web analytics
July 31, 2015 / 15 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


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. He can be contacted at jmaoz@jewishpress.com.


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.

Current Top Story
Matt Lee of the Associated Press at the State Department press briefing.
ObameDeal Exposed: It’s not ‘Secret’ from Congress but not in Writing
Latest Indepth Stories
Silhouette of "hilltop settler."

“Yesha” and Binyamin Regional Council leaders said the attack “is not the path of Jews in Judea and Samaria.”

Schwartz-073115

The occasion? The rarely performed mitzvah of pidyon peter chamor: Redemption of a firstborn donkey.

Rabbi YY Rubinstein

American leftists have a pathological self-inflicted blindness to the dangers of political Islam

Tobin-073115

Hillary should THANK Trump; By dominating the news he’s overshadowed the implosion of her campaign

Hard to remember when Jewish youth were so hostile to their heritage as they are on campuses today.

Names of the enablers of Iran’s Nuclear weapons will be added next to Hitler’s on the list of infamy

By most accounts, the one person with the political muscle to swing enough Democratic votes to override a veto is Sen. Schumer.

The next day, in a speech in New York to the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Kerry substantially upped the ante.

In Israel, the judiciary has established itself as superior to ALL other branches of the government.

The Fifteenth Day of the month of Av became a day of national rejoicing. The moment that had seemed hopeless became the moment of Redemption.

I think the melodies in our religious services have a haunting sound to them that just permeates your guts and gets into your soul. If you have any musical inclination, I think they inspire you to compose.

Cavalier analogies to the Holocaust are unacceptable, but Huckabee’s analogy was very appropriate.

Pollard was a Jewish-head-on-a-pike for all American Jews to see and to learn the explicit lesson.

If the Iran deal passes, Obama’s WH becomes world’s leading financier of terrorism against Americans

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Assemblymember Bichotte speaking in the New York State Assembly.

The bills I’m proud to have sponsored are less controversial, more responsive to yeshiva and parochial school parents, and were gaining traction in the Assembly until the negative campaign began…

Zechariah Schwarzberg, z”l

Though intimately acquainted with mankind’s darkest side, he never lost his faith&love in God or man

Some of the president’s defenders took to arguing that the overwhelming majority of German military personnel interred in Bitburg were regular Wehrmacht soldiers who died on the battlefield and likely were not involved in atrocities against civilians.

Note also the response to the speech by the top Democrats in the House and Senate, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, both of whom have been outspoken in their criticism of Netanyahu’s upcoming visit.

The New York State comptroller manages the state’s $180.7 billion pension fund, audits the spending practices of all state agencies and local governments, oversees the New York State and Local Retirement System, reviews the New York State and City budgets, and approves billions in State contracts and spending.

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

When you grow up in a home where your parents went through what my parents went through, you realize that life has to be meaningful. You have to be there for other people.

“It’s a lousy column and a dishonest one,” Halberstam wrote. “So close it. Or you will end up just as shabby as Safire.”

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: