"The Saddest Man I Ever Knew": Ralph de Toledano and the Jewish Roots of American Conservatism.
That is certainly where Toledano has been relegated, at least until now. Except for his correspondence with the influential anticommunist crusader, Whittaker Chambers, which was published in 1997 as Notes from the Underground, no study of Toledano's life or legacy has ever been completed. Appearing as a footnote in the biographies of central conservative figures that he befriended, like Chambers and Richard M. Nixon, or cast in a supporting role in broad historical studies of the conservative movement, Toledano remains, at least in public memory and scholarship, a man who wasn't really present at creation. (4) Even though he was: at every critical juncture in the initial stages of development of American conservatism, Toledano played some part. He was an intimate confidant of Chambers, a close friend of Buckley, and a dedicated supporter and advisor of Nixon from the onset of his career. According to historian Rick Perlstein, it was Toledano's adulation of Nixon in Seeds of Treason, the bestselling book he co-authored about the Alger Hiss trial, that brought the ambitious young congressman to the attention of Dwight Eisenhower and helped secure him the vice-presidential nomination in 195z: "Ike read the book and liked the cut of the young man's jib." (5)
It is not only from the historiography of conservatism that Toledano is conspicuously missing. Despite growing up in New York and studying at Columbia University in the 1930s under the notable literary critic Lionel Trilling, Toledano, who was born in Tangier to Jewish-American parents and descended from a famed Sephardic rabbinical dynasty that dated back to medieval Spain, has been completely left out of the numerous histories of the New York Intellectuals. (6) The Washington Post obituary noted: "His political views migrated steadily rightward through the decades, a political path trodden by a number of leftist intellectuals from the 1930s and 1940s." (7) But there was nothing common about Toledano's turn to the right. If anything, he had been one of the first Jewish intellectuals to clear that unmarked path: having grown up in a middle-class liberal home and dabbled with socialist ideas in college, he had abandoned his leftist sympathies by the late 1930s, and never truly felt comfortable with either the radicalism nor liberalism of fellow New York Intellectuals, the famed group of writers, scholars, and critics who wrote for a handful of polemical magazines from the 1930s to the 1960s and redefined the American left. "I was never at home in the liberal community," Toledano wrote in his autobiography, explaining his early decision to "turn my back ideologically on Partisan Review which did not even know of my existence." As an editor at the anti-Stalinist magazine The New Leader in 1940, Toledano had already espoused staunch anticommunist ideas, to such a degree that during military service in World War II, he was dropped from a mission to Italy for being, in the Army's words, "too anticommunist." (8)
Toledano's seemingly natural embrace of conservatism decades earlier than the Jewish intellectuals who would eventually be labeled neoconservatives offers a fresh alternative narrative for historians. Rather than assuming that the New York Intellectuals split apart and gravitated to the right only in the 1960s as reaction to campus unrest, racial strife, and the Vietnam War--a disenchantment that Irving Kristol, so-called godfather of neoconservatism, described as "mugged by reality"--Toledano's experience suggests an earlier and more organic rightward trajectory that did not necessarily proceed along this course. (9) Although he too grew up, studied, and lived in New York (albeit in more comfortable socioeconomic settings), his alienation from the left was not simply a result of anticommunism or disillusionment, but betrayed an ingrained distrust of liberalism's basic tenets and an appreciation for conservatism's innate respect for religion, tradition and order--qualities he attributed to his own Sephardic roots.
Historian George Nash has associated Toledano with a group of rightwing intellectuals he called "premature Jewish conservatives" who mobilized around National Review in the mid-1950s. These included ex-radicals turned anticommunists William Schlamm, Frank Chodorov, Frank Meyer, Morrie Ryskind, Eugene Lyons, and Marvin Liebman. Although Toledano shared their ardent anticommunism, he was suigeneris in one important aspect: all others were of Ashkenazic, rather than Sephardic, heritage and effectively became conservatives who happened to be Jewish. Toledano, however, in his own mind at least, became conservative because he was Jewish and linked particular Sephardic traits to conservative ones. And while some members of this group were indifferent to their Jewish background ("I am a Jew, not that anyone cares, least of all myself," Chodorov proclaimed), and others converted to Catholicism, Toledano's understanding of his Sephardic identity retained a potent link between religion and politics that ultimately led him down the conservative road that for most Jewish intellectuals was far less taken. (10)
To rescue Toledano from the archives and establish his rightful place in the histories of American conservatism and the New York Intellectuals, this article weaves together the two separate discourses and highlights the ideological chains that bind them. As such, it makes a complementary two-part argument. First, that Toledano contributed significantly to the establishment of American conservatism in its formative stages through his influential writings, close association with seminal figures like Chambers, Nixon, and Buckley, and support for institutions that proved imperative for building the movement and mobilizing its public support. Second, I will argue that Toledano's embrace of conservatism cannot be divorced from his Sephardic background and will demonstrate how his core political beliefs can be traced to a broad set of values--rather than any specific sacramental practices--that he believed emanated from his cultural ancestry as a Sephardic Jew.
A social construct that mostly emerged in the twentieth century and crystalized after the founding of Israel, Sephardism contains multiple meanings and incorporates various experiences across time and space. A literal ethnogeographic categorization of Sephardism applies to ancestors of Jews expelled from the Iberian peninsula in the late fifteenth century who migrated around the world and settled across North Africa, Western Europe, the Balkans, Levant, Palestine, and as far as Asia and the Americas, a more inclusive definition that, in the words of the Sephardic historian Haim Toledano (no relation), "transcended regional and temporal boundaries," has come to also encompass those Jewish communities that have embraced the migrants' culture and liturgy. "Sephardism can't be defined geographically, ethnically or linguistically," Haim Toledano claimed, "The only valid definition is a cultural one." (11) For Ralph de Toledano, Sephardism seems to have been an amalgamation of both the ethnogeographical and the cultural: although memories of Spain, and then Morocco, where his ancestors migrated, deeply informed his self-constructed identity as an immigrant and a Jew, it was the system of values, traditions, and beliefs he romantically (and not necessarily accurately) associated with that Sephardic legacy that helped shape his conservative vision. By suggesting that Sephardic Judaism, at least for Toledano, was constitutive of his conservatism, this article not only asks us to rethink his forgotten place among the founding generation of conservatives, but raises the possibility of a far more bifurcated and contentious narrative regarding the New York Intellectuals that challenges longstanding assumptions about the political sensibilities of American Jews.
