web analytics
August 28, 2014 / 2 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Home » InDepth » Monitor »

Vindication, Late But Sweet


Media-Monitor-logo

Forgive the Monitor a little self-indulgence this week. In its May 14 issue, Newsweek magazine published a chapter from historian Michael Beschloss’s new book, Presidential Courage (Simon & Schuster). The excerpt centered on Harry Truman’s role in the establishment of Israel, and Beschloss had no compunction about highlighting Truman’s nasty anti-Semitic streak or that after leaving office Truman admitted to the late television impresario David Susskind that his wife, Bess, had never allowed a Jew into their Independence, Missouri home.

In the book’s footnotes, Beschloss credits the latter information to a story related by Susskind to a former White House speechwriter named James Humes, who duly recorded it for posterity in his 1997 book Confessions of a White House Ghostwriter (Regnery).

In the spring of 1998 your humble scrivener wrote a series of weekly features for The Jewish Press on American presidents and Israel. Humes’s story about Truman and Susskind was included in the piece on Truman, much to the surprise and dismay of many readers.

In July 2003, a librarian at the Truman Library in Independence discovered a 1947 diary of Truman’s that had been sitting unopened on a shelf for some four decades and that contained several derogatory references to Jews. Some so-called experts immediately professed shock at the very idea that Truman could have harbored dark thoughts toward Jews.

Sara Bloomfield, director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, reacted with a particularly appalling display of ignorance: “Wow!” she said. “It did surprise me because of what I know about Truman’s record.”

As the Monitor commented at the time, Ms. Bloomfield obviously didn’t know very much.

Evidence of Truman’s anti-Semitism had been in abundant supply for at least three decades, beginning with the release in the early 1970’s of Merle Miller’s popular Truman oral biography (Plain Speaking, in which the widow of Truman’s close friend Eddie Jacobson told Miller that the Trumans had never invited her or her husband to their home) and Margaret Truman’s biography of her father (Harry S. Truman) and continuing with Robert J. Donovan’s two-part study of the Truman presidency (Conflict and Crisis and Tumultuous Years, published, respectively, in 1977 and 1982) and David McCullough’s massive 1992 bestseller Truman.

It was “simply unfathomable” as the Monitor put it, “how any thinking, politically aware person [could] sincerely claim to be shocked at the very idea that Harry Truman had, shall we say, issues when it came to Jews.” Your helpful scribbler then proceeded to list several examples of anti-Semitic statements made by Truman and for good measure recounted the Susskind-Truman story.

As was the case five years earlier, that story in particular seemed to rile Truman devotees, as many of them made very clear in faxes, letters and e-mails, some going so far as to question both its accuracy and the Monitor’s integrity for repeating it.

Last winter, your modest correspondent buffed, polished, and updated the aforementioned 1998 Truman article where needed and it ran as a front-page essay in the Dec. 31 issue of The Jewish Press under the title “Harry Truman Without Fanfare.” The Susskind/Truman anecdote was prominently featured. The piece was picked up by a number of websites and blogs, and the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle in Truman’s home state reprinted it on its front page.

Again, not a few readers took umbrage at the Susskind story and did not hesitate to make their feelings known.

And then, lo and behold, five months later – and a full nine years after your faithful servant first wrote about it – a major historian recounted the story in a book put out by a major publishing house and a chapter excerpted in a major magazine. Sweet vindication, indeed – though not one letter, fax or e-mail expressing regrets, remorse, or repentance from any of your suffering reporter’s erstwhile critics.

But at least the issue finally has been laid to rest, right? Truman’s anti-Semitism is no longer in dispute, correct? His outbursts against Jews no longer have any news value, do they? The answers might seem obvious to Jewish Press readers, but not necessarily to those souls who look for their Jewish news solely in the pages of the New York Jewish Week, which came a little late to this particular party.

In its July 13 issue, two months after publication of Presidential Courage, the Jewish Week’s Washington correspondent, in tones suggesting this was all an unpleasant revelation to him, first got around to reporting the juicier details about Truman found in Beschloss’s book, including, first and foremost, the shocking Susskind/Truman story.

Something tells the Monitor such tardiness would not have been the case had Truman been a Republican.

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.


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.

No Responses to “Vindication, Late But Sweet”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A search team in the Jerusalem Forest looking for Aharon Sofer
Body Found in Jerusalem Forest Being Examined On Site by Abu Kabir Experts
Latest Indepth Stories
naqba day unrwa

Responsibility lies with both the UN and Hamas, and better commitments should have been demanded from both parties in the ceasefire.

Eisenstock-082914

But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.

MK Moshe-Feiglin

If this is how we play the game, we will lose. By that I mean we will lose everything.

Reportedly, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have formed a bloc that seeks to counter Islamist influence in the Middle East.

One wonders how the IDF could be expected to so quickly determine the facts.

While there is no formula that will work for everyone, there are some strategies that if followed carefully and consistently can help our children – and us – gain the most from the upcoming school year.

We risk our lives to help those who do what they can to kill to our people .

Twain grasped amazingly well the pulse of the Jewish people.

The entertainment industry appears divided about the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Israelis in Gaza border communities need to get out; who will help them?

The contrast between the mentality of Israel and the mentality of Hamas was never so loudly expressed as when the Arab killers became heroes and the Jewish killers became prisoners.

There is a threat today representing a new category of missionary:They call themselves “Hayovel.”

Just as we would never grant legitimacy to ISIS, we should not grant legitimacy to Hamas.

Is Woodstock still leading the world to destruction?

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Charles Krauthammer

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

Presidential-Seal-062014

These are not necessarily the best all-around biographies or studies of the individual presidents listed (though some rank right up there), but the strongest in terms of exploring presidential attitudes and policies toward Israel.

The Clintonan “engagement” liberals remember with such fondness did nothing but embolden Arafat and Hamas and Hizbullah as they witnessed Israel’s only real ally elevate process ahead of policy.

What really makes one wonder about the affinity felt by certain Jews for Grant was the welcome mat he put out for some of the country’s most pernicious anti-Semites.

With 2013 marking half a century since Kennedy’s fateful limousine ride in Dallas, the current revels are exceeding the revisionist frenzies of years past, with a seemingly endless parade of books, articles and television specials designed to assure us that, despite everything that has come to light about him since his death, JFK was a great president, or at least a very good president who would have been great had his life not been so cruelly cut short.

As someone who for the past fifteen years has been writing a column that largely focuses on the news media, I’ve read what is no doubt an altogether unhealthy number of books on the subject. Most of them were instantly forgettable while some created a brief buzz but failed to pass the test of time. And then there were those select few that merited a permanent spot on the bookshelf.

George W. Bush has been getting some positive media coverage lately, with recent polls showing him at least as popular as his successor, Barack Obama, and a big new book about the Bush presidency by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker (Days of Fire, Doubleday) portraying Bush as a much more hands-on chief executive than his detractors ever imagined.

Readers who’ve stuck with the Monitor over the years will forgive this rerun of sorts, but as we approach the fortieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War – and with the stench of presidential indecisiveness hanging so heavily over Washington these days – it seemed only appropriate to revisit Richard Nixon’s role in enabling Israel to recover from the staggering setbacks it suffered in the first week of fighting.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/vindication-late-but-sweet/2007/08/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: