|USS Liberty attacked by "Israel": President Lyndon Johnson was noted as saying: “I don’t give a damn if every man drowns and the ship sinks. I don’t want to embarrass our [Zionist] allies.”|
Lyndon Johnson was a high-level Zionist who had been involved for decades with the Jewish Freemasonic organization, the International Order of the B'nai B'rith, in the illegal immigration of Jews from Poland to Galveston. The smuggling operation of Jews to Texas in which LBJ was involved from 1937 is known as "Operation Texas".
The Zionists, of course, have bragging rights to LBJ as a powerful US traitor on their behalf. Unfortunate for Americans we didn't get to hang him. And the others just like him.
Lyndon Johnson -- A Friend in Deed
The Associated Press reported that newly released tapes from US president Lyndon Johnson's White
House office showed LBJ's "personal and often emotional connection to Israel." The news agency pointed out that during the Johnson presidency (1963-1969), "the United States became Israel's chief diplomatic ally and primary arms supplier."
But the news report does little to reveal the full historical extent of Johnson's actions on behalf of the [European] Jewish people and the State of Israel. Most students of the Arab-Israeli conflict can identify Johnson as the president during the 1967 war. But few know about LBJ's actions to rescue hundreds of endangered Jews during the Holocaust - actions that could have thrown him out of Congress and into jail. Indeed, the title of "Righteous Gentile" is certainly appropriate in the case of the Texan, whose centennial year is being commemorated this year.
A key resource for uncovering LBJ's pro-Jewish activity is the unpublished 1989 doctoral thesis by University of Texas student Louis Gomolak, "Prologue: LBJ's Foreign Affairs Background, 1908-1948." Johnson's activities were confirmed by other historians in interviews with his wife, family members and political associates.
Research into Johnson's personal history indicates that he inherited his concern for the [Zionist] Jewish people from his family. His aunt Jessie Johnson Hatcher, a major influence on LBJ, was a member of the Zionist Organization of America. According to Gomolak, Aunt Jessie had nurtured LBJ's commitment to befriending [Zionist] Jews for 50 years.
As a young boy, Lyndon watched his politically active grandfather "Big Sam" and father "Little Sam" seek clemency for Leo Frank, the Jewish victim of a blood libel in Atlanta. Frank was lynched by a mob in 1915, and the Ku Klux Klan in Texas threatened to kill the Johnsons. The Johnsons later told friends that Lyndon's family hid in their cellar while his father and uncles stood guard with shotguns on their porch in case of KKK attacks. Johnson's speechwriter later stated, "Johnson often cited Leo Frank's lynching as the source of his opposition to both "anti-Semitism" and isolationism."
FIVE DAYS after taking office in 1937, LBJ broke with the "Dixiecrats" and supported an immigration bill that would naturalize illegal aliens, mostly Jews from Lithuania and Poland.
One source cited by the historian reports that "Johnson and a [Zionist] Jewish ally had been secretly shipping heavy crates labeled 'Texas Grapefruit' - but containing arms - to Jewish underground 'freedom fighters' in Palestine."
According to historian James M. Smallwood, Congressman Johnson used legal and sometimes illegal methods to smuggle "hundreds of Jews into Texas, using Galveston as the entry port. Enough money could buy false passports and fake visas in Cuba, Mexico and other Latin American countries.... Johnson smuggled boatloads and planeloads of Jews into Texas. He hid them in the Texas National Youth Administration... Johnson saved at least four or five hundred Jews, possibly more."
During World War II Johnson joined Novy [LBJ's Zionist ally] at a small Austin gathering to sell $65,000 in war bonds. According to Gomolak, Novy and Johnson then raised a very "substantial sum for arms for [Zionist] Jewish underground fighters in Palestine." One source cited by the historian reports that "Novy and Johnson had been secretly shipping heavy crates labeled 'Texas Grapefruit' - but containing arms - to [Zionist] Jewish underground 'freedom fighters' in Palestine."
While serving in the Senate, Johnson blocked the Eisenhower administration's attempts to apply sanctions against Israel following the 1956 Sinai Campaign. "The indefatigable Johnson had never ceased pressure on the administration," wrote I.L. "Si" Kenen, the head of AIPAC at the time.
As Senate majority leader, Johnson consistently blocked the anti-Israel initiatives of his fellow Democrat, William Fulbright, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Among Johnson's closest advisers during this period were several strong pro-Israel advocates, including Benjamin Cohen (who 30 years earlier was the liaison between Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis and Chaim Weizmann) and Abe Fortas, the legendary Washington "insider."
Johnson's concern for the Jewish people continued through his presidency.
Robert David Johnson, a professor of history at Brooklyn College, recently wrote in The New York Sun, "Johnson's policies stemmed more from personal concerns - his friendship with leading Zionists, his belief that America had a moral obligation to bolster Israeli security and his conception of Israel as a frontier land much like his home state of Texas. His personal concerns led him to intervene when he felt that the State or Defense departments had insufficiently appreciated Israel's diplomatic or military needs."
President Johnson firmly pointed American policy in a pro-Israel direction. In a historical context, the American emergency airlift to Israel in 1973, the constant diplomatic support, the economic and military assistance and the strategic bonds between the two countries can all be credited to the seeds planted by LBJ.
Historian Louis Gomolak suggested that Johnson broke the law to gets Jews into the US. In Prologue: LBJ's Foreign Affairs Background, 1908-1948, he states, "...[D]espite an all-out effort to stop Jewish immigration by Roosevelt's new anti-Semitic assistant secretary of state, Breckinridge Long, Congressman Lyndon B. Johnson secretly began smuggling European Jews into Texas, say dozens of members of the Austin Jewish Community. False passports and one-way visas were obtainable - for a price - first in Cuba, and when that source dried up then in Mexico."
Historian Robert Dallek (Lone Star Rising, Lyndon Johnson and His Times 1908-1960) repeated the claim that LBJ broke the law. "Early in 1940", Dallek wrote, "...Lyndon and the others helped Jews get false passports and one-way visas in Latin America and then brought them to National Youth Administration training camps in Texas. Because it was illegal to house and train noncitizens at the camps, Operation Texas, as the rescue effort was called, was kept a strict secret for over 20 years."
Incidentally, the Texas NYA vocational camps, part of Roosevelt's New Deal program, were run by LBJ between 1935-1937, before he ran for Congress.
Historian James Smallwood admitted to me, "It is correct that Johnson did not risk his life, but he committed illegal acts to save the [European] Jews. It can be proved that LBJ saved some 42 from the Nazis. Indirect evidence says he probably saved about 400. From my research, I agree with the larger number. However, there are problems, since much of what went on was illegal and Johnson knew better than to leave a paper trail."
Most politicians cover up their illegal deeds lest they get caught and receive public condemnation. Ironically, LBJ's discretion may actually prevent the public commendation and history's approbation that he deserves.