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Bush Cancels out of Talk Show That Would Have Included Kahane Jewish Leaders Urged Him Not to Give C

May 26, 1972
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

George Bush, United States ambassador to the United Nations, apologized to Dick Cavett today for canceling out of his ABC-TV talk show tonight after agreeing to appear with Rabbi Meir Kahane, chairman of the Jewish Defense League.

In a letter to Cavett, the former Congressman conceded that he had agreed to do the show but subsequently “did an in-depth check” with “certain responsible, highly respected leaders of national Jewish organizations” who convinced him that “any move by me that would have even the slightest appearance of giving recognition or credence to Kahane would damage the serious productive and legal efforts that they and thousands of their fellow Jews have been making to alleviate the suffering of their brothers (in the Soviet Union.)”

Bush explained that while it had been his original intention to “forcefully” repudiate JDL policy in Rabbi Kahane’s presence, he became convinced after speaking with the Jewish leaders that he did not want to “give any standing whatsoever to Mr. Kahane.”


This is a “matter of deepest conscience,” Bush wrote, adding in a postscript that the arrests in Lido Beach, L.I. (Long Island), yesterday of four alleged JDLers for reputedly planning to blow up the Soviet estate at Glen Cove indicated “the kinds of activities that Kahane by his conduct condones” but that other Jewish leaders deem “outrageously irresponsible.”

The envoy did not name the Jewish organizations whose leaders he consulted with, but they were understood to include the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress and B’nai B’rith. As ambassador to the UN, Bush is considered a member of the President’s Cabinet, thus his caution at according Rabbi Kahane “recognition or credence.”

Bush appeared on the Cavett show several months ago after the US lost its effort to seat both mainland China and Taiwan in the United Nations General Assembly. During that segment Bush also condemned the alleged firing into the Soviet Mission by a rifleman linked to the JDL by the police. Rabbi Kahane held a news conference today to denounce the cancelation of his appearance on the Cavett show.

Peter H. Roussel, public affairs officer for the US Mission, added to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency: “We didn’t feel the ambassador should give credence to the things Kahane does and says. He (Kahane) has chosen to take the violent route.” Al Husted, Cavett’s spokesman, told the JTA: “The show was bumped because it fell apart.”

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