JFK threatened to abandon Israel over nukes

Re your post, JFK was first (to thank Jews for his political elevation). Warren Bass’s Support Any Friend is a very good book. The episode you quote however is only the beginning of the JFK-Ben Gurion relationship. Read chapter 6, "The Delicate Matter: Kennedy’s Struggle to Deny Israel the Bomb," especially the section beginning on p 211, "Kennedy Goes Nuclear." By May 1962 (after the midterms) he had had it with Ben Gurion:

Then came the bombshell. As Kennedy had noted in his May 8 press conference, "we have a deep commitment to the security of Israel." The United States supported Israel in many ways. "This commitment and this support," Kennedy wrote, sticking in the shiv, "would be seriously jeopardized in the public opinion in this country and in the West as a whole if it should be thought that this Government was unable to obtain reliable information on a subject as vital to peace as the question of the character of Israel’s effort in the nuclear field." One could almost hear the Foreign Ministry gasp. (p 216)

Kennedy was a politician, but he also was sincere in his concern for and determination to achieve not only Israeli but more important, US security. He also was willing to take whatever repercussions this harsh stance against Israeli stonewalling would bring down on his head from the lobby, which every president since FDR has had to deal with.

Recall also that Kennedy had just faced down his entire JCS and CIA warmongers on Cuba. JFK was a mensch.

About John Haines

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics

{ 22 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Dan Kelly says:

    Interesting quote. Bass’ book on the whole is evidently an attempt to show that America’s ties to Israel were due to “cold war politics” as opposed to “domestic politics,” i.e. Jewish influence.

    Bass is a CFR guy, incidentally, and as one reviewer on Amazon said, “Bass is fair enough to note in his acknowledgements that his research was supported by his Israeli family members and by a Wexner fellowship. Wexner’s purposes include “bring[ing] a Jewish language of discourse to … policy and decision-making in the [American Jewish] community.”

  2. RoHa says:

    “JFK was a mensch.”

    And see what happened to him.

    Kevin Rudd had the gall to expel a diplomat over Israel’s misuse of Australian passports, and suddeenly there was a campaign against him and he got shoved out of office.

    The message to politicians is clear.

    • lysias says:

      The year after she had Israelis expelled for identity theft, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark had an airplane mishap that she barely survived: Aircraft failure leaves Clark bruised and shaken (Apr. 14, 2005).

    • Sumud says:

      Well at least we don’t have to worry about our new PM, Roha, she’s signed, sealed and delivered!

      [Her partner has been working for a real estate company belonging to Australia's most powerful pro-Israel lobbyist.]

      ‘Gillard stands by partner over Israel job link’
      link to smh.com.au

    • LeoBraun says:

      Ironically, usurped Aussie nation has been symbolised as a liberal, egalitarian society. Thriving democracy downunder, where newcomers are given a fair go, because Aussies backed the underdog and cherished mateship values. Where most people didn’t care what one’s religion or race was, unless one happen to be unaffiliated or the independent Jew, morally differing from the zionist canon. Encompassing scores of Israeli refuseniks who renounced bloody slaughter and made Australia home (only to face thought police sabotaged internet communication and totally impaired mainstream media role).

      Where none ever was able to run for political office, persevere as an outspoken journalist or run a noteworthy internet forum, unless subscribed to the taboo for discussion ethos. Where clannish inhabitants in the insular communes were indoctrinated (not unlike the exclusive brethren) as supposedly being descendants of the wandering Jew tribes. Who find no rest outside the native land, their ancestors were expelled from. Hence they followed zionist teachings as perpetual wanderers in a quest of aliyah to eretz Israel.

      Apparently with the blessing of the tyrannical Labor icons (akin to Michael Danby MP), hell-bent to surpass their political counterparts precedent, whatever it takes. No wonder, ill conditioned folks in the insular communes ignored principal allegiance to Oz, while so awesome land of plenty was exploited as a surrogate incubator by the countless organisations. Whose core objective has been always aliyah to eretz Israel. Idealised as the highest aspiration of the tzioni Jew to achieve by abandoning Australian diaspora (exile=galut=galus).

      Where in this context the raison-detre of the tzioni (patriotic) Jews is to support unconditionally rogue regime in Israel, through the volunteer corps Marava recruits, Maccabiah olympics, sponsored junket tours, skewed education, fierce propaganda and geared up pogroms against the “self-hating” Jews. Notably signatories of the “Independent Australian Jewish Voices”! No wonder, hardly any of the cowed Jews to voice their opinion on IAJV forum, apart from resolute Leo Braun!

