Bobby Kennedy’s Admiration for Israel The senator’s unwavering support for the Jewish state strengthened American-Israeli ties—and ultimately led to his assassination by a Palestinian gunman BY SHALOM GOLDMAN JUNE 04, 2021
n the months between his graduation from Harvard in the spring of 1948 and his enrollment in the University of Virginia Law School in the fall of that year, Bobby Kennedy embarked on an overseas trip at the urging of his father. Through the elder Kennedy’s Boston connections, the 22-year-old aspiring attorney landed a reporting job with the Boston Post. There, Kennedy convinced his editors to let him report from the Middle East on the Arab-Israeli war.
In early June, after Israel was established and diplomatically recognized by the major powers, the articles were published in a series under the byline “Robert Kennedy, Special Writer for the Post.” In the first article, under the headline “British Hatred by Both Sides,” RFK labored mightily to present the arguments of both Arabs and Jews. “There are such well-founded arguments on either side,” Kennedy wrote, “that each side grows more and more bitter toward the other. Confidence in their right increases in proportion to the hatred and mistrust for the other side not acknowledging it.”
In the subsequent three articles, however, RFK and his Boston Post editors no longer attempted to convey an objective view of the competing claims of Jews and Arabs. As the headline on his June 4th article indicates, RFK chose a side:
The surprising thing about these Boston Post articles was not their pro-Zionist sentiments, but the fact that they had been written by Joseph P. Kennedy’s son.
To what extent did Kennedy’s pro-fascist and anti-Jewish attitudes influence his children?
Many non-Jewish members of what we might term “the creative class” were supporters of Zionism. Three that come to mind are the Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, the literary critic Edmund Wilson, and the great entertainer Frank Sinatra. But while sympathy for the idea of Israel was strong, so too was opposition to it.
In the 1940s, some Americans with political and cultural clout began organizing against the Zionist cause.
Among the most influential and strident opponents of such Jewish causes was Joseph P. Kennedy, patriarch and architect of the famed political dynasty.
Glasp is a social web highlighter that people can highlight and organize quotes and thoughts from the web, and access other like-minded people’s learning.