I. The Forgotten Conservative
If anticommunism was indeed a foundational moment for modern conservatism that unified its competing ideological factions of libertarianism and traditionalism, as scholars have long maintained, then it is germane that two seminal books with which Toledano was closely associated--Seeds of Treason (1950) and Witness (1952)--helped birth this political moment. (12) Having written the first and edited versions of the second, Toledano didn't merely disseminate anticommunist ideas that were already in circulation, he legitimized conspiratorial beliefs about treason that pervaded the public consciousness and created the conditions for mass hysteria that facilitated McCarthyism. The event that animated these books was the trial of New Deal bureaucrat turned senior diplomat Alger Hiss. From the moment Chambers, the ex-communist editor at Time magazine, accused Hiss of having been a Soviet agent, in testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1948, through the sensational coverage of Hiss's trials, the revelations of the "Pumpkin Papers" in Chambers's Maryland farm, and finally to Hiss's indictment for perjury and imprisonment in 1950, the case captivated America. "The bare facts of this case, however, cannot begin to suggest its enduring effect on the post-1945 conservative intellectual renascence," George Nash averred. "As much as any other event, the Hiss case forged the anti-Communist element in resurgent conservatism." (13)
Toledano's Seeds of Treason (SOT), co-written with the journalist Victor Lasky, was a powerful indictment of the American left and played an important role in conservative resurgence. (14) Hurried to press two months after Hiss was sent to prison in 1950, SOT was serialized in Reader's Digest--the country's largest circulating magazine--and became a bestseller: by 19 69 it had sold more than 100,000 copies and was republished in several editions. (15) Having covered the Hiss trial for Newsweek, Toledano detailed its proceedings in his book in dramatic, albeit biased, fashion, and suggested Hiss was part of a communist conspiracy to infiltrate New Deal institutions and gain a foothold in the federal government. "There is a 'concealed enemy' burrowing feverishly. And there is the pushing phalanx of sympathizers who have come to the defense of Hiss because they are subconsciously aware that his guilt is theirs," Toledano wrote. "Instead of crushing the seeds of treason, they scattered them in the good American earth." (16)
Millions of Americans proved receptive to this claim. Not only was the book heralded by major publications on the right, like the New York Daily News and the Wall Street Journal as "a tremendous important work of reporting" that "fulfills a useful purpose," but local newspapers across the country were equally laudatory: "If ever a book needed writing, it is this one," wrote the Cedar Rapids Gazette, while El Paso Herald-Post claimed, "the authors have rendered a public service." Dallas Morning News compared it to Gone with the Wind and the Detroit Free Press instructed readers on its front page: "READ THE BOOK!" (17) Even the more critical liberal publications like the Washington Post, New York Times, and Atlantic Monthly had to concede that despite its factual errors and acerbic tone, SOT "stands firmly as a most persuasive document," and that, in the words of prominent historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., "I cannot but feel that their main lines of reconstruction are convincing." (18)
Many politicians seized on Toledano's narrative. As part of Nixon's 1950 Senate campaign against Helen Gahagan Douglas, which included accusations that she was a communist sympathizer, the Republican candidate prepared to send half a million copies of SOT to voters. Members of Congress even read excerpts into the congressional record: Isidore Dollinger (D-NY) called it a "brilliant book" and revealed that, "I sat up with it until 3 in the morning. I just could not put it down," while Clarence Brown (R-OH) declared "this book should be read by every member of Congress and should be found in the home of every American." Even Senator Robert Taft (R-OH), arguably the most powerful conservative in America, was enraged after reading Toledano's work. "It certainly is an extraordinary story. There just simply can't be any doubt that the people who are running our government and, particularly, our State Department were completely bamboozled by the Soviet propaganda and the infiltration into the most important positions in our government," he wrote. (19) The book's success led Chambers to acknowledge its import to conservatives. "I feel that it is a big gun in the struggle," he told Toledano. "You have nevertheless struck a telling blow in the great fight. For which we may all be humbly grateful--not the least I." Chambers even credited Toledano with the GOP sweep of the 1950 elections: "Such a quiet fellow to be having so many impacts on affairs. For they must be quite well aware in Washington that 'Seeds of Treason' was the unseen presence in the polling booths." (20)
Toledano and his first wife Nora (a journalist who aided him on many projects) also played a role in the success of Witness, Chambers' influential spiritual autobiography. During the Hiss trial, Toledano and Chambers, the prosecution's star witness, met and became brothers in arms in their fight against communism. "After hard days on the witness stand Chambers had repaired to the couple's Central Park West apartment for a meal and conversation. He found common ground with Ralph, who was something of an outsider himself," Chambers's biographer Sam Tanenhaus wrote. "The discussion between the two had formed the foundation of Seeds of Treason." (21) Those late night conversations also laid the groundwork for Witness, a profoundly important book that, according to Michael Kimmage, signaled "the rebirth of American conservatism." (22)