      Hence as a “token of appreciation”, IAJV founders swapped their original blue-n-white platform … iajv.org … all of a sudden without any notice to the … iajv.squarespace.com … late last year. Obviously, org – designated hypertext links (utilised significantly by Leo Braun) became dysfunctional. Yet as one to think that nothing worse could possible happen to the independent Jews archived records at the … iajv.squarespace.com … evidently to put out of misery the “self-hating” Jews such as myself, manifestly languishing IAJV site has been re-launched lately as a bronzed proxy … http://www.iajv.org

      Where absolutely treacherously, recycled articles were striped entirely of the accompanied comments and testimonies, still accessible at the moment at the blue-n-white site. Yet as sure as night follows day, even archives to fade away, courtesy of the false-flag operations!

  3. There has been a great deal written about JFK designed (and I used that term deliberatedly) to make it appear that he was as soft on Israel as those presidents who succeeded him. First, that JFK was serious about preventing Israel from obtaining nuclear weapons is revealed in declassified documents available in the national archives as is his seriousness in supporting Res. 194, the Palestinian right of return which gave the Palestinians, as individuals, the right to choose whether to return to what had been Palestine or receive compensation.

    Indeed, his US representative reaffirmed US support for Res 194 two days before JFK was assassinated, which effectively ended US support for both Res. 194 and active opposition to Israel’s nuclear program on the part of the White House.

    Moreover, JFK and brother RFK, as attorney general, were actively pushing to get the American Zionist Council, the predecessor of AIPAC, to register as a foreign agent, and that, effort, as well, would collapse after JFK’s assassination. Grant Smith of IRmep has done the best research on that subject.

    Much has been made of JFK agreeing to provide Hawk missiles to Israel without ptoviding the context for that deal. These Hawk missiles were defensive, something those who mention them conveniently ignore, and were designed to dissuade Israel from building nuclear weapons.

    A question needs to be asked of those pseudo-historians who ignore the above facts in trying prevent a very different image of JFK in his relations to Israel than the very real one who was gunned down on Nov. 22, 1963. Why, they should be asked, are they not telling the truth?

  4. There has been a great deal written about JFK designed (and I used that term deliberatedly) to make it appear that he was as soft on Israel as those presidents who succeeded him. First, that JFK was serious about preventing Israel from obtaining nuclear weapons is revealed in declassified documents available in the national archives as is his seriousness in supporting Res. 194, the Palestinian right of return which gave the Palestinians, as individuals, the right to choose whether to return to what had been Palestine or receive compensation.

    Indeed, his US representative reaffirmed US support for Res 194 two days before JFK was assassinated, which effectively ended US support for both Res. 194 and active opposition to Israel’s nuclear program on the part of the White House.

    Moreover, JFK and brother RFK, as attorney general, were actively pushing to get the American Zionist Council, the predecessor of AIPAC, to register as a foreign agent, and that, effort, as well, would collapse after JFK’s assassination. Grant Smith of IRmep has done the best research on that subject.

    Much has been made of JFK agreeing to provide Hawk missiles to Israel without providing the context for that deal. These Hawk missiles were defensive, something those who mention them conveniently ignore, and were designed to dissuade Israel from building nuclear weapons.

    A question needs to be asked of those pseudo-historians who ignore the above facts in trying prevent a very different image of JFK in his relations to Israel than the very real one who was gunned down on Nov. 22, 1963. Why, they should be asked, are they not telling the truth?

    • Bob Feldman says:

      There was also an interesting reference to JFK in his relations to Israel in a 2000 article that apparently appeared in a pro-Zionist publication put out by an organization of Reformed Judaism religious groups which stated:

      “During the 1960 presidential campaign, John F. Kennedy told a meeting of Zionists that `friendship for Israel is not a partisan matter; it is a national commitment.’ He pledged to renew efforts to secure an Arab-Israeli peace in the Middle East. But Kennedy also thought of himself as `evenhanded,’ and while American Jews were pleased that he supported Israel, they were displeased that he maintained cordial relations with Nasser of Egypt and that economic and military aid was disbursed to Israel and the Arab nations alike. In the fall of 1963, just before his assassination, Kennedy sensed that he was not doing well with his Jewish constituents and sent Myron Feldman, a senior Jewish staffperson, on a secret mission to Israel. Feldman was authorized to tell Prime Minister Ben-Gurion that the United States would send troops to support Israel if she were attacked by her neighbors–a fact that did not become public knowledge until Feldman revealed it in 1968.” (Myron Feldman, incidentally, was not related to me, although I have the same last name–bf)

      The article from which above quote comes is at the following link:

      link to reformjudaismmag.net

      • lysias says:

        In the fall of 1963, Ben-Gurion was no longer prime minister of Israel (he had resigned in June). So, is the dating fall 1963 wrong, or was JFK’s message to the new prime minister, Levi Eshkol, or to an out-of-office Ben-Gurion (presumably because JFK thought Ben-Gurion still had the real power)?

