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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

FW: [Israel-Commentary] James Baker III as per Mayor Ed Koch - REVELATIONS ON JAMES BAKER

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 2:01 AM
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Subject: [Israel-Commentary] James Baker III as per Mayor Ed Koch


Neglected information and opinion relative to Israel, the Middle East and the immediate world.

March 11, 2008

James Baker III as per Mayor Ed Koch

Redacted from an article by Rafael Medoff

The Jewish Press, February 29, 2008

Although Ed Koch has not held elected office for nearly two decades, the feisty former mayor of New York City remains a powerful force in American politics and in the American Jewish community.



March 11, 2008

James Baker III as per Mayor Ed Koch

Redacted from an article by Rafael Medoff

The Jewish Press, February 29, 2008

Although Ed Koch has not held elected office for nearly two decades, the feisty former mayor of New York City remains a powerful force in American politics and in the American Jewish community. Reporters still ask for his comments on the latest news developments, and candidates for office still seek his endorsement. Now Koch has a new book out — and it contains a stunning revelation that may ignite a second round of his now-famous clash with James Baker. Round One of Koch vs. Baker exploded across headlines around the world in March 1992, when Koch revealed, in his New York Post column, that then-Secretary of State Baker had made an obscene remark about American Jews.

Koch reported that during a White House meeting, one participant mentioned something to Baker about growing Jewish concern over his unfriendliness toward Israel. According to Koch, Baker replied: "[Expletive] 'em. They [the Jews] didn't vote for us." Baker's ugly statement had been quoted to Koch by someone who was present at the meeting. Not surprisingly, Koch could not divulge the identity of his source. That put him at a considerable disadvantage when Baker vehemently denied the allegation and State Department spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler called Koch's expose "garbage."

Now Koch is setting them straight. In his new book, The Koch Papers: My Fight Against Anti-Semitism, on which he and I collaborated, Koch reveals for the first time the name of his source: Jack Kemp, who at the time was serving as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Not only was Secretary Kemp an unimpeachable source, but Baker's statement was consistent with his record concerning Jews and Israel, reaching all the way back to his 1952 senior thesis at Princeton University. In his thesis, young Baker defended the 1940's anti-Zionist policies of British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin. In a foreshadowing of his 1992 attack on American Jewish voters, Baker at Princeton lambasted "the irrational and extreme behavior of American Zionists [in the 1940's]" and dismissed U.S. support for Jewish statehood in 1947 as nothing more than a case of "the vote-conscious American Government backing its Zionists."

In more recent years, Baker reportedly referred to pro-Israel members of Congress as "the little Knesset," according to the Los Angeles Times. The late David Bar-Ilan, who at the time was one of the editors of the Jerusalem Post, reported in Maariv in 1992 that Baker once remarked, "Jews remember the Holocaust but they forget insults as soon as they smell cash."

Koch, for one, has not forgotten either Baker's insults or his policies. The Koch Papers reminds us that U.S. Mid-East policy when Baker was secretary of state was consistently unfriendly to Israel, from pressuring the Jewish state to refrain from defending itself against Iraqi missile attacks to withholding U.S. loan guarantees for the absorption of Soviet Jewish immigrants.

A fresh reminder of the Baker days was provided just last month, when Japan's largest newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun, revealed that in 1991, when Baker was secretary of state, Israel was preparing to strike at a North Korean ship smuggling Scud missiles to Syria "but canceled it at the eleventh hour under U.S. pressure."

One wonders how Baker would have responded if he were secretary of state during Israel's recent strike on an apparent Syrian nuclear facility developed with North Korea. In The Koch Papers, which will be published this week by Palgrave MacMillan, Mayor Koch and I bring together many of his previously unpublished memoranda and speeches on anti-Semitism, the Holocaust, and Israel, as well as some of his most powerful columns from the New York Post and other periodicals. The book also features a number of articles on which he and I have collaborated in recent years, including a lengthy essay on anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism that we wrote exclusively for this volume.

The Baker-Kemp revelation is perhaps the book's most explosive element, in view of media reports that Baker could be a candidate for a senior position in a future administration. Can Baker's hopes for a new government post survive Koch's revelation about the 1992 remark? That remains to be seen.

In the meantime, Baker is not the only Koch nemesis who could end up in a position to influence U.S. policy toward Israel. Also in the running, it appears, is Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served as President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser. Years, before Baker's hostile remark about American Jews, Brzezinski, then an adviser to candidate Carter, was reported (by Marvin Kalb) to have said to an Israeli official, "How will you like the idea of working with a new president who owes nothing to the Jews?"

In March 1980, Koch caused a major controversy when he criticized Brzezinski and three other top Carter Mid-East advisers as a "Gang of Four" who were trying to turn the U.S. against Israel. (The reference was to a group of Chinese leaders who had been pushed out of power by their rivals.)
During his years in the Carter administration, Brzezinski did indeed push for a tilt against
Israel, as he acknowledged later in his memoirs of that period. More recently, he and several colleagues issued a statement urging the U.S. and its allies to engage in "a genuine dialogue" with Hamas. Brzezinski has endorsed Senator Barack Obama for president and reportedly is part of Obama's circle of foreign advisors.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:29 PM | Comments (0)


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