Six million Jews died in the Holocaust while FDR was president. George McGovern flew missions over the railway lines that brought the victims to concentration camps. He later said it would have been no trouble to bomb those lines. Thousands of Jewish lives could have been saved.
The St. Louis carrying 937 passengers fleeing wartime persecution was denied entry to this country. Roosevelt refused to answer the cable addressed to him. The Jews on board were returned to Europe and many perished in concentration camps. Roosevelt also refused to meet with the rabbis who journeyed to Washington to plead for Jewish lives. Was Roosevelt good for the Jews?
Harry Truman told an acquaintance he was not welcome in his home because he was Jewish. “The Jews I find are very selfish,” he wrote in his 1947 diary. He complained about his Treasury secretary, Henry Morgenthau, who called to plead for the Exodus which had been denied entry to Palestine. “He’d no business to call me,” Truman said. Did Truman love the Jews?
After seven years of the Kennedy and LBJ presidencies, the Jews of Israel were forced to fight their enemies with an air force composed not of American planes, but of French Mystiques and Mysteres. Did Kennedy and LBJ love the Jews?
Jimmy Carter presided over the return of an area several times larger than present-day Israel. He then wrote the notorious “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid,” comparing Israeli politics to those of South Africa. His virulent hatred of Israel rendered him unfit to address the delegates at the Democratic convention. Does Carter love the Jews?
Bill Clinton has accepted many millions from Arab nations like Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAR. He told Arafat that “you made me a failure” by refusing the overly generous Israeli peace package he had arranged. Was Clinton good for the Jews?
Even if we were to ignore the startling contempt Democratic presidents have had for the Jews, what could possibly explain your disdain for Republican presidents that have rallied to Israel’s defense? As a paper that tries to encourage love of your fellow Jews, why would you encourage your Jewish readers to trust those leaders who have caused them such harm?
How could Gov. Sarah Palin possibly be more of a nightmare than Roosevelt or Carter?
The editor responds: Last things – or next to last things – first: We don’t “disdain” Republican presidents who “have rallied to Israel’s defense,” and to say that we do is nonsense. We gave Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford sumptuous sendoffs, noting, in cover stories, what they had done for Soviet Jews and the State of Israel.
As for the bulk of this letter, Harry Truman was the first head of state to recognize the State of Israel. Lyndon Johnson is credited by Israeli government leaders for doing much for Israel during and after the Six Day War in June 1967. Jimmy Carter removed Egypt as a combatant against Israel, greatly reducing the threat of regional wars. Bill Clinton gets a hero’s welcome whenever he travels to Israel.
On the other hand, Dwight Eisenhower forced Israel to give up the Sinai in 1956, paving the way for the Six Day War, the War of Attrition, and the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Was he good for the Jews?
Richard Nixon, who said on tape things far worse about Jews than Harry Truman ever did, tied Israel’s hands in the days leading up to the Yom Kippur War – an action that resulted in many Israeli deaths. Was he good for the Jews?
George H.W. Bush publicly complained that he was just “one man” up against a thousand pro-Israel lobbyists. And he was the first to raise the “dual loyalty” issue after the arrest of Jonathan Pollard. Was he good for the Jews? His son, George W. Bush, is reviled in certain right-wing pro-Israel circles for his policies. Is he good for the Jews?
Democrats and Republicans alike have done things that Jews can cheer and they have done things that we may prefer to jeer. What must be taken into account is the totality of an official’s record. Using that standard, most presidents have been good for the Jews regardless of their party affiliations.
We publish this letter because we do not want to be accused of stifling free speech. We hope, however, that it is the last such letter that we will publish – not because it takes a view opposite our own, but because it is filled with inaccuracies, misstatements, and exaggerations.