinger: Let my people die
To get a better grasp of Kissinger's influence in U.S. and world affairs, one must consider his longtime representation at Bilderberg, alongside such "luminaries" as David Rockefeller and Zbigniew Brezinksi.
As a Gentile nonetheless, I find the comment by Kissinger obnoxious and nauseating. People should realise that Kissinger despite his jewish heritage is still human. All nationalities and ethnic groups have quislings like Kissinger.They are called the black sheep of the family. My race had such men during the era of slavery. They were called the ' house slaves'. They mourn more than the 'massa' for any misfortune on their masters. Remember what happened to Moses when he came to the rescue of fellow jew in Egypt. He was reminded that he murdered an Egyptian oppressor, thus forcing him into exile. History is replete with Kissingers but eventually the LIGHT of RIGHTHEOUSNESS exposes their dark lives.
Kissinger is a reflection of what happens to a Jew when one sells his soul for power. The Shoah is an American issue. Kissinger is a disgrace to the Jewish people.
Thanks for your article: exactly how it should be. But what's up with the ADL? They say Kissinger is still a "champion of democracy," as if what he said was a slip of the tongue. The murder of democracy in Chile during his watch? My friend, Quinn said this on Twitter. See the link for the ADL article. quinnnorton So how many genocides do you have to be responsible for to fall off the ADL's love list? Apparently more than 2:
I do not know what the Jewish religion has in the way of officially shunning or excommunicating a fellow Jew. However, I believe the Jewish community should shun Kissinger and treat him like the traitor he is.
The controversial question is, what is the definition of a Jew? If the answer is based on religion, it could be argued that Kissinger was never a Jew in the sense that he had no interest in Judaism. If the answer is based on ethnicity or race (as argued by some rabbis and, ironically, by the likes of Hitler), how can one "excommunicate" a Jew? The Nazi solution, of course, was extermination.
And today we have "realists" like Kissinger and Jim Jones... supporting no action against Iran's nuclear program. Where are your voices against this threat to the existence of every Jew in Israel.