Howie Carr: Democrats, the Kennedys, and Antisemitism

Senator John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963, left) at his home in Georgetown, Massachusetts, with his brother Robert (1925 - 1968), 1955. A painting by John Kennedy hangs on the wall behind him. (Photo by )
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Perhaps you’ve heard — Democrats and their media allies are denouncing Stephen K. Bannon, the former Breitbart chairman whom President-elect Donald Trump has selected as one of his top White House aides.

They are shocked, shocked, the Democrats claim. They charge, without evidence, that Bannon is a “white nationalist,” an anti-Semite.

The Democrats stamp their little feet and huff and puff that they would never, ever tolerate anti-Semitism of any sort.

Once again, they are suffering a convenient memory loss.

Have they ever heard of Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy, the father of the late president? Or, for that matter, another of Joe’s sons, the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy?

Bobby Kennedy, by the way, was appointed attorney general by his brother at the age of 34, with next to no experience. Bobby’s brother, the president, was embarrassed by the obvious nepotism, but their father had ordered Jack to do it. And even as president-elect, JFK took orders from his father, the most notorious anti-Semite in American political history.

Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, is a year older than Bobby was, and has much more real-world experience. Trump hiring Kushner, the Democrats say, would be the rankest sort of nepotism. JFK hiring RFK on orders from his bigot father – nothing to see here folks, move along.

In Democrat mythology, the First Family is now made up of all crusading liberals, guardians of the PC orthodoxy. The surviving Kennedys even give out a prize every spring to someone who has that year most slavishly towed the Politically Correct line.

It is called the Profiles in Courage Award.

Considering the background of the family that sponsors it, the prize might more accurately be called the Profiles in Anti-Semitism, Racism and Homophobia Award.

The Kennedys are – or should – be an embarrassment to the Democrat party for many reasons, most of which involve the old admonition that parties that live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

Racism? How about President John F. Kennedy’s consorting – and partying with — some of the worst political racists of the 20th century, including his best friend in Congress, Sen. George Smathers, a charter member of JFK’s pussy posse?

Then there was JFK’s alliance with Gov. John Patterson of Alabama, who in 1958 ran to the segregationist right of George Wallace, and won. (Afterwards, Wallace vowed that he would never be “outniggered” again. He wasn’t. Rep. Keith Ellison, the potential next DNC chair, has claimed on TV that Wallace was a Republican. He wasn’t.)

Patterson was such an unrepentant racist that Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in major league baseball, endorsed Richard M. Nixon in 1960. Robinson was subsequently shunned in polite society. The more things change….

Sexism? For decades the Kennedys have been targeting women. Their behavior would indicate that even if women have a right to choose whether or not to have abortions, the Kennedy men believe their dates have no such right to decide whether or not they want to have sex with them.

Then there’s religious bigotry. In 1994, Sen. Ted Kennedy was challenged for reelection by Mitt Romney. The Kennedys, chiefly then-Cong. Joseph P. Kennedy II, crippler of a young woman on Nantucket in 1973, unleashed a torrent of anti-Mormon vitriol against Romney.

The attacks were so vicious, and so false, that even the Kennedy family house organ, the Boston Globe, as well as the Archdiocese of Boston’s newspaper, demanded that the Kennedys cease and desist.

They finally did, but only after fatally damaging Mitt’s campaign.

Finally, the question of anti-Semitism, much on the minds of shocked Democrats these days, or so they claim. Joe Kennedy, the family patriarch, set the pace for the rest of his family to follow, but he affectionately described his third son Bobby as a “hater” as well.

Bobby detested gays as well as Jews. He made endless jokes about J. Edgar Hoover, the gay FBI director. Told that Hoover’s gay lover Clyde Tolson was having minor surgery, Bobby quipped, “What, a hysterectomy?”

Bobby also used to joke that ambitious G-men often named their new sons “Edgar.” If an agent’s wife gave birth to a daughter, Bobby said, the agent would name her “Clyde.”

At a party before the March on Washington in 1963, Bobby asked a white woman of his acquaintance why she wanted to march with a “black queer” – referring to Dr. Martin Luther King’s top aide, Bayard Rustin.