But Toledano's help didn't end with these discussions. He also provided a great deal of technical support for Chambers in the research, writing, publication, and promotion of the volume, as well as providing emotional support for Chambers during his bouts of self-doubt. "After you had left with the copy [of Witness] it suddenly occurred to me: 'Suppose he does not like it. Suppose it is completely different from what he had hoped for (and I began to tot up its inadequacies.) What an embarrassment for both of us,'" Chambers wrote Toledano, after giving him the manuscript to review. (23) Toledano wrote that he happily completed these "little acts of midwifery," like contributing research for Chambers, since they "return a magnificent glow of helping at the accouchement." After Chambers suffered another heart attack, Toledano was tasked with editing Witness for European publication. "I don't know how to go about thanking you for what you did in the English edition to Witness. There were no others to whom I could turn with such a trust. And so the heavy task fell on you," a convalescing Chambers wrote him. When he insisted his friend collect royalties, Toledano would hear none of it: "it was a gift you made me--one more of those which began with the first of your friendship." While Chambers was bedridden, Toledano and Nora oversaw on his behalf the adaptation of Witness into a screenplay, and took it upon themselves to respond to his critics. Toledano never hesitated doing so, insisting theirs was "a friendship which transcended the usual bounds of friendship," and "changed my life," while calling Chambers, "my father, my brother, and my son." The feeling was mutual. "When I was alone, you walked beside me. And when I was without a roof, you sheltered me. You gave me yours. That makes a difference in kind between you and most others," Chambers wrote him. (24)
Toledano was also a crucial voice contributing to the rise of McCarthyism. A respected senior editor for Newsweek and bestselling author by the time Joseph McCarthy rose to national prominence, Toledano's defense of the Wisconsin senator helped legitimize him in the eyes of many skeptics. Although wary of his tactics and disdainful of his style, Toledano agreed with Chambers that "Joe is sometimes a rascal, but he's our rascal." (25) In myriad articles he published throughout the 1940s and 1950s in nearly every conservative outlet--the libertarian Plain Talk (which he cofounded), Freeman, Human Events, Modern Age, American Mercury, and National Review--Toledano both anticipated and facilitated McCarthy's rise by offering a constant barrage against liberalism and feeding readers steady doses of alleged communist conspiracies to undermine America. In 1948, Toledano defended HUAC's hearings by comparing communist spies to '"a secret battalion of paratroopers' whose mission is the 'organization of catastrophe.'" In his 195z cover story for the Freeman, "Moscow Plotted Pearl Harbor," he suggested US government officials who were "motivated by the Devil or by the mix purposes of a tarnished liberalism--tipped the scales of war." Using a pseudonym to write the National Review's "On the Left" column during its early years, he repeatedly targeted liberal groups like Americans for Democratic Action, academics, and labor unions as communist sympathizers. (26) Though Toledano was hardly the only critic disseminating such ideas, he was one of the earliest and most prolific. As such, he helped cultivate a pervasive sense of fear and suspicion that bred the blacklists and transformed McCarthy into McCarthyism.
Nixon's "Favorite" Journalist
Not simply a sympathetic journalist or useful courtier, Toledano's complex, decades-long friendship with Richard Nixon was more influential than has been acknowledged. (27) "I am the man closest to Dick Nixon of the Journalistic fraternity," he boasted in 1968. "I accompanied him to the Soviet Union, as a result of his direct request to Newsweek and his insistence that he needed me." (28) Nixon admitted, "Ralph is a good friend," and came to need him, at least early on. (29) Given that Nixon's grandstanding during the Hiss proceedings effectively launched his career, Toledano's reporting helped transform Nixon from an obscure congressman into a celebrity. Cast in the leading role of SOT, Nixon was portrayed endearingly as the only congressman who resisted Hiss's charm; by highlighting his role in the investigation and lauding his actions (for instance: "As usual, Richard Nixon carried the ball for the Committee"), Toledano propagated the popular belief that, "[w]ithout Rep. Nixon ... there would have been no Hiss case." (30)
Grateful for his flattering portrayal, Nixon gave Toledano access to his inner circle while increasingly relying on his advice. While he was still covering politics for Newsweek, Toledano advised Nixon on numerous issues during his 1950 Senate run, and especially after he became vice president. (31) Toledano's recommendation, for instance, to capitalize on Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev's tenuous position following Stalin's death and exploit his lack of legitimacy was highly valued in the White House. "In light of recent events he [Toledano] was far more accurate than some of the other experts. His observations are worth rereading," one aide informed Nixon. He agreed and personally wrote Toledano: "Recent events have proved that you made a remarkably accurate analysis ... just as you have done frequently in the past." Nixon eventually told Toledano: "Look, you know what my positions are and how I express myself. If they want a quote, make it up, just so you respect where I stand." (32)
When Nixon found himself under mounting pressure within the GOP not to run again in 1956, Toledano came to his aid. (33) The timely publication of his biography, Nixon, proved useful in repairing the vice president's tarnished image: a campaign biography with which Nixon actively cooperated--even correcting proofs at one point--it was the first book written about Nixon, and it presented him heroically leading the charge against communism. (34) Although it called Nixon "unashamedly partisan," the Washington Post conceded, "the book is too nearly comprehensive, the man it describes too important, to dismiss the work as a mere campaign document," while the rightwing press, whose support Nixon desperately needed to solidify his precarious position within the GOP, called it "required reading." (35) In a letter to Chambers, Nora de Toledano clarified their aim: "Our simple little prayer has been that Nixon say nothing at all for a few weeks, to give the book a chance to bolster him up if a book can do anything." She sent it to the White House with the intention of "getting a copy right into the president's hands." (36) When Nixon privately confided that he was considering quitting, Toledano made a desperate plea: "Many people have pinned their hopes on you. If you back down, you will be letting them down. Can I urge you to do one thing. Let the matter ride for several weeks before you make up your mind. The furor will die down." (37) He was proven right.
