Kissinger: Gassing Soviet Jews Would Not be a U.S. Problem
12/11/10
JTA
Photo Galleria: 

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Henry Kissinger is heard saying the genocide of Soviet Jews would not be an American concern on newly released tapes chronicling President Nixon's obsession with disparaging Jews and other minorities.

Kissinger's remarks come after a meeting between the two men and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir on March 1 1973, in which Meir pleads for U.S. pressure on the Soviet Union to release its Jews.

The men dismiss the plea after Meir leaves.

"The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy," the New York Times on Saturday quotes Kissinger, then the secretary of state, as saying on the tapes. "And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern."

Nixon replies: "I know. We can’t blow up the world because of it."

Six months later, during the Yom Kippur War, Nixon rejected Kissinger's advice to delay an arms airlift to Israel as a means of setting the stage for an Egypt confident enough to pursue peace; Nixon, among other reasons, cited Israel's urgent need.

The American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants called for an apology from Kissinger, who is still consulted by Democratic and Republican administrations and by Congress on matters of state.

"Henry Kissinger's comments are morally grotesque and represent a disgraceful perversion of American values," said a statement. "He owes an apology to all victims of the Nazi Holocaust."

Nixon secretly recorded his White House conversations. After this was revealed during congressional investigations, the tapes became government property and have in intervals been released over the years.

Elsewhere on the batch of tapes recently released by the Nixon Library, the late president repeats many of the racist slurs that had appeared on earlier such releases: Irish are "mean" drunks, he says, Italians "don't have their heads screwed on tight," Jews are "aggressive, abrasive and obnoxious" and it would take blacks "500 years" to catch up with whites.

Last Update:

12/16/2010 - 15:24

Comment Guidelines

The Jewish Week feels comments create a valuable conversation and wants to feature your thoughts on our website. To make everyone feel welcome, we won't publish comments that are profane, irrelevant, promotional or make personal attacks.

A lot of Jews make the same mistake as Kissinger. They try to separate themselves from their Jewish identity and seek to identify with 'America' or 'the world'. They hope to avoid the accusation by the larger society of 'dual loyalty' or 'your strange, different'. When Kissinger spoke to Nixon, it was NOT as a Jew. It was as a person indifferent to the plight of Jews; so in his eyes, America need not make the Jews of Russia an issue to fight for. The defect in Kissinger's thinking is that he is fearful of being himself -a Jew. America is great because we have the freedom to be who we really are. But expressing who we are takes courage, which Kissinger was lacking.
I agree with Ronald. The apology that ought to be demanded of Kissinger is that of a Jew to a fellow Jew. Kissinger as an 'advisor' was stating what he believed to be compelling US interests and what policy ought to be derived from those interests. However, as a Jew he was completely disloyal. The comment about gassing would seem to be gratuitous, an unnecessary example that likely finds its origins in Kissinger's psyche as a refugee from pre-WW2 Germany. His name after all, is Heinz not Henry. One would have preferred that he state the US interest as he did, then add something to the effect that, "but as a Jew, personally, my sympathies are with my people. Since this really is a humanitarian problem, anything the US can do without endangering its vital national interests should be done." That would be honoring both his role as foreign policy advisor AND his position as the "closest Jew to the President." In the end, the issue of courage-in-the-moment only arises when one has previously accepted one's Jewish identity as central to one's life. Kissinger had neither the upbringing nor the environmental support to have even this more basic type of courage. Many other Jews, sadly not near the seat of power, do exhibit the basic moral courage to be who they are, and Henry could have done likewise. Sad.

Add comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.