In 1962, before his brother’s famous 46th birthday party at Madison Square Garden, Bobby called the head of 20th Century Fox to ask permission for Marilyn Monroe, the girlfriend of both brothers, to leave the set of her new movie to fly east to croon “Happy Birthday” to the president. When the mogul balked, citing the fact that the picture was already behind schedule, Bobby began screaming, calling him a “Jew bastard.”

Another time in the White House, attorney general Bobby ran into Dr. Max Jacobson, a/k/a “Dr. Feelgood,” whose drug cocktails both JFK and First Lady Jackie had become seriously addicted to. Jacobson, who was Jewish, was making a delivery of his dangerous contraband with another Jewish friend when Bobby spotted them.

“Get out of here and go back to New York, you kikes!” RFK bellowed, according to Dr. Feelgood’s biographer.

During the 1960 primary in Wisconsin, Bobby became so angry at a Jewish CBS radio reporter that, in front of a number of witnesses, he loudly heckled him as a “Stevenson Jew,” as in Adlai Stevenson.

Joe Kennedy built the family fortune in a myriad of speculative enterprises, some legal, others not so much. To avoid the higher tax burdens of New York and Massachusetts, he mostly lived in Palm Beach, where until the 1960s blacks were forbidden by law to own property.

He was not a nice person, to put it mildly, but Joe particularly despised Jews.

“As a race they stink,” he told one of his aides while serving as FDR’s ambassador to the Court of St. James before World War II.

Many of Joe’s most rabid anti-Semitic (and anti-black) rants are included in a 2001 compilation of his letters and diaries edited by his own granddaughter, Amanda Smith.

In the book, “Hostage to Fortune: The Letters of Joseph P. Kennedy,” he referred to then-Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter as a “Jew chiseler.” Kennedy believed Jews controlled both the New Deal and the media, and were blocking his path to national office. On page after page of his diary, he obsessively listed the Jewish ties of FDR’s top aides:

“A Jew wife and 2 Jew children… a Jew wife… a Jew… a Jew mother… wife was a Jew… wife is a Jew… all Jews….”

No wonder then that in diplomatic papers found in Berlin after World War II, the Nazi ambassador to the United Kingdom described Joe in glowing terms, cabling on June 13, 1938, “From his whole personality, I believe he would get on well with the Fuhrer.”

Before joining the New Deal, Joe Kennedy made millions as one of the few non-Jewish producers in Hollywood. He described his show-biz colleagues as “pants pressers.” When a Paramount Pictures executive stopped him from taking over the studio, Joe screamed, “I’ll get that dirty Jew son of a bitch if it’s the last thing I do!”

When FDR appointed Joe ambassador to Great Britain in 1938, he quickly fell in with the pro-appeasement, pro-Nazi clique in London known as “the Cliveden set.“ It was presided over by Lady Astor, who in 1919 had been elected the female Member of Parliament. She described Jews as “killers of Christ.” She and Ambassador Kennedy got along famously.

Kennedy brought his family with him to Europe. His oldest son, Joe, Jr., was particularly impressed with Nazi Germany, especially the “Heil Hitler!” salute.

“I’m sure if I was a German,” wrote Joe, who was killed in combat in August 1944, “I would expend that slight effort which is required to raise my arm.”

In 1940, Joe gave an interview in Boston to several reporters in which he said that “democracy is finished” in England. Most of the reporters didn’t use the incendiary statement, but one did. It caused a worldwide sensation, and it was the last straw for FDR.

Kennedy never returned to London. Instead, he plunged back into business. His next great coup was buying the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. As he bragged to his mistress, who was 32 years his junior, “This is the kind of deal that Jews usually get. But I got it!”

With FDR obviously near death in 1945, Joe dreamed of a return to national politics: “Truman will be president and will kick out all these incompetents and Jews out of government and ask fellows like myself and others to come back and run the government.”

By now, Joe used the words “Jews” and “Communists” interchangeably. And in April, he got his wish. FDR died in Warm Springs. He was still awaiting the call from Harry S Truman on May 1 when he exultantly wrote to his oldest daughter Kick:

“The Jews are crying that they’ve lost their greatest benefactor.”

Still, Truman had no interest in bringing Joe Kennedy into his new administration. He told confidants he considered Kennedy “the biggest crook in the country.” As the years went by, Truman never took a shine to young Jack Kennedy either.

