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November 11, 1983 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-11-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

18 Friday, November 11, 1983

FIRESTONE

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Ben-Gurion and Kennedy: Interesting Kurzman Memo

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ternational aspects in the
life of the late President. Is-
rael and the Jewish people
are among them.
The definitive biography,
"Ben-Gurion: Prophet of
Fire" (Simon and Schuster)
by Dan Kurzman, who is
due to speak at the Jewish
Book Fair at 10 a.m. Nov.
16, has the following in-
teresting revelation about
David Ben-Gurion and the
late President Kennedy:

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1

"Ben-Gurion was, indeed,
so eager to redeem Ken-
nedy's campaign promises
to Israel that he demanded
to see the new President
almost before the man could
settle into his rocking chair.
Israeli diplomats were in-
credulous. Not a single
foreign leader had met with
Kennedy yet. He hadn't
even formulated his
policies; anyway, he wanted
to keep the Arabs off his
aching-back for a while.
"But when Ben-Guiion
insisted, the diplomats
conveyed the 'demand' —
only to receive a terse
reply that the President
would see Ben-Gurion
only in June, six months
later.
" 'I can't wait,' Ben-
Gurion howled. 'I must see
him now!'
ICanadian Prime Minis-
ter John Diefenbaker 'coop-
erated,' inviting Ben-
Gurion on a state visit to his
country. Muttering under
their breath, White House
aides agreed to squeeze him
in right afterward in late
May. (He couldn't wait until
June!) And then only for 'ari
unofficial talk in New York,
where Kennedy would be
stopping on the way to
Europe for a summit meet-
ing with Khrushchev.
" a is hoped,' presidential
aides wrote in a memoran-
dum, 'that this ar-
rangement will produce a
minimum of publicity with
respect to the President's°
talk with Ben-Gurion.'
"Ben-Gurion sized up
with uncertainty the slim,
youthful man with a shock
of sandy hair. The prime
minister had met Senator
Kennedy years before and
had not been very im-
pressed. He seemed too
young and inexperienced to
hold a top political position.
Now Kennedy was
President of the most pow-
erful nation on earth.
- "But if. Ben-iGurion
harbored doubts about
Kennedy's presidential
stature, he was pleased
by the tenor of the meet-
ing. American scientists,
Kennedy said, were satis-
fied that Israel's reactor
was designed for peace-
ful purposes. He pressed
Ben-Gurion, however, to
take back a token
number of Arab refugees.
"The prime minister's ad- -
visers had warned him that
Kennedy would propose
this. Agree to do it, they
said. The Arabs would
surely reject the idea, and it
was a cheap way to win the
President's goodwill.
"Ben-Gurion was hesit-
ant, but he finally agreed.
Kennedy beamed, 'Thank
you, Mr. Prime Minister.
Blessed be the peacemaker!'
"As Ben-Gurion rose to
leave, the President, now
bursting - 'with goodwill,
placed his hand on the
prime minister's shoulder,
took him aside and said: "I
owe my victory to the sup-
port of the American Jews.
How can I repay them?"
"Ben-Gurion was stunned
by his candor. And de-
lighted. The President G-f

fers to the Israeli leader's

JOHN F. KENNEDY

interest in two other U.S.
Presidents.
In reference to Franklin
D. Roosevelt, for example„
Kurzman notes the difficul
ties that were encountered
in securing the wide support
for the Zionist cause and he
comments:
"Roosevelt had met with
Saudi Arabia's King Ibn
Saud after the Yalta Con-.
ference and then had writ-
ten him promising not to
`undertake . . . any action
likely to be hostile to the
Arab people.' The president
did not even invite the Jews
to the founding conference
of the United Nations in
San Francisco. To Ben-
Gurion he was 'two-faced,',
claiming that he supported
Zionism while quietly stifl-
ing it."
Harry S Truman was
the only other President
Ben-Gurion had met in

the United States felt obli
gated to the . Jews. He re
plied diplomatically, 'Do
what is best for the free
world.'
"But as he left, Ben
Gurion wondered
whether he himself had
done what was best for
Israel. He had reluctantly
agreed to take back some
Arab refugees, but he
must somehow renege on
his promise. After the
meeting he told newsnin
that he had reached a
'large measure of agree-
ment with the -President
on the Arab refugee
problem.' Since he said
nothing about any Israeli
concessions, the Arabs
soon screamed that Ken-
nedy had sold them out,
and Washington, ter-
rified, furiously denied
there was any agreement.
"Israeli diplomats shud-
HARRY TRUMAN
dered. Their boss had
barged in as an unwelcome person. As Kurzman
guest and now departed notes:
"In May of 1951, in Wash-
leaving ashes on the rug!
"But not before another ington, D.C.,- he (Ben-
President, Harry S Trurna,n,. _ Gurion) presented a bronze
iribra: 16 . - L="r0iiiient Tru-
who had pull
him for his
own from under 'the 'State mnaa,
Department at Israel's role in Israel's rebirth and
birth, came to see Ben- admiring him for his deci-
Gurion. The prime minister siveness in dismising Gen
recalled that feat and told eral Douglas MacArthur
his visitor, 'I don't know and asserting civilian con-
what the Americans- are trol over the military, a tra-
saying about you . . . But,n dition he himself had begun
the eyes of the Jewish at home."
people you will live forever!'
Germans Drop
"The tough former
President had cooly Bias Charge
ordered the dropping of Against Two
atomic bombs on Japan, de-
BONN (JTA) — Criminal
cisively hurled troops
against the Communists in proceedings have been
Korea, and daringly fired dropped against two offi-
General MacArthur. But cials of Moringen who were
held responsible for allow-
now he broke into tears."
ing anti-Semitic material to
*
*
appear in the town's official
Ben-Gurion, Truman;
history.
Comment on FDIC.
.The prosecution in Han-
Dan Kurzman's . Ben-
nover determined that Wal-
Gurion biography.,.also re-
ter Ohlmer, the former town
archiviSt, and town man-
ager Rudolph Boedcher,
could not be charged with
incitement to racial dis-
crimination or public disor-
der.
Ohlmer, 64, was fired
from what is an honorary
post as keeper of the town's
records. Boedcher retains
his job. He was not accused
of writing anti-Semitic
material, but of accepting
their inclusion in the offi-
cial records. One passage
justified the notorious Kris-
tallnacht of 1938 as a
legitimate response by
Germans to Jewish pro-
vocation in the United
FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT
States and' elsewhere.

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