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Thread: Henry Kissinger's "Gas Chambers" Remark (1973)

  1. #1
    Senior Member SaxonPagan's Avatar
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    Henry Kissinger's "Gas Chambers" Remark (1973)

    Henry Kissinger faces tarnished reputation over ugly 'gas chambers' remark about Jews


    Henry Kissinger is 87 years old but he remains a figure of considerable controversy. This Christmas, he has been battling to prevent his reputation being permanently tarnished over a 1973 remark he made to President Richard Nixon that was published on 11th December, buried deep in a New York Times article:

    The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy. And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.
    Nixon replied:

    I know. We can’t blow up the world because of it.

    Kissinger (a Jew who fled Nazi Germany with his family in 1938) was excoriated. The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg described the words as “among the most vile ever spoken by a Jew about his own people”. Kissinger’s nemesis Christopher Hitchens may be likely to go to his grave before the former US Secretary of State but he was not about to let what might be a final opportunity to blast the man he “tried” in book former nearly a decade ago, writing:

    In the past, Kissinger has defended his role as enabler to Nixon’s psychopathic bigotry, saying that he acted as a restraining influence on his boss by playing along and making soothing remarks. This can now go straight into the lavatory pan, along with his other hysterical lies. Obsessed as he was with the Jews, Nixon never came close to saying that he’d be indifferent to a replay of Auschwitz. For this, Kissinger deserves sole recognition.

    It’s hard to know how to classify this observation in the taxonomy of obscenity. Should it be counted as tactical Holocaust pre-denial? That would be too mild. It’s actually a bit more like advance permission for another Holocaust.

    After initially resisting an apology (in a statement, he referred to “quotations ascribed to me in the transcript of the conversation”, as if casting doubt on what he had said) , Kissinger burst into print on Chirstmas eve in the Washington Post with a grudging apology accompanied by an exhortation to view the comments in historical context:

    For someone who lost in the Holocaust many members of my immediate family and a large proportion of those with whom I grew up, it is hurtful to see an out-of-context remark being taken so contrary to its intentions and to my convictions, which were profoundly shaped by these events.

    He argued that the remarks were offensive “when read 37 years later”, as if they were somehow inoffensive at the time, and failed to address the sheer weirdness of what he said – there was no Soviet plan to send Jews to the gas chamber and neither Nixon nor anyone else had made an allusion to the Holocaust.

    Kissinger seemed particularly exercised by an oped by Michael Gerson, the former George W. Bush speechwriter, that placed his gas chambers remark in the context of the moral bankruptcy of foreign policy realism. Key to Kissinger’s self-defence is his insistence that he quietly managed to increase Jewish emigration but this was scuttled by the Jackson-Vanik amendment, which he was arguing against when he made his remark.

    The problem for Kissinger is that, as Menachem Rosensaft points out, the emigration figures appear not to support his argument:

    Unfortunately for Kissinger, he seems to have gotten his facts wrong. As Richard Schifter, Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights in the Reagan administration, pointed out in the Forward, “Kissinger’s analysis is not reflected in the actual emigration data. He was close on the 1970 emigration figure, which was 1,027. His quiet diplomacy during detente did increase that number to an annual average of 20,516 from 1971 to 1974. But after Jackson-Vanik’s passage in 1974, the average for 1975 to 1978 dropped only slightly to 18,271 annually.

    Some have leapt to Kissinger’s defence, suggesting that this should be seen as a clumsy attempt to ingratiate himself in as a Jew in an anti-Semitic White House. The difficulty, though, is that, as Gerson points out, the comment can be seen as “not the expression of a quirk but of an argument”.

    Those who “mispeak” (that great American word) often cite misquotation (not available to Kissinger in this case) or “context” or passage of time in their defence or as mitigation.

    Kissinger is finding out, however, that certain words are difficult to unsay.

    -----------------------------------------

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/to...rk-about-jews/

  2. #2
    Senior Member Hilderinc's Avatar
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    Saying that things going on in foreign nations is no business of the USA is now holocaust denial? Speaking your opinion should not "permanently tarnish your reputation."

    Just goes to show that the chosen people care about themselves so much, that they will even dispose of 'unloyal' people in their own group..

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    Senior Member D. H. Yeager's Avatar
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    I agree with Norse Warrior. Why should we worry about what goes on in a foreign land unless it directly affects us.

    In the end, it just gets us in unnecessary trouble by acting as the world police.

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    Senior Member SaxonPagan's Avatar
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    I'd have to say I agree with Kissinger and Nixon on this issue.

    The Jews caused quite enough trouble last century as it was and it would have been sheer folly for the USA to risk a nuclear war, just because a few of them were being "mistreated" in the USSR. What sane person would have advocated this?

    It's interesting that he felt the need to mention the mythical "gas chambers" though, and totally out of context ... the Jews do appear to have an unhealthy obsession with these

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