Having become a valuable bridge between the GOP establishment and the nascent conservative movement, it was Toledano who in 1957 first introduced Nixon to William F. Buckley Jr. (38) Buckley was a close friend and admirer of Toledano's, offering him the position of first managing editorship at National Review. Although Toledano declined the editorship for financial reasons, he went on to write countless articles there and became a music columnist for the magazine that spearheaded the conservative revival. (39) Despite Toledano's occasional pout--usually over the refusal to publish something he wrote or a lukewarm review--Buckley, who sought to publish a joint book with him, never wavered in his admiration. "Ralph de Toledano is among the most talented writers in the world. He is not only a first-rank journalist, he is a poet, a critic, a (don't tell him I said so) ... mystic, whose wonderful evocations remind the reader of the depth of our obligation to such of its numinous exegetes as Ralph de Toledano," he wrote in 1968. When a sulking Toledano refused to attend a National Review dinner, Buckley prodded him to reconsider, "because your presence at a gathering of conservatives and anti-communists means a lot. To me, and to others ... I write lest you fear that excommunication has taken place. Over my dead body." (40)
Toledano's institutional involvement was important in forging the conservative movement early on. He assisted the influential publisher Henry Regnery in trying to organize an informal club that would bring together prominent thinkers like Chambers, Buckley, and Russell Kirk to strategize over policy. "Ten or twelve of us who are working along more or less similar lines could get together for a day or two to talk things over and to try to co-ordinate our efforts," is how Regnery described the venture to him. (41) Toledano served as vice-chair of the American Conservative Union in the 1960s, participated in rightwing organizations like the Intercollegiate Society for Individualists and Americans for Constitutional Action, and was sought after for advice by leading conservative politicians and activists like former president Herbert Hoover, secretary of defense Melvin Laird, senator Paul Fannin (R-AZ), Congressman John Ashbrook (R-OH), family values advocate Phyllis Schlafly, and William Loeb, the influential publisher of the conservative Manchester UnionLeader. (42) Richard Berlin, president of the Hearst Corporation, was a huge fan who urged Toledano to run for senate in 1970--which he did, unsuccessfully. (43) Toledano's popular campaign book, The Winning Side: The Case for Goldwater Republicanism, which called on Republicans to embrace Barry Goldwater's anti-statist principles, further solidified Toledano's position within conservative ranks. Columnist Clark Kinnaird considered the book a "powerful magnet in attracting the mass of supporters who forced his nomination," while National Review called it "one of the most comprehensive and closely reasoned political commentaries of our time." (44) Given the bitter struggle within the GOP over Goldwater's nomination in 1964, the enthusiastic support of someone as well respected as Toledano helped the Arizona senator defeat Nelson Rockefeller--a gesture Goldwater never forgot and tried to repay. (45)
II. The Sephardic Roots of American Conservatism
In 1960, the writer Midge Decter, wife of neoconservative pundit Norman Podhoretz, reviewed Toledano's Lament for a Generation in the pages of Commentary, a leading voice of the New York Intellectuals at the time. When asked about it recently, she could not remember ever writing about him. (46) This was symbolic of Toledano's forgotten role: although he grew up and worked within the unique community of second-generation Jewish immigrants and described himself a "New York Intellectual," he never felt at home there--and Decter's essay reveals why. (47) Calling it a "curious mixture of a book" she disparaged his autobiography as a "rousing campaign portrait of Richard Nixon" (who, besides writing the forward, is only discussed in the final chapters), and implied Toledano was trying to replicate Chambers's Witness. Still associated with the left at the time (like most neoconservatives, Decter and Podhoretz drifted right only in the late 1960s), she questioned the need to rehash the road to anticommunism while focusing, tellingly, on Toledano's religious bent. "His main intention in this book is to describe what he calls his 'road to Damascus'--the story of his own turning away from the anthropocentric heresies of modern thought to God and the true conservatism," she wrote. "As such, Lament for a Generation affords us an opportunity to understand something of what happened in those Great Watershed days from the other side round, from the points of view not of the degradation of liberalism but of the reclamation of conservatism." (48)
That she associates religion with "the other side"--and not the one which Jewish intellectuals were supposedly on--is indicative of a fundamental difference between Toledano and the rest of the group that wasn't just ideological. Though part of his antipathy was generated by a sense of inferiority (he called Partisan Review's editors "pseudo-proletarian Davids" and resented sociologist Daniel Bell, a coeditor of his at the New Leader, for being "condescending"), there was a deeper philosophical fault line that buttressed it. As he wrote sarcastically of the writer Diana Trilling: "She too has faith--in Reason, Sigmund Freud, and the Ultimate Good. And because these things mean nothing at all, perhaps hers is the greater faith." (49) What Decter didn't understand was that Toledano's genuine admiration of Nixon and embrace of conservatism was rooted in a core belief that politics and religion must be intertwined. When Nixon told the American Legion in a 1960 speech (on which Toledano advised him), "we stand for faith in God, for belief that the rights that men have come from God and not from men and cannot be taken away by men," he was echoing Toledano, who himself wrote approvingly after their joint trip to Russia that, "what struck Nixon forcibly was that nowhere in the world had he seen a people so drained of spiritual and ideological values and hopes." (50)
It was the spiritual nourishment supplied by conservatism that Toledano felt made America different--and better. Tellingly, his patriotism, unlike that of other New York Intellectuals, was rooted in an intrinsically religious experience. When comparing Toledano's essay, "America, I Love You," with Podhoretz's autobiography, My Love Affair with America, the differences come to light. Although both read like paeans to their homeland, Podhoretz's "love affair" is secular at heart; when he claims that, "America deserved to be glorified with a full throat and a whole heart," it is because of the political rights and opportunities afforded him and his family. (51) Toledano voiced similar encomiums but couched them in spiritual terms: values and institutions that made America exceptional--liberty, equality, democracy--could only persevere because they were divinely ordained. Upon shipping out for service in World War II, he recalled "I felt then, as I do now, that being an American is a state of faith and a state of mind." Admonishing those for whom, "the nation's honor is a commodity of politics, not an article of faith," he contended most Americans, "stake their lives on the hope of Heaven, not the security of Marx," and "remember that on a bitter day, one American knelt in the snow and, out of the strength of his faith, asked God for guidance. And they know, out of the strength of their own faith, that if one American remains, the hand of God can yet descend to stay the course of history." (52)
