Daily Israel Report

Pres. Truman On the Jews

The Washington Post reported today (Friday) that US President Harry S. Truman, generally regarded as having been supportive of Jewish aspirations in Israel, as well as concerned to relieve the suffering of Jewish refugees in post-WWII Europe, had some very unkind thoughts about Jews.
First Publish: 7/11/2003, 2:31 PM

This according to a Truman diary only recently, and serendipitously, discovered on the shelves of the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, reports the Post.

"The Jews, I find are very, very selfish," Truman wrote in a 1947 diary entry. "They care not how many Estonians, Latvians, Finns, Poles, Yugoslavs or Greeks get murdered or mistreated as D[isplaced] P[ersons] as long as the Jews get special treatment. Yet when they have power, physical, financial or political neither Hitler nor Stalin has anything on them for cruelty or mistreatment to the under dog. Put an underdog on top and it makes no difference whether his name is Russian, Jewish, Negro, Management, Labor, Mormon, Baptist he goes haywire. I've found very, very few who remember their past condition when prosperity comes." After a conversation with Treasury Secretary Henry Morganthau, a Jew, about a ship carrying Jewish refugees to pre-state Israel, Truman wrote, "He’d no business, whatever to call me. The Jews have no sense of proportion nor do they have any judgement on world affairs. Henry brought a thousand Jews to New York on a supposedly temporary basis and they stayed."

The Washington Post reports the reaction of Sara J. Bloomfield, director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum: "Wow! It did surprise me because of what I know about Truman's record, Truman's sympathy for the plight of Jews was very apparent." But, Bloomfield told the Post, Truman’s comments were "typical of a sort of cultural anti-Semitism that was common at that time in all parts of American society. This was an acceptable way to talk."