Menu JTA Search

Nixon’s Pursuit of Jewish Votes Collides with State Department’s Mideast Policy

Columnist Jack Anderson reported today that President Nixon’s pursuit of Jewish votes has collided with a new Middle East policy being urged on him by the State Department. According to Anderson, the US diplomatic mission in Cairo has reported that the Egyptian-Soviet split is “far more significant than Washington had dared to hope” and that the time is ripe for the US to improve its relations with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

Anderson claimed that the State Department has urged “a little pressure on Israel to soften its terms” as a means to improve US standing in Egypt and as a possible road to a Mideast settlement. “President Nixon has forbidden the slightest pressure on Israel, however, while he is courting Jewish votes in the presidential campaign,” Anderson wrote.

According to the syndicated columnist, Nixon decided last year to make a determined bid for Jewish votes as part of his drive to broaden the base of the Republican Party. He has overruled some White House advisors, including his staff chief, H.R. Haldeman, who argued that it would be useless to compete with the Democrats for the Jewish vote, Anderson said.

Anderson claimed that Nixon was influenced by a letter written by a B’nai B’rith official, Herman Edelsberg, to Nixon biographer Earl Mazo in April 1971 citing voting records to show that the Jewish vote was attainable by the Republicans. Anderson said the Edelsberg letter was carefully studied by the White House. It observed that “at this time the central Jewish concern seems to be the danger to Israel. The leadership of the Jewish community…has heard time and again that Mr. Nixon has been the best friend Israel has had in the past 20 years. I will not pretend that this has filtered down to the precincts. But it is there to exploit.”

NEXT STORY