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Agnew Vents Anti-zionist, Anti-israel Views on ‘today’ Show

May 12, 1976
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Spiro Agnew, who resigned the Vice-Presidency of the United States in disgrace in October, 1973, attacked “Zionist influences in the U.S.” on the nationally televised NBC “Today” program this morning and charged that “Israeli imperialism is taking place in the world.” He also alleged that the American media is influenced by Zionism and that the media does not distinguish between Arab radicals and Arabs, such as the Saudi Arabians, who uphold the “free enterprise” system.

Agnew, who tendered his resignation nearly three years ago after pleading no contest to Federal charges of income tax evasion, was interviewed by Barbara Walters. Ms. Walters pointed out on the program that Agnew was a disbarred lawyer who currently makes his living in international trade working with American companies involved in business with Saudi Arabia and Singapore. A taped transcript of the interview was made reliable to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

His remarks on Zionism were made when Ms. Walters questioned Agnew about his novel “The Canfield Decision,” whose protagonist is a Vice-President of the U.S. in 1983. Noting that “you have characters in the book talking repeatedly about the Jewish cabal, the Jewish Zionist lobby having too much influence in Congress,” Ms. Walters asked. “Is this how you see it?”


Agnew replied, according to the transcript: “I am not going to challenge you what is in the book. I do feel that the Zionist influences in the U.S. are dragging the U.S. into a rather disorganized approach to the Middle East problem. I feel for example, we don’t have an even-handed policy in the Middle East. There is no doubt that there has been a certain amount of Israeli imperialism taking place in the world. There has been an invasion of the West Bank. The Israeli parliament is talking about settling on the Golan Heights, on the Gaza Strip. Even this morning’s New York Times…”

Agnew, who was interrupted at that point by a question from his interviewer, was apparently referring to a story on the front page of today’s Times on Israeli settlement plans in the occupied Arab territories accompanied by a map.


He continued: “I feel that because of the Zionist influences in the U.S. these matters of aggression are routinely considered to be permissible.” Asked by Ms. Walters where these influences are, Agnew replied, “influences certainly in the media. I think the media are sympathetic to the Zionist cause, put it that way. I call it the nation-wide impact media. We have a tendency not to separate the Arabs into what we might call militant. Communist-oriented Arabs and Arabs that support a free enterprise system.” Agnew said.

He added: “I think that the Saudi Arabians, for example, have been our very staunch friends for 60 years and yet we regard them and Mr. Sadat in Egypt who has been trying to fight the battle of balance between the Palestinian Communists…” Agnew did not complete his sentence, according to the transcript.

Asked if he didn’t think that Egyptian President Anwar Sadat received equal treatment of his views when he visited the U.S., Agnew replied. “Yes, I think he was covered. I don’t think Mr. Sadat and the late King Faisal (of Saudi Arabia) are put in a different position.” He did not explain the last remark.

Stuart Schulberg, executive producer of the “Today” show, could not he reached for comment when the JTA called his office in New York to find out if time would be provided on the program to anyone requesting it to answer Agnew’s statements.

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