Although an organic fusion of politics and religion (broadly conceived rather than devoted to any specific denomination) prevailed among many traditionalist conservatives, especially in the South, Toledano rejected segregationist excuses as, "racism directly antithetical to all concepts of human dignity," and traced his particular amalgamation to his Sephardic heritage. (53) For most New York Intellectuals who were predominantly Ashkenazi, Jewishness had been reduced to an ethnic or cultural category that played little, if any, import in their politics. Since he couldn't entirely escape his Jewishness, Lionel Trilling resolved to allot it a "minimal position," while literary critic Alfred Kazin accepted, "that I was Jewish without being a part of any meaningful Jewish life or culture." Irving Howe similarly explained, "the New York Intellectuals comprised the first group of Jewish writers to come out of the immigrant milieu who did not crucially define themselves through a relationship to memories of Jewishness," and pursued "a severance from immigrant experiences and Jewish roots." (54)
But Toledano's Sephardic background instilled in him differences of sensibility that were constitutive of his conservative identity; rather than escape his Jewishness, he embraced it. "A century's worth of writings by Ashkenazim provides the paradigm in which retreat from the past, no matter how eagerly or ambivalently undertaken, drives the character's upward mobility," Diane Matza observed in her comparative study of Ashkenazic and Sephardic fiction. It was in the latter that, "we confront a penetrating yearning for an old world," which engendered "a different kind of immigrant story." Matza found in the Sephardic experience, "attachment to the community of origins," and claimed, "belief in its soul-shaping power reverses the Ashkenazi immigrant sensitivity." Among Sephardic Americans, she concluded, identity, "is linked to a landscape of memory ... which becomes the stage on which pursuit of self and the search for Jewish spirituality play out. Only a headlong plunge into the Sephardi mystique, a fascinating mix of pre-modern sensibility and contemporary fact, can offer the wholeness she seeks." (55)
Conservatism offered Toledano that sense of wholeness by combining old and new. "Even for one such as myself, ruffled by winds of mysticism, there was no room for doctrine or philosophy," he wrote of his college years. His admiration for the Spanish mystic-poet John of the Cross and Don Quixote suggests that while Albert Camus could famously declare in 1936 that his generation had "Spain in our Hearts," Toledano had it in his soul. Of his ancestors he wrote: "It was from Spain that they drew their legacy of pride, glorious and destructive, which Meredith and George Eliot discerned in the Sephardic character--their sense that above all peoples, whether Jew or Christian or Moslem, they were more cleanly drawn by God in their intellectual aristocracy." (56) The idea of an intellectual aristocracy that Toledano traced back to his Sephardic roots was also central to traditionalist conservatives who feared mass politics and, in the words of George Nash, longed for a "medieval code of ethics," that promised order and satisfied, "the yearning for some sort of bridge over the gaping chasm," of modernity. That the Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset, author of The Revolt of The Masses, a reactionary critique of modern society that warned against barbarous and atomized masses, influenced Toledano's thinking is germane: he "flirted" with these ideas and conceded Gasset's "aristocratic admonitions ... had their validity." (57)
Writing about the distinctions between Ashkenazic and Sephardic traditions in postwar America, the theologian rabbi Abraham Heschel recognized the hierarchical qualities of the latter as critical to their self-understanding. Heschel suggested, "the Sephardic strain, striving after measure, order, and harmony," had become antiquated, and asserted, "neo-Sephardic modes do not represent the spirit of our own generation." (58) But they did for Toledano, who harkened back to those modes which Heschel rejected. Revealing "the interior reasons why, early in the fifties, I began to classify myself as a conservative," Toledano pointed to two tendencies he associated with the Sephardic heritage of his parents. The first was that, "my thinking had always been conditioned by the undogmatic teachings of my father, and by his tacit obeisance to the tragic sense of life." The second was his mother's belief in hierarchy. "For her, though less articulately than for Ortega y Gasset, human society was and had to be aristocratic by its very nature. In the measure that it ceased to be aristocratic, it became anti-social and barbarous," he wrote. "The world about her was plunged in gadget-lust, but she dreamed of order and beauty. 'Every degree of being in the universe is subordinate to another,' the Sephardic philosopher Abarbanel [sic] wrote, 'and graded from the lowest to the highest'--and so she saw it." And so did he. (59)
This respect for order that Toledano imbibed could be traced to two salient qualities historically associated with Sephardic culture: philosophy and poetry. Attempting to unify reason and revelation in the Scholastic spirit of the time, Sephardic philosophers like Issac Abarbanel had conceived of a well-structured universe that contained, as Maimonides's The Guide for the Perplexed famously posited, a clear hierarchy of substance and being. (60) For Toledano, it wasn't just the philosophical but the aesthetic sense of order that mattered. After all, if there was one area that rivaled philosophy in its import among Moroccan Jews of Sephardic heritage, it was poetry--primarily in its liturgical context as piyyutim (prayer songs). "Of all the major literary genres, none was more jealously preserved and zealously cultivated than was poetry," Haim Toledano wrote, "Moroccan poets preserved and enriched the poetic legacy of Andalusian Jewry. They faithfully guarded both the form and the substance of the piyyut in terms of the traditional themes and the techniques of composition." (61)
Unlike other American poets who, in his eyes, lost the "ceremonies and celebrations, the rituals and the ritual words which bind a people and give them that sense of the transcendent and the mysterious," Toledano's poetry conveys a combination of secular- and spiritualism that in both form and content consciously attempts to echo the Sephardic piyyutim and distinguishes his work from that of his Ashkenazic contemporaries. (62) Lacking the secular modernist impulses that, for example, pervade the work of Delmore Schwartz (whose high school teacher was Toledano's aunt), or the free-verse formlessness of Allen Ginsberg (who studied English at Columbia a few years after Toledano), his poetry is distinctly conservative. Toledano's subject matter is almost exclusively religious: mimicking--even if unknowingly--Judeo-Spanish poets like Solomon Ibn Gabirol and Yehuda Halevi, who longed to personally connect with God on a higher plane, Toledano's verse, much like their piyyutim, communicated directly with God. "Turn to me in the light, Lord/Mouth twisted in irony and pain/Seek me out in the night, unhallowed in the flesh," Toledano wrote in one poem that asked for forgiveness. In another, he sought the strength to sustain faith in a faithless age and appealed to the Lord: "where will the strength be found/for morning's work/and then at evening's end/the power to pray?" Given that Toledano dedicated much of his poetry to biblical narratives, it's understandable that in an endearing review of his poetry collection, The Apocrypha of Limbo, William Buckley called him "a God-Haunted artist," and concluded that, "in the empyrean of his religious mode, the poet never loses sight of earth," while creating a "metaphor for the God-estranged society." (63)
