SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. (Jul. 17)
President Nixon has publicly denied, for the first time, allegations that he was anti-Semitic, citing his vigorous political and military backing for Israel and his appointment of Jews, including Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, to key posts in his Administration, as proof to the contrary.
The allegations stemmed from news media reports in May that the President used anti-Semitic slurs and other ethnic epithets during private conversations in the White House with aides in Feb, and March, 1973, purportedly recorded in taped conversations. The report was immediately denounced by J. Fred Buzhardt, counsel to the President, as a “fabrication.”
The President’s rejection of the charge was made in Rabbi Baruch Korff, head of the Committee For Fairness to the President. Nixon held a lengthy interview with Rabbi Korff on May 13 and answered a series of written questions from Rabbi Korff on May 29. The President’s response to both sets of Inquiries was published in Rabbi Korff’s new paperback book, “The Personal Nixon: Staying on the Summit,” published by Fairness Publishers, which is controlled by Korff’s committee. Rabbi Korff visited the President at the Summer White House here yesterday and presented him with a copy of the book.
Nixon said in the interview that he had ordered the major airlift of weapons to Israel in the Yom Kippur War over objections of many Administration officials and also rejected objections from the “so-called Eastern elite” to his decision to name Kissinger as Secretary of State. He also cited his appointments of Dr. Herbert Stein as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, Dr. Arthur Burns as chairman of the Federal Reserve System, and Walter Annenberg, Jr., as Ambassador to Britain, as among his appointments of Jews to major posts.
When he named James R. Schlesinger as Defense Secretary, he told Rabbi Korff, a high ranking official said to him: “Do you know Schlesinger’s background? Is he Jewish….He has a Jewish name.” Nixon said he replied that he had no idea whether Schlesinger was a Jew, that it would not prove anything if he was and that he had chosen Schlesinger for the Cabinet post because he considered him the best person to fill it. (Schlesinger was born Jewish but converted.)