Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Nixon's concern for Jews

No surprise Nixon was an antisemite. We've known that for a long time, but with the release of new tapes there's a little more detail for me.
Anti-Semitism is stronger than we think. You know, it’s unfortunate. But this has happened to the Jews. It happened in Spain, it happened in Germany, it’s happening — and now it’s going to happen in America if these people don’t start behaving. ... It may be they have a death wish. You know that’s been the problem with our Jewish friends for centuries.
That quote is reported by the NYT here and in the "main" article here. Toward the end of that main article, the quote is presented in pieces --both articles elide parts of the conversation, but the "main" article is more disjointed-- but some context is provided that's less apparent in the article with the full quote. Only the main article provides a short audio clip in a sidebar.

What's a little surprising for me is how sincere Nixon sounds in expressing his concern for Jews. His "concern" includes stereotyping Jews as having a death wish and using that as an excuse to blame Jews for antisemitism. But I wouldn't have guessed that someone also capable of much more blatant, explicit, and hateful antisemitism could sound so genuine expressing what he thinks of as concern.

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