His rigorous attention to form is particularly germane, proportioned, rhythmic, metered, often rhymed and carefully ordered--corresponded to what the Sephardic scholar Daniel Elazar called their "heritage of aesthetics and form." (64) Toledano's poem, "Three Devotions," for example, opens with the following stanza:
Who seeks God's love seeks nothing. Against the measurable span of finite longing, hope delimited, God's love is less and more than love, not to be given or withheld but there in the eternal abyss of all creation. Who seeks in life more than the benediction of God's presence, lacking love or hate or anything but the Presence, covets a hurricane in a thimble. (65)
Toledano considered order as the sine qua non for successful poetry and lamented the politicization of poetry and abandonment of form. "Poetry, as I have said, is a craft, a trade ... The craft must be studied, practiced, and learned, slowly and painfully, until the how is mastered," he wrote. "It is only by this apprenticeship that the poet discovers how the unrhymed and un-metrical form which we call free verse, in liberating him from rhyme and meter, imposes a tyranny of its own. The discipline which iambs, trochees, dactyls, and anapests provide must be replaced by a discipline of the poet's own imposition--And this is difficult to construct." (66)
Embracing his Sephardic roots as a means, at least partially, to reinforce his own conservative identity (and vice versa), doesn't necessarily undermine the sincerity of his political ideals. However, it does force us to critically reassess Toledano's motives within his personal struggle for assimilation. After all, his lifelong feelings as an outsider among Ashkenazim reflected broader sentiments of marginalization common among many Sephardim in America who, according to historian Aviva Ben-Ur, experienced a "denial of Jewishness" and constant "struggle against invisibility." (67) This struggle, as much sociological as it was ethnic or religious, directly informed Toledano's conservatism and may very well have rendered his political ideology a means for forging and reaffirming his tenuous American identity. In a retrospective essay for Commentary in 1996--peculiarly, the only one he ever published there--he expressed his sense of alienation with painful candor and resentment. "They regarded us as some alien species," he wrote of his Ashkenazi neighbors. The main difference, he recalled, was in their attitude toward religious practice: "my performance confused them, first because my pronunciation differed ... and secondly because, as it turned out, none of them knew the Friday-evening ritual." When a friend told him "Yeah, you're Jewish, but my father says you think you're better than we are," Toledano agreed, "maybe they were right." His reasoning was: "we were more deeply schooled than many of them in the old traditions." Although such generalizations, written by an elder Toledano at the end of his career, might reflect an ex post-facto attempt to justify the conservative path he pursued, the devotion to tradition that Toledano associated with his own Sephardic heritage translated itself politically into a strong distaste for the secularism of his radical Ashkenazi fellows. Dismissing them as "Second Avenue intellectuals," he said, "their rhetoric and their Marxist reasoning grew out of an experience culturally alien to me. I could never understand what Judaism had to do with Marxism, and why questioning the latter was tantamount to being disloyal to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." (68)
While his hostility to leftwing ideas possibly expressed a desire to distance himself from the Ashkenazi intellectuals espousing them by securing a different political identity on the right, Toledano's embrace of conservatism also derived from a distinct spiritual sensibility that fueled his ardent anticommunism. In addition to the traumatic effects of the Moscow trials, Spanish Civil War, and Soviet-Nazi Pact that contributed to his disenchantment with the left, it was its spiritual void that worried him most. Recounting his "road to Damascus" and "conversion" to conservatism--a reminder of the deep influence Whittaker Chambers, who described his own transformation in similar Christian terms, had on him--Toledano noted:
I had not yet fully understood that they [communists] represented the military phase of a great revolution which was destroying a civilization built on moral and religious imperatives. The new philosophers, who set tissue needs above all else, were busily supplanting the spiritual heritage of man by a subtle process of political pressure and brainwashing ... Though Lenin said, 'The whole is politics,' he was merely sighting an outcropping. In Communism, the whole is man. Kirilov, in Dostoevski's The Possessed, said: 'If God did not exist, everything would be allowed.' In conjoining Hegelian dialectic and classic materialism, the Communists disallowed God and allowed everything else. (69)
A deeply moved Chambers wrote in response: "It is here that I have always sensed (though we have never discussed) that your conservatism and mine are at one. For conservatism is truly this, a la fine pointe de l'ame, the chain of grace ... Too many who suppose themselves conservatives have forgotten, or never knew, that the chain of the spirit alone has binding force." (70)
This spiritual binding force is crucial to understanding Toledano's wider critique of the left. He had been surprisingly hostile to libertarians like Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises--"I read Mises with horror," he wrote Chambers, "forgive me, but oy vey"--because of their secular approach to politics. "Whittaker Chambers once wrote that political freedom was nothing but a political reading of the Bible. One need not start out with a belief in God to hold this view, but he must at least be ready to acknowledge that man is not God," Toledano believed. (71) What concerned him about rightwing libertarianism, ironically, was similar to what turned him against liberalism: that it originated in abstract natural rights rather than in divine principles. "The propaganda of scholars had convinced us that there was no salvation save by the grace of specialized vocabularies ... They had weighted down with distinctions the truths that I sought and tied them to the earth with a Lilliputian weave of split hairs. They had used Promethean fire to heat their tea," Toledano wrote. "Without God, man sought a substitute in the all-encompassing State which liberalism held so dear." (72)
Toledano's political theology was emblematic of another Sephardic tenet that, according to political scientist Daniel Elazar, sought an "unquestioned merging of religious and political aspirations." "Having never undergone secularization on one hand or embraced otherworldly pietism on the other--unlike the Ashkenazim in the modern epoch--the Sephardic world was earlier attuned to seeking political solutions to the Jewish condition, at the same time never divorcing such solutions from a deep religious commitment," Elazar claimed. (73) Nowhere is this better reflected than in Toledano's anti-statism, which embodied the fundamental principle that Elazar claimed defined Jewish political thought: the covenant tradition. For Elazar, the founding president of the American Sephardi Federation, the covenant legacy enshrined a constitutional relationship between governed and government based on consent. This, in turn, implanted federalist and republican principles among Jews that entailed an intuitive rejection of centralized power, a penchant for limited government and separation of powers; since only God could be truly sovereign, temporal power had to be dispersed. (74)
