Henry Kissinger’s Lame Apology Not Satisfactory
In recently-released tapes, Richard Nixon is heard disparaging blacks and Jews, and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is heard sucking up to his boss, saying that sending Jews to a Soviet gas chamber “is not an American concern.”
The 37-year-old comment by the former secretary of state followed immediately after a conversation Kissinger and President Richard Nixon had with Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.
In the meeting, Meir asked the U.S. to pressure the Soviet Union to release its Jews. Nixon and Kissinger declined.
“The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy,” Kissinger is reportedly heard saying on the tape. “And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.”
Kissinger tried to put some “context” to his remark in the Washington Post.
“The conversation at issue arose not as a policy statement by me but in response to a request by the president,” Kissinger said, explaining that Nixon had wanted two senators to withdraw an amendment to trade negotiations that would have tied Jewish emigration to most-favored nation status. The amendment, known as the Jackson-Vanik amendment, passed into law anyway, chilling the detente that Nixon had pursued with the USSR.
“My answer tried to sum up that context in a kind of shorthand that, when read 37 years later, is undoubtedly offensive,” Kissinger wrote.
That explanation isn’t sitting too well with many Jewish historians.
“Henry Kissinger can apologize but he cannot erase the historic horror of his comment. He can explain it away, but he cannot make his new legacy go away,” said Edwin Black, author of the newly released “The Farhud,” a book that details the history of Arab violence against Jews and eventual Arab-Nazi collaboration.
Black said Kissinger, whose relatives were killed in the Holocaust, has now defined himself as “the archetypal assimilationist Jew” who could never help his people because he hid behind immoral platitudes.
“What he failed to understand is that you cannot distance yourself from your heritage because that distance will not be determined by you but by others,” Black said.Click here for reuse options!
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