Returning and Redemption
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Bernard M. Baruch
597 Madison Avenue
New York 22. N.Y.
Kingstree, South Carolina
December 31, 1953
Rabbi Harold A. Friedman
Temple Hesed Abraham
150 Hall Avenue
Jamestown, New York
My dear Rabbi Friedman-
Yours of December 22nd was indeed a moving letter. You must be aware, of course, that I have been deeply interested in the subject matter. Many years ago, I joined with Justice Brandeis in buying lands in Palestine. In an address in the early part of World War II at an Al Smith Memorial Dinner, I criticized very sharply both the American and the British Governments for their actions towards Israel, so much so that Senator Lehman took me to task for my criticism of the American Government.
I am not interested in politics. I have been taught and feel very deeply for peoples, no matter what the race, color or creed may be. I also severely criticized Ernest Bevin, who was very anti-semitic. My close friend, Winston Churchill, has been most friendly to the new State. He has admired, as who has not, that great spiritual movement and the courage of the people who have taken part in it. When President Truman refused to take part in a United Jewish Appeal, I substituted for him. At that time, it was the largest sum of money that was received. Of course, I have been a contributor to it over the years.
In 1946 because of my contacts with some of the Arab countries, particularly the Egyptian, I called the attention of our Government and the British Government to what was taking place in the Far East, but the situation was allowed to drift until we have the present impasse.
I have been in touch with Mr. Eban and his predecessor here. I feel that President Eisenhower and Mr. Dulles both are doing all they can in the circumstances. I  am unable to do anything more than those things to which I am already obligated. Of course, the success of Israel, if she remains a democratic state and only if she does, is very close to my heart, but I must say to you, as I say to everyone else, that America comes first. My parents taught me that, and if they had not, my own experience has taught me that this is the fairest, finest, best country in the world, and that there must be no even secondary allegiance, only a primary one to our country. I am sure, as a citizen of this country, you quite agree with me. At all times, because of our privileges here, we feel a very deep interest for the unfortunate people of the world, of whom the Jews are the most unfortunate.
So you see, my heart lies with you in my hopes and efforts. I believe our country will do the right thing. The last episode there was, I think, a mistake by the Israelis, but we must stand with them whenever and wherever we can but never, as I said, unless the best interests of America lie in that stand.
Bernard M. Baruch