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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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‘As A Boy, Eisenhower Thought All Jews Were Angels In Heaven’: An Interview with Author Denis Brian

Denis Brian

Denis Brian

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As for bombing the railroads, the Germans would have let the Jews starve in the trains or killed them in the trains. Just because they didn’t get to the awful gas chambers [didn’t mean they would live].

The subtitle of your book is Why American Presidents Have Supported Jews and Israel. But you never do explain “why” in your book, which seems to contain mostly facts and little analysis.

The “why” starts with the founding fathers. All of them were brought up on the Old Testament whether they were very religious or not. They all compared the Jews going from Egypt to the Promised Land to their own journey from Europe to America. They sympathized tremendously with the Jews in that respect.

From the very start – with George Washington telling a Jewish synagogue in Rhode Island that we will not allow bigotry in this country – every president with the exception of Andrew Johnson has been extremely pro-Jewish. And, ironically, Johnson never spent a day in school and was a drunk to boot.

In looking to the future, do you think that pro-Israel sentiment might diminish considering that the Bible – which you credit with strongly influencing many presidents – is, as of 50 or so years ago, no longer a central component of public and university education in America?

I don’t think that at all because of the Judeo-Christian tradition of ethics. Christians and Jews believe in life and making life wonderful while their enemies are more inclined towards killing and death. I don’t think that will ever change. I think that complete empathy and sympathy for the same way of life essentially will continue.

Your book is ostensibly about the presidents’ relationships with Jews and Israel, but more than half of the material in the book’s first 200 pages – until the chapter on Franklin Roosevelt – is unrelated to anything Jewish. Why include that material in your book?

Because I wanted readers to know what kind of men American presidents have been, what their education was like, the kind of women they married, and the kind of attitudes they had to life before they became presidents.

What will your next book be about?

It’s going to be on FDR, Truman, Ike, and the Holocaust. What they tried to do, what they did, and what they didn’t do. What information they had, how the information came to them over time, and how they responded.

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About the Author: Elliot Resnick is a Jewish Press staff reporter and holds a Masters degree from Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel School of Jewish Studies.


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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!

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