To Sephardim this decentralization was especially attractive. "Unlike their Ashkenazi brethren, Sephardim were always involved in the political life of the world in which they lived," and "saw themselves as in some respects actors in the political arena," Elazar opined. While such sweeping claims serve to legitimate, even celebrate, the historical participation of Sephardic Jews in the democratic process and must therefore be taken with a grain of salt, Elazar does tie them to particular historical institutions and practices. For instance, he pointed to the import of the "askamot" as articles of agreement through which Sephardic congregations were established. Elazar even claimed that, "Jews of Christian Spain actively participated, even led, in the constitutional revolution which took place in Christian Europe," by adapting their own halakhot (laws) of governance to, "a situation in which every local community had to govern itself independently and new local communities were springing up all the time with the need to be able to constitute themselves for communal self-government." (75)
Given Toledano's devotion to federalism and states rights, it's telling that Elazar considered the American federal model of limited government a modern manifestation of the covenantal tradition. (76) Since its practical implementation demands unwavering constitutional commitment, he argued, a strict interpretation of the law followed: "law (the sense of the Divine constitutional teaching) provides the foundation of human polity. Divine law is comprehensive and immutable." Long before the conservative legal movement succeeded in imposing a strict reading of the US Constitution under what came to be known as "originalism," Toledano essentially demonstrated such a covenantal consciousness. (77) In his crusade against compulsory unionism, for instance, he claimed that organized labor threatened "the survival of representative government" because it undermined the Constitution. His opposition to the National Public Employment Relations Act (1973) that aimed at bolstering public sector unions was accordingly based on his belief that, "[n]ot only did it strike at the First, Fifth, Tenth, and Fourteenth amendments to the Constitution, but it deprived the fifty states of their right to conduct internal business and delegated to a nonelected, nongovernmental instrumentality power and prerogatives held exclusively by state executives, legislates, and judiciaries." (78) A strict reading of the Constitution in the covenantal tradition was integral to Toledano's politics: convinced that "the Constitution was the last holding action of American conservatism--certainly the last successful one," Toledano claimed its principles had been betrayed, "by a fervid application of the doctrine of loose constructionism," that, although practically expedient, "led to the downfall of whatever conservatism may have been in America." (79)
By the early 1970s, just as conservatism's star was rising, Toledano's was in decline: his calls to the White House weren't being returned, his writing was not in demand, and National News Service, a consulting firm he founded, was struggling. "I have fought and worked for a cause whose leaders want me only when they have need of a spear carrier or someone to fill a scene," a frustrated Toledano wrote Buckley in 1969, "Excommunication would have been preferable." (80) Still clenching onto conspiracies and grudges of the postwar years, Toledano got himself embroiled in a costly lawsuit with consumer advocate Ralph Nader and proved unable to evolve beyond his Cold War mentality. (81) Looking back at his growing irrelevance, Buckley lamented that, "Ralph de Toledano was the saddest man I ever knew." (82)
But this should not diminish his significant impact on American political and intellectual life. Although Toledano is absent from the histories of the New York Intellectuals, it's worth remembering that the nationally-syndicated column he wrote for the Hearst newspapers (1960-1971) was read by far more people than journals like Partisan Review, Commentary, and Dissent combined. (83) If anything, his devout readers, who included influential politicians, prominent businessmen and high-ranking military officers, probably never heard of, let alone read, Trilling, Podhoretz, or Bell; what they did read was Toledano's persistent calls for law and order, aggressive anticommunist foreign policies, and a curtailing of the welfare state. And it is quite telling that these very proposals, for which he tirelessly advocated in nearly every rightwing publication for decades, fueled the conservative revolution and helped catapult Nixon and Ronald Reagan to the White House.
That Toledano embraced core conservative principles, like antistatism, order, and faith, that he attributed to his Sephardic legacy, long before there ever was a coherent conservative movement implies that conservatism, at least for some Jewish intellectuals, may have been not merely a haven, a temporary stop, or last resort, but the place where they truly felt at home. And yet, this doesn't necessarily suggest an essential link tying Sephardism to conservative politics. Toledano consciously chose to construct his political identity as a conservative in a way that helped reinforce, maybe even compensate for, his ethnicity as a Sephardic among the Ashkenazi majority in America; the fact that both Sephardim and conservatives were on the margins certainly contributed to his self-fashioned identity. But those connections do not discount other contributing factors to his conservatism or establish that his conservatism exclusively emanated from Sephardism. Toledano's middle-class upbringing (as opposed to the working-class backgrounds of most Ashkenazi intellectuals) instilled in him a sense of privilege and respect for property. His profoundly influential friendship with Whittaker Chambers imbued him with spiritual longings and a tragic awareness of history. And he was reared in romanticized visions of medieval Spain and Catholicism (mostly sanitized of the inquisitions and expulsion). All of these elements of his personal history and biography helped him construct an hybridized identity as a different type of New York intellectual who didn't fall into the conventional categories of his secular, leftwing, and Ashkenazi contemporaries.
While we should be cautious of drawing broad conclusions about any deterministic links between Sephardism and conservatism, examples from Jewish communities outside the United States where Sephardim live in greater numbers (both among Jews and in the general population) do suggest that at least some of Toledano's conservative sensibilities are widely shared. In Israel, for instance, the Orthodox-Sephardic Shas Party is a permanent fixture in rightwing politics that for over three decades has served as a bulwark of cultural conservatism. In France, Sephardic politicians like Meyer Habib and Michel Thooris have embraced nationalist-populist ideals and in recent years gained prominence among many on the right. (84) Their success certainly doesn't mean that all Sephardim are conservative--many historical examples of secular leftwing Sephardim suggest otherwise--but, taken together with Toledano's legacy, it should cause us to rethink our ideological expectations of Jewish voters and to critically reevaluate the political labels we still tend to assign them. (85)
(1.) I would like to thank the editors and reviewers at American Jewish History for their helpful comments and advice. I am also grateful to George H. Nash for his insight and support.
(2.) Douglas Martin, "Ralph de Toledano, 90, Writer Known as a Nixon Friend, Dies," New York Times, February 6, 2007, D8; Joe Holley, "Ralph de Toledano, 90; Ardent Conservative," Washington Post, February 7, 2007.
(3.) William F. Buckley Jr., "Ralph de Toledano, R.I.P," National Review, March 5, 2007, 16.
