Henry Kissinger and Pres. R. Nixon
Henry Kissinger and Pres. R. NixonIsrael news photo montage

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has apologized to the American public – and ostensibly, the Jewish world – for saying the issue of Jews in gas chambers was “not an American concern.”

The remark was made in context of a conversation with then-President Richard M. Nixon over the policy of  whether or not to advocate  for the release of Jews from the Soviet Union.

During the conversation, which was recorded, Kissinger could be heard saying that “the emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy. And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.”

The remark, when made public from the Nixon library files last week, sparked outrage throughout the Jewish world, as well as among many Christian communities as well.

Kissinger contended in an opinion article Friday in the Washington Post that the remark was taken out of context. He argued that the Nixon administration under which he worked had helped Jews to emigrate from the Soviet Union.

Moreover, he wrote, since he himself had lost so many members of his immediate family and others with whom he grew up, it was “hurtful to see an out-of-context remark being taken so contrary to its intentions and to my convictions, which were profoundly shaped by these events.”