‘We’ll Lose Some Israeli Votes,’ Nixon Said. ‘But We Kept American Boys Out’

When Israel invaded Egypt 65 years ago, President Eisenhower, up for reelection that week, offered an exceptionally tough response. ‘We will handle our affairs,’ he told a friend, ‘as though we didn’t have a Jew in America’

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Then-President Dwight Eisenhower delivering his first State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress in Washington, in February 1953.
Eisenhower delivering his first State of the Union Address, with Nixon seated behind him
Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon

Richard Nixon, then the vice president of the United States, was in Detroit on the morning of October 31, 1956, when his staff connected him by phone with Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. The main subject was the crisis in the Middle East, where 48 hours earlier Israel had invaded Egypt and taken over the Sinai Peninsula, surprising America and shocking the world. Nixon asked the secretary to update him on the latest developments and the administration’s response.

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