Documents Show Nixon Ordered Jews Excluded From Israel Policy

By Louise Radnofsky

President Richard Nixon and Reverend Billy Graham Flabbergasted by the Jews.

Documents released today by the Richard Nixon presidential library contain fresh details on the former president’s antipathy toward Jews, his interest in exposing more details of John F. Kennedy’s policy on Cuba and Vietnam, and his approach to the office that he was eventually forced to resign.

Mr. Nixon ordered his aides to exclude all Jewish-Americans from policy-making on Israel, according to formerly classified notes taken by then-chief of staff H. R. “Bob” Haldeman on a meeting with the president in July 1971. “No Jew can handle the Israeli thing,” the notes read. Later in the one-page excerpt, Mr. Haldeman writes, “Forget the Jews — they’re against” the administration.

That stipulation explicitly includes then-national security adviser Henry Kissinger, with accompanying plans to keep him out of the loop: “get K. out of the play — Haig handle it,” says one note, referring to then-aide Alexander Haig.

In an interview Friday, Mr. Kissinger said he does not doubt Mr. Nixon said such a thing, but denied that he was excluded from policy-making discussions on Israel.

“I was involved in every discussion, I would know if they were discussing things I wasn’t involved in,” Mr. Kissinger said. “It would have been impossible. All the cables went through my office.”

Though he spoke derogatively of Jews at times, Mr. Nixon was not an anti-Semite, Mr. Kissinger said, pointing to a large numbers of Jews that worked in the White House.

Other notes released from the files of Mr. Haldeman and then-aide John Ehrlichman show Mr. Nixon’s desire to obtain wide-ranging information from the CIA on President Kennedy‘s handling of the Cuban missile crisis, and murder of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem in 1963. A memo by Mr. Ehrlichman to the president makes clear that he has conveyed the request to the CIA, and said that while the president will be “discreet,” he intended “to declassify a lot of documents relating to past events” and would not keep documents secret to avoid embarrassment to intelligence officials.

Mr. Nixon’s hostility towards his political opponents is apparent in number of memos revealed for the first time, including an instruction to make sure that Al Gore Sr., the Tennessee senator, would be “blistered” for a statement he had made that the White House was not taking action on inflation.

A note for senior adviser Bryce Harlow suggests: “I think that first we should get general agreement from the leadership that Teddy Kennedy is not sacrosanct for any reason and that they should attack him wherever he is vulnerable,” a decision apparently stemming from Mr. Kennedy’s opposition to Mr. Nixon’s war policy. “I grant you this should be done subtly — like with a meat ax — but I think we should make it clear that Teddy Kennedy is not to discuss the great issues of war and peace and honor and decency,” it continues.

Mr. Harlow says in another memo that he had discussed with the president “the feasibility of legislation that would require those who sponsor demonstrations in D.C. to post a bond to cover damage caused by the demonstrations,” while acknowledging the potential constitutional challenges to such a move.

A four-page memo by Mr. Nixon describes his personal habits for dissemination to “friendly columnists or authors,” and sets out the president’s loathing for social breakfasts, social lunches, social cocktails and social dinners, because they take away time for “long-range, broad-scope thinking,” and that he doesn’t feel he can afford to spend five hours playing golf for the same reason.

In a similar vein, Mr. Nixon tells Mr. Haldeman in another memo that “I want the word around all over the country that I will do no finance dinners for an individual State and also I think [then-chairman of the Republican National Committee George H.W.] Bush should know that except for this one annual dinner for House and Senate candidates, I will not do finance dinners generally. Here he has got to depend primarily on the Vice President. That’s his job.”