Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Why Did Nixon Help Israel Win The Yom Kippur War?

In Thirty-Six Years Ago Today, Richard Nixon Saved Israel—but Got No Credit, Jason Maoz documents the enormous lengths Nixon went to in 1973 in order to see to it that Israel not only was able to replenish the weapons that it lost at the start of the Yom Kippur War, but received much more, despite the specter of Arab reaction. The lengths Nixon went to are impressive, but few give Nixon credit.

Maoz notes the self-serving motives ascribed to Nixon:

Some revisionists have taken to claiming Nixon's actions on behalf of Israel were prompted by Golda Meir, who supposedly threatened to go public with all manner of juicy political and personal information she had on the president. Another commonly cited blackmail scenario, popularized by the play Golda's Balcony, has Meir putting the squeeze on Nixon by threatening to use nuclear weapons.

But Mordechai Gazit, who at the time of the Yom Kippur War was director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister's Office, told authors Gerald Strober and Deborah Hart Strober in Nixon: An Oral History of His Presidency: “The airlift was decided not because we asked for it. Our relations with the United States were not at a point where we could have asked for an airlift; this was beyond our imagination.

As for Meir herself, to the end of her life she referred to Nixon as "my president" and told a group of Jewish leaders in Washington shortly after the war: “For generations to come, all will be told of the miracle of the immense planes from the United States bringing in the materiel that meant life to our people.”

Wrote Nixon biographer Stephen E. Ambrose:

Those were momentous events in world history. Had Nixon not acted so decisively, who can say what would have happened? The Arabs probably would have recovered at least some of the territory they had lost in 1967, perhaps all of it. They might have even destroyed Israel. But whatever the might-have-beens, there is no doubt that Nixon . . . made it possible for Israel to win, at some risk to his own reputation and at great risk to the American economy.

He knew that his enemies . . . would never give him credit for saving Israel. He did it anyway

Read the whole thing.

Nixon still won't get credit and will always be associated more with Watergate than with anything else.
But in October 1973, a different side of Nixon showed itself.

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Thermblog said...

The 1973 war is usually overlooked but contains lessons of extreme importance for Israel.

Europe (except for Portugal) was quite prepared to let Israel be defeated and within the US (oil lobby, State) there was much of the same sentiment.

One of the criticisms of Israel after the 1967 war was that physically, she attacked first. Not so in 1973 but it made no difference at all.

Anonymous said...

I understand that Kissenger actually stated " Let the Jews bleed a little..." I wonder what he had to say to a Holy god when he faced Him .. I dont know alot about Nixon or Kissenger .. But I do know that Israel and the Jews are God chosen people and we need to pray and support them .. Praise Jesus !

Daled Amos said...

I don't know if Kissenger said any such thing.

I do know that Kissenger is still alive.