In 1960, the ex-president initially balked at endorsing JFK for president. His friends asked Truman (rumored, like many Democrats, to be a former member of the Ku Klux Klan) if it was Sen. Kennedy’s Catholicism that made him so unappealing to Truman.

“It’s not the Pope,” HST replied. “It’s the pop.”

Joe micromanaged JFK’s political career, electing him first to the U.S. House in 1946 and then to the Senate in 1952. In between, however, those Nazi diplomatic documents had surfaced, confirming for many what they had suspected – that Joe was, as LBJ would later put it in the 1960 campaign, “an umbrella man for Hitler.”

During the 1952 Senate campaign in Massachusetts, the Kennedys brought in an old New Dealer to woo the state’s Jewish voters, who were quite understandably appalled by Joe. The new aide tried to draft a statement in which JFK would denounce both Communism and Sen. Joe McCarthy, not knowing that McCarthy was so close to the Kennedys that he was the godfather of Bobby’s first child.

Joe Kennedy began screaming at the New Dealer:

“You and your sheeny friends are trying to destroy my son!”

But JFK won, and by 1959 was preparing to run for president, in yet another campaign that would be overseen by his father. As an old bootlegger from Prohibition, Joe knew and had done business with many other gangsters over the years.

But now, as he prepared to steal the 1960 presidential election for his son with the help of organized crime, Joe needed a layer of insulation, a cut out as it were. For this important role of intermediary to the underworld he picked Frank Sinatra, who likewise knew and hobnobbed with many of Joe’s old Mob associates.

Joe flew to meet the Chairman of the Board in Palm Springs, a memorable weekend later recounted by Sinatra’s black valet, George Jacobs, in his book, Mr. S.

Sinatra had always looked up to Joe Kennedy – he idolized all hoodlums, after all, even non-Italians. So Sinatra flew in five high-priced hookers from Vegas for Joe’s pleasure, one of whom Jacobs claimed was JFK’s future girlfriend, Judith Campbell. But that didn’t stop Joe from unleashing a torrent of abuse on everyone in the Sinatra household.

“He not only told nigger jokes throughout the meals, he’d call the Indians ‘savages’ and the blacks ‘Sambos’ and curse the hell out of anyone who served him from the wrong side or put one ice cube too many in his Jack Daniel’s. ‘Can’t you get any white help?’ he’d needle Mr. S.”

But Joe Kennedy reserved his worst opprobrium for his former colleagues, the Jewish movie moguls in Hollywood.

“To him,” Jacobs wrote, “they were sheeny rag traders. He referred to the august Louis B. Mayer as a ‘kike junkman.’ The Jewish jokes didn’t stop. The worst one I can recall: ‘What’s the difference between a Jew and a pizza? The pizza doesn’t cry on its way to the oven.’”

Even Sinatra was appalled, but he worked hard for his fellow Democrat. He raised money, recorded campaign songs and cajoled the Mafia, especially the Chicago Outfit, whose vote stealing would eventually put JFK into office. But during the course of the 1960 campaign, there was the occasional hiccup.

At one point, after it had become well known that Sinatra was a Kennedy campaign operative, the show-biz trades reported that he had picked up an option on a book. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was that as the screenwriter for his next film, Sinatra had hired one of the Hollywood Ten – a Communist blacklisted for refusing to testify before a Congressional committee. Even worse: the screenwriter was Jewish.

Sinatra took out ads in the trades defending the screenwriter and himself. That was when Joe Kennedy called.

“What is this commie Jew shit?” Joe Kennedy screamed. Sinatra meekly fired the screenwriter and paid him $75,000 for his troubles.

And yet the mainstream media and the Democrat party of the Kennedys say, with no evidence, that Stephen K. Bannon is anti-Semitic and unfit to serve in government, and that it would be nepotism for Donald Trump to add his son-in-law Jared Kushner to his administration.

Tell that to the Kennedys – Joe and his son Bobby.

Howie Carr is a syndicated radio talk show host in Boston who has written two New York Times bestsellers, The Brothers Bulger and Hitman. Carr’s latest novel, Killers, is now available in paperbackThis story is condensed from his book, Kennedy Babylon: A Century of Scandal and Depravity, which will be published next year. Follow him on Twitter @howiecarrshow and listen to his daily radio show at


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