web analytics
December 19, 2014 / 27 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



‘As A Boy, Eisenhower Thought All Jews Were Angels In Heaven’: An Interview with Author Denis Brian

Denis Brian

Denis Brian

That Israel and the U.S. share a special relationship is conventional wisdom in the 21st century. That the roots of this relationship extend to the very founding of the United States is perhaps less known.

A new book, “The Elected and the Chosen: Why American Presidents Have Supported Jews and Israel – From George Washington to Barack Obama” (Gefen Publishing), attempts to highlight this relationship by describing various encounters American presidents have had with Jews and the support they extended to Israel. Its author, Denis Brian, has published 17 previous books, including “Joseph Pulitzer: A Life” and “Genius Talk: Conversations With Nobel Laureates and Other Luminaries.”

The Jewish Press: If you had to highlight two   or three of the most interesting facts that appear in your new book, what would they be?

Brian: Well, one would be the tremendously pro-Jewish attitude of Lyndon Johnson, based on his aunt being a member of the Zionist Organization of America and telling him as a little boy that he must always help the Jews. That would be one of them.

Another one concerns FDR. People generally think there was a lot more he could have done to help Jews during World War II, but very few know that he helped save over 200,000 Jews. A little addition to that: He and Herbert Hoover both wanted the Jews to make Palestine their homeland, to put a defensive fence around it, and to get rid of all the Arabs by offering them money to go to other Arab countries and start farms.

It’s interesting that they made this suggestion. Today, talk of transferring Arabs out of Israel is considered abhorent.

I don’t think FDR made it publicly known. He discussed it with a close friend of his – I think it was Morgenthau, the treasury secretary – and Morgenthau wrote it down in his diary. But Hoover wrote at least one book on the subject. He said it was far better to [transfer the Arabs out of Palestine] than to have bloodshed.

In your chapter on President Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881), you mention his interference on behalf of a Jewish woman who was denied a government job because she refused to work on Shabbos. Was she the first Jew in American history who fought to work in the federal government and take off on Saturday?

I think she probably was. That’s why President Hayes had to get Congress to change the laws so that Jews need not work on their Sabbath.

You also write that a Jew created the teddy bear. Is that correct?

Yes, it was created by a Jewish woman who had read about Theodore Roosevelt not wanting to hunt an injured bear and having it quickly killed so that it didn’t suffer. She wrote to Teddy Roosevelt asking him for permission to make a toy like a teddy bear.

You aren’t Jewish, but both this book and your previous one, The Seven Lives of Colonel Patterson, concern Jewish topics. Any reason for that?

I [grew up] in southeast England. I had never met a Jew in my life until I joined the Royal Air Force in World War II. I had 36 missions, and I was aware after the war that people complained that we hadn’t bombed the gas chambers. I became very interested and concerned with that subject.

Then I was writing a biography of Ernest Hemingway and his son Patrick Hemingway told me that [one of his father’s short stories], The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, was based on a real person. That person was Colonel John Henry Patterson who led the Jewish Legion to victory in Turkey in World War I. He became a close friend of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the great Jewish leader, and became a fervent Zionist, lecturing throughout the United Kingdom and United States for a homeland for the Jews in Palestine.

Then I found out that Theodore Roosevelt had been tremendously active in his interest in Jews. He said they were great fighters, and he corresponded with Patterson, invited him to the White House, and congratulated him on what the Jews had done in Palestine. This all led up to the current book on the presidents.

About the Author: Elliot Resnick is a Jewish Press staff reporter and author of “Movers and Shakers: Sixty Prominent Personalities Speak Their Mind on Tape” (Brenn Books).


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “‘As A Boy, Eisenhower Thought All Jews Were Angels In Heaven’: An Interview with Author Denis Brian”

  1. Heshy R says:

    I suggest the author read "The Deafening Silence" by Dr. Rafael Medoff before writing his book about FDR. Because everything I read about him in this article is a whitewash.

  2. I also am suspect about his agenda when he puts Pres Obama right up there with LBJ. Of course this is based on the testimony of Arabist extraordinaire Robert Gates.

  3. Chaiya Eitan says:

    Now all the anti-Semites have to throw out the teddy bears in their homes!

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Moshe Kachlon (L) and Avigdor Liberman (R)
Liberman’s Secret Plan to be Crowned Prime Minister
Latest Indepth Stories
The annual  Chabad menorah lighting in Sydney has been called off this year because of the murders in the Lindt cafe.

The decision to not publicly light the Menorah in Sydney, epitomizes the eternal dilemma of Judaism and Jews in the Diaspora.

Greiff-112814-Men

Am Yisrael is one family, filled with excruciating pain&sorrow for losing the 4 kedoshim of Har Nof

Two dreidels from the author’s extensive collection.

What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.

Keeping-Jerusalem

Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.

The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.

Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US

No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?

For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.

It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.

For Am Yisrael, the sun’s movements are subservient to the purpose of our existence.

Israelis now know Arab terrorism isn’t caused by Israeli occupation but by ending Israeli occupation

Anti-Semitism is a social toxin that destroys the things that people most cherish and enjoy.

Amb. Cooper highlighted the impact of the Chanukah/Maccabee spirit on America’s Founding Fathers

Zealousness has its place and time in Judaism; Thank G-d for heroic actions of the Maccabees!

More Articles from Elliot Resnick
Joseph Berger 
(Photo: James Estrin)

It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.

Rav Dov Katz

To many Orthodox Jews the issue is “Permitted & Prohibited;” “Right & Wrong” barely considered,

You can’t say “Jewish French,” “Jewish British,” “Jewish Italian.” They are “French Jews,” “British Jews,” and “Italian Jews” – because they’re seen as Jews first and residents or citizens of their countries second.

Another thing they have been covering up is the nature of the building that was attacked. To this day people refer to it as a consulate or an embassy, but it wasn’t.

The reality is that civility is less important than clarity, and right now only very few people on the Left are interested in having a civil conversation about the merits of particular policy solutions.

Rabinovich is the author of several popular books on Israel’s wars, including The Battle for Jerusalem, The Yom Kippur War, and The Boats of Cherbourg.

I think Seth Lipsky is amazing, but it just drives home the point that newspapers have a lot of moving parts.

Can teenagers seriously be expected to behave properly when they are surrounded by so much suggestive material? Is it fair to expose them (and ourselves) to so much temptation and then tell them, “Just say no”?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/as-a-boy-eisenhower-thought-all-jews-were-angels-in-heaven-an-interview-with-author-denis-brian/2012/12/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: