Former US president Richard Nixon blasted Jews as “obnoxious” and made disparaging remarks about the Irish, Italians and black Africans, according to newly released released White House audio tapes.
Then-national security adviser Henry Kissinger, meanwhile, said it was no concern of the US if Soviet Jews were gassed, in conversations barely a year before Nixon was forced to quit over the Watergate scandal.
“The Jews have certain traits,” Nixon said in a conversation with a senior adviser in February 1973, which was among 265 hours of recordings released by the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in California.
“The Irish have certain — for example, the Irish can’t drink. What you always have to remember with the Irish is they get mean. Virtually every Irish I’ve known gets mean when he drinks. Particularly the real Irish,” he said.
While making a distinction between Israeli Jews — whom he admired — and American Jews, Nixon added: “The Jews are just a very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious personality.”
On Africans, Nixon was skeptical about the views of his secretary of state William Rogers about black Africans.
“Bill Rogers has got — to his credit, it’s a decent feeling — but somewhat sort of a blind spot on the black thing because he’s been in New York,” Nixon said.
“He says well, ‘they are coming along and that after all they are going to strengthen our country in the end because they are strong physically and some of them are smart.’ So forth and so on. My own view is I think he’s right if you’re talking in terms of 500 years,” Nixon said.
“I think it’s wrong if you’re talking in terms of 50 years. What has to happen is they have to be, frankly, inbred. That’s the only thing that’s going to do it,” Nixon added, who resigned over Watergate in August 1974 and died in 1994.
As for Soviet Jews, Kissinger, -dismissed calls for Washington to press Soviet authorities to allow Jews to emigrate to escape persecution.
“The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy,” he said.
“And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern,” he said.
“I know,” Nixon responded. “We can’t blow up the world because of it.”
Nixon listed aides including Kissinger and William Safire, who later became a New York Times columnist, saying they shared a common trait of needing to compensate for an inferiority complex.
“What it is, is it’s the insecurity,” he said, adding: “It’s the latent insecurity. Most Jewish people are insecure. And that’s why they have to prove things.”
He also suggested that many Jews were “deserters” for having moved to Canada to avoid being drafted for the Vietnam War.
“I didn’t notice many Jewish names coming back from Vietnam on any of those lists; I don’t know how the hell they avoid it ... If you look at the Canadian-Swedish contingent, they were very disproportionately Jewish.
“The deserters,” he said.