Tapes of Lyndon Johnson’s Oval Office conversations, released to the public for the first time on Wednesday, reveal that the American president had a personal and often emotional connection to Israel.
“I sure as hell want to be careful and not run out on little Israel,” Johnson said in a March 1968 conversation with his ambassador to the United Nations, Arthur Goldberg. In a taped conversation from June 25, 1967, about three weeks after Israel defeated three Arab armies, Johnson relates a conversation with Soviet Premier Alexey Kosygin.
“He couldn’t understand why we’d want to support the Jews – 3 million people – when there are 100 million Arabs,” the president said.
“I told him that numbers do not determine what was right. We tried to do what was right regardless of the numbers.”