Forty years ago, at the height of the 1972 presidential campaign, ambassador Yitzhak Rabin [Abba Eban is shown between him and Nixon] lavishly praised the Nixon administration’s steadfast support for Israel and then told his Israeli interviewer: “While we appreciate support in the form of words from one camp, we must prefer support in the form of deeds that we are getting from the other camp.”
The next day, in an editorial entitled “Israel’s Undiplomatic Diplomat," the Washington Post blasted Rabin for intervening in the U.S. elections on behalf of President Richard Nixon and against Democratic candidate George McGovern. But Prime Minister Golda Meir stood by her man in Washington, and Rabin himself was unrepentant. In fact, the minor brouhaha that followed his remark may have actually contributed a few percentage points to the respectable 35 percent of the Jewish vote that Nixon garnered in the November elections. And Nixon’s gratitude, for all we know, may have played some subconscious role in his 1973 decision to send an emergency airlift of supplies and ammunition during the Yom Kippur War.