Newly Released Nixon Tapes Reveal Again A Man Infected With Anti-Semitism
New York, NY, June 24, 2009 … The newly released tapes of remarks made by President Richard M. Nixon reinforce an emerging portrait of a man who was "so deeply infected with anti-Semitism that he was unable to see it, even in himself," the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said in a statement released today.
In a tape-recorded telephone conversation with the evangelist Billy Graham released by the Nixon Presidential Library, the late president is heard expressing concern about Jews bringing anti-Semitism to the surface in society through their activism against Christian evangelism, including Campus Crusade and Jews for Jesus.
"What I really think is that deep down in this country, there is a lot of anti-Semitism, and all this is going to do is stir it up," Nixon said. "They're going to get the darndest wave of anti-Semitism here if they don't behave."
"Anti-Semitism is stronger than we think," Nixon continued. "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 American 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."
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
The newly released Nixon tapes only reinforce what we now know about a formidable, but flawed man who was so deeply infected with anti-Semitism that he was unable to see it, even in himself.
President Nixon says he wanted to be 'a friend of the Jews,' but at the same time he showed that his view of the Jewish people was indeed anything but friendly, grounded in traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews and their being the cause of their own misfortunes through history.
Startling, too, is the information that continues to come out about the Rev. Billy Graham's anti-Semitism, showing how he raised the subject of Jews with Nixon and commiserated with him about the 'synagogue of Satan' and Jews who promote pornography and obscenity. While never expressing these views in public, Rev. Graham unabashedly held forth with the president with age-old classical anti-Semitic canards.
Also of concern was President Nixon's comment that abortion might be necessary "when you have a black and a white, or a rape." Such comments reveal that anti-Semitism was not the only form of bigotry to infect the former president. His remark was not only appalling, but shocking in the deeply ingrained racism it reflected.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.