        • Dan Kelly says:

          So, is the dating fall 1963 wrong, or was JFK’s message to the new prime minister, Levi Eshkol, or to an out-of-office Ben-Gurion (presumably because JFK thought Ben-Gurion still had the real power)?

          Likely, the entire narrative is made-up , a figment of Leonard Dinnerstein’s imaginative Zionist mindset.

          As Jeffrey Blankfort has said, if you want to know about Kennedy’s relationship with Israel, you read the declassified documents in the national archives.

          Zionist groups, from left to right, put out a seemingly endless flow of stories about Kennedy, all with the purpose of deflecting criticism from Israel and Jewish Zionist political activities.

        • Dan Kelly says:

          So, is the dating fall 1963 wrong, or was JFK’s message to the new prime minister, Levi Eshkol, or to an out-of-office Ben-Gurion (presumably because JFK thought Ben-Gurion still had the real power)?

          Likely, the entire narrative is made-up , a figment of Leonard Dinnerstein’s imaginative Zionist mindset.

          As Jeffrey Blankfort has said, if you want to know about Kennedy’s relationship with Israel, you read the declassified documents in the national archives.

          Zionist groups, from left to right, put out a seemingly endless flow of stories about Kennedy, all with the purpose of deflecting criticism from Israel and Jewish Zionist political activities.

  5. He regarded proliferation as an important concern, and also as a monopoly of the then very small group of nuclear powers.

    Both assumptions are now out of the bag.

    I’m certain that he would express extreme concern at the prospective nuclear weapons capability on the part of Iran, especially with their nakedly retaining nearly direct proxy military in Lebanon (even only as a deterrent, “if Israel bombs Iran, Lebanon will rain missiles on Israel”) and less direct and less effective military proxy in Gaza.

    You can speculate on JFK selectively, as much as you like. (Let your conscience be your guide).

    The way to get the cat back in the bag, is the undeniable confidence that the existence of Israel and safety of Israelis is not threatened.

    Israel bears the greatest responsibility to make the simple things happen that would enhance a good neighbor to good neighbor Palestinian state relationship. Simple things like indicating their intent to be good neighbors by ceasing expansion of settlements.

    But, the Arab world bears the responsibility of actually normalizing relations with Israel, if the concern about nuclear proliferation is relevant.

    If my math is accurate, it does turn on the tipping issue of Israeli settlement expansion.

    • Egbert says:

      Somebody breaks into my property, steals my stuff, deliberately damages other parts of my stuff, takes over the upper rooms of my house and hurls abuse and garbage down on me. And I’m supposed to normalize relations with them? How does that work in real life? In America, I think I would be fully justified in using lethal force to eject the fsckers from my property. Isn’t that right, Mr. Witty?

    • Zorro says:

      Good for Ireland.

      It looks as if the Irish government, at least, cares about keeping the vital information of its citizens from theft by the Mossad.

    • Avi says:

      I don’t understand why a country, any country, would need to store data about its own citizens in a foreign country. Is Europe running out of hard drives and filing cabinets? Can someone explain this one? Is it an issue of cost?

  6. lysias says:

    Was the JFK statement of May 8 in 1962, as you say, which would put it before the 1962 midterms, or in 1963, which would put if after the midterms? A 1963 dating would be much more consistent with my conception of how relations between JFK and Israel developed.

    If it was in 1963, as I suspect it was, one has to ask whether it was a cause of Ben-Gurion’s being voted out of the leadership of his Mapai Party in June 1963, which was very quickly followed by his surrendering to the prime minister’s post to Levi Eshkol.

    • Avi says:

      If it was in 1963, as I suspect it was, one has to ask whether it was a cause of Ben-Gurion’s being voted out of the leadership of his Mapai Party in June 1963, which was very quickly followed by his surrendering to the prime minister’s post to Levi Eshkol.

      According to various historical accounts, and the Israeli press, a new inquiry into the Lavon Affair (an operation which was carried out in the 50s) placed pressure on Ben Gurion, domestically, to the extent that he felt personally responsible for the failure of the entire affair and thought it best if he resigned. Personally, I don’t find that entirely convincing and find myself needing more information to decide on this matter.

  7. Khawja says:

    Both John and Robert Kennedy were hated by the pro-Israel Jewish lobbying groups for standing up to Zionist bully, David Ben Gurion. Maybe, that why Ben Obama is acting like a pussy-cat to avoid the same fate which befell on Kennedy brothers. He is sleeping under Israeli lollybee that Israel is still the regional power and not Turkey-Iran alliance.

    link to rehmat2.wordpress.com