February 19-20, 2014 — Allen Dulles rejected anti-Zionist group’s requests
A series of documents uncovered from declassified CIA archives reveal that CIA director Allen Dulles rejected speaking before or issuing a statement to an anti-Zionist group called the American Council for Judaism.
Although Dulles maintained close links between the wartime Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and the Gestapo during World War II, he helped expose “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” as a forgery to The Times of London and New York Times while serving at the U.S. embassy in Istanbul in 1921. Dulles also saw the establishment of a Zionist state in the Middle East as a natural outgrowth of the Balfour Declaration and the post-World War I Treaty of Versailles. During his time in Istanbul, Dulles became a close acquaintance of Chaim Weizmann, the father of modern Zionism.
When it came to issuing a statement for the American Council on Judaism conference in Houston in March 1958, Dulles made his position on the group’s goals clear. In a latter to the group’s executive director Leonard Sussman, Dulles’s executive officer at the CIA wrote, “In view of the nature of Mr. Dulles’ position in the intelligence community, he regrets that he is not able to furnish you with a statement.” In a February 4, 1958 briefing memo, Stanley J. Grogan, Dulles’s assistant, wrote “This is a very delicate matter which involves a religious faith and a political movement, both things to be avoided by the Director.”
What alarmed Dulles and his staff was Sussman’s statement in his letter that “We believe our program takes on particular interest this year, because of a growing recognition on the part of thoughtful people everywhere, of the need for distinguishing between Judaism (a religious faith) and Zionism (a worldwide political movement). This need, first emphasized by us fifteen years ago, is increasingly referred to by informed observers as one of the fundamentals underlying the Arab-Israeli crisis in the Middle East, a crisis threatening the peace of the world.”
In 1960, Dulles’s staff again rejected an invitation by the American Council for judaism for Dulles to issue a statement to the group’s meeting in Denver. The CIA’s executive officer responded to Sussman by stating, “In view of the nature of Mr. Dulles’ official position, he has followed a firm policy of declining participation in non-governmental activities.”
It is noteworthy that Dulles avoided the appearance of speaking to religious and political groups involved with Middle East policy while today, U.S. leaders, including military and intelligence officials, routinely appear before such groups as the American israel Public Affairs Committee and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith.
The American Council on Judaism continues to exist and it remains one of the leading Jewish voices opposed to Zionism. However, American political leaders continue to follow Dulles’s footsteps in eschewing the organization’s events.