Huh. It’s interesting to see Charles Krauthammer just saying this explicitly: “Look. Harry Truman used to tell derisive Jewish jokes. Richard Nixon said nasty things about Jews in government and elsewhere. Who cares? Truman and Nixon were the two greatest friends of the Jews in the entire postwar period: Truman secured them a refuge in the state of Israel, and Nixon saved it from extinction during the Yom Kippur War.”
Well, I’m not sure any especially terrible consequences flowed from Truman’s Jewish jokes, but, um, I care about stuff like that. Being a Jewish person living in the United States of America, it would trouble me for the President of the United States to be an anti-semite. Indeed, Nixon’s anti-semitism seems to have had real consequences, being part-and-parcel of his paranoia and proclivity for witch hunts. The idea that this is all made okay because someone was nice to Israel is pretty weird. Beyond weird, of course, it’s the flipside of the theory that anyone who criticizes Israel must be an anti-semite.