Remember Nixon’s infamous inquiry into just how many Jews worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics? I don’t, but that’s because it happened well before I was born. (As for his ranting on the Jewish drug of marijuana, that rings more familiarly thanks to my interviews with Craig X Rubin.)
Anyway, the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia this week released the transcript of that conversation (Nixon really should have turned the tape off once in a while), and they shed new light on an infamous conversation. Slate has the run-down, beginning with this conversation with to-be imprisoned and later born-again Christian Chuck Colson.
Nixon: Well, listen, are they all Jews over there?
Colson: Every one of them. Well, a couple of exceptions.
Nixon: See my point?
Colson: You know goddamn well they’re out to kill us.
Also that day, Nixon and his chief of staff, H.R. “Bob” Haldeman, had the following conversation (this, too, is from the July 3, 1971, tape that was released in 1999):
Nixon: Now, point: [Fred] Malek is not Jewish.
Nixon: All right, I want a look at any sensitive areas around where Jews are involved, Bob. See, the Jews are all through the government, and we have got to get in those areas. We’ve got to get a man in charge who is not Jewish to control the Jewish â¦ do you understand?
Haldeman: I sure do.
Nixon: The government is full of Jews. Second, most Jews are disloyal. You know what I mean? You have a [White House Counsel Leonard] Garment and a [National Security Adviser Henry] Kissinger and, frankly, a [White House speechwriter William] Safire, and, by God, they’re exceptions. But Bob, generally speaking, you can’t trust the bastards. They turn on you. Am I wrong or right?
Haldeman: Their whole orientation is against you. In this administration, anyway. And they are smart. They have the ability to do what they want to doâwhichâis to hurt us.
Wow. Nixon really suffered from that other kind of Jewish paranoia.