(4.) For examples see E.J. Dionne, Why the Right Went Wrong (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2016), 43-65; Michael Kimmage, The Conservative Turn: Lionel Trilling, Whittaker Chambers and the Lessons of Anti-Communism (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009), 209-240; Sam Tanenhaus, Whittaker Chambers: A Biography (New York: Modern Library, 1998), 451-491; Stephen Ambrose, Nixon, Vol. 1: The Education of a Politician 1913-1962 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988), 389-399; George H. Nash, The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America since 194J (New York: Basic Books, 1976), 89-130. The only scholarship ever to feature Toledano was George Nash's study of the half-dozen Jewish intellectuals who clustered around National Review in the 1950s. See "Forgotten Godfathers: Premature Jewish Conservatives and the Rise of National Review," American Jewish History 87, nos. 2/3 (1999): 123-157.
(5.) Rick Perlstein, Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America (New York: Scribner, 2009), 36.
(6.) Ethan Goffman and Daniel Morris, eds., New York Public Intellectuals and Beyond (West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 2008); Alan M. Wald, The New York Intellectuals: The Rise and Decline of the Anti-Stalinist Left From the 1930s to the 1980s (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987); Alexander Bloom, Prodigal Sons: The New York Intellectuals and their World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986); Terry Cooney, The Rise of the New York Intellectuals: Partisan Review and its Circle, 1934-194j (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1986).
(7.) Holley, "Toledano."
(8.) Ralph de Toledano (Toledano), Lament for a Generation (New York: Farrar, Straus & Cudahy, 1960), 41 & 78.
(9.) Irving Kristol, Reflections of a Neoconservative: Looking Back, Looking Ahead (New York, Basic Books, 1983), 73-76. For examples of this narrative see Peter Steinfels, The Heoconservatives: Origins of a Movement (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013); Benjamin Balint, Running Commentary: The Contentious Magazine that Transformed the Jewish Left into the Neoconservative Right (New York: Public Affairs, 2010); Norman Podhoretz, Ex-Friends: Falling Out with Allen Ginsberg, Lionel and Diana Trilling, Lillian Hellman, Hannah Arendt, and Norman Mailer (New York: Encounter, 2000); Bloom, Prodigal Sons, 318-375.
(10.) Nash, "Forgotten Godfathers," 128 & 144. Another exception was sociologist Will Herberg; like Toledano, the Russian-born ex-communist Jewish conservative early on rejected secularism and became a "Judeo-Christian exceptionalist." See K. Healan Gaston, "The Cold War Romance of Religious Authenticity: Will Herberg, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Rise of the New Right," Journal of American History 99, no. 4 (2013): 1133-1158.
(11.) Haim Henry Toledano, The Sephardic Legacy: Unique Features and Achievements (Scranton: University of Scranton Press, 2010), 9.
(12.) See Kimmage, Conservative Turn-, Nash, Conservative Movement, 131-185; Lisa McGirr, Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002).
(13.) Nash, Conservative Movement, 100. On the Hiss case see Susan Jacoby, Alger Hiss and the Battle for History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009).
(14.) Toledano claimed that Lasky contributed "some of the legwork and none of the writing" and accordingly Toledano held on to exclusive publishing rights in later editions. See Toledano, Lament, 109.
(15.) Toledano to Eugene Lyons, October 2, 1969, #71030, folder 41, box 1, Ralph de Toledano Papers, Hoover Institute Archives. (Henceforth Toledano Papers.) Except for those with Nixon, all Toledano correspondence is from this collection.
(16.) Toledano and Victor Lasky, Seeds of Treason (London: Seeker and Warburg, 1950), 179
(17.) John O'Donnell, "Capitol Stuff," New York Daily News, April 2, 1950; W.H. Chamberlain, "'Seeds of Treason' Puts Hiss Case in Perspective," Wall Street Journal, April 18, 1950, 8; Pete Hoyt, "The Story of Alger Hiss," Cedar Rapids Gazette, April 2, 1950; E.M. Pooley, "The Bookshelf," El Paso Herald-Post, April 8, 1950; Felix McKnight, "Report of Hiss Trial Full of High Drama," Dallas Morning News, April 9, 1950; Malcolm Bingay, "Read the Book," Detroit Free Press, April 2, 1950, 1. All reviews located in folder 5, box 4, Toledano Papers.
(18.) John Desmond, New York Times Book Review, April 2, 1950; Raymond Walters Jr., "Essential Hiss Mystery Remains," Washington Post, April 9, 1950; Arthur Schlesinger Jr., "Espionage or Frame-Up?," Atlantic Monthly, April 15, 1950, 21-23.
(19.) John Farrell, Richard Nixon: The Life (New York: Doubleday, 2017), 145; Congressman Dollinger, speaking on April 3, 1950, 81st Congress, 2nd. session, Congressional Record, folder 5, box 4, Toledano Papers; Congressman Brown, speaking on April 5, 1950, 8ist Congress, 2nd. session, Congressional Record 96, pt. 4: 4838; Robert Taft, Papers of Robert A. Taft, Volume 4: 1949-1953 (Kent: Kent State University Press, 2006), 415.
(20.) Whittaker Chambers and Ralph de Toledano, Notes from the Underground: The Whittaker Chambers-Ralph de Toledano Letters, 1949-1960 (Washington DC: Regnery, 1997), 18, 21, & 28.
(21.) Tanenhaus, Whittaker Chambers, 451-453.
(22.) On Witness, see Kimmage, Conservative Turn, 205-217.
(23.) Chambers to Toledano, April 19, 1951, Notes, 38.
(24.) Chambers to Toledano, November (undated), 1951, Notes, 52, 63, 69-70, 93-96, 106-119,128, 207-215.
(25.) Chambers to Toledano, April 19, 1951, Notes, 51. On the McCarthy dilemma, see Nash, Conservative Movement, 109-1Z3.
(26.) Toledano, "When is A Red Herring?" Plain Talk 3, no. 3 (1948), 28-31; "Moscow Plotted Pearl Harbor," Freeman 1, no.18, June 2, 1952, 567-571; "On the Left," National Review, December 21, 1955, January 12 & 14, 1956, 16. Carl Bogus, Buckley: William F. Buckley jr. and the Rise of American Conservatism (New York: Bloomsbury, 2011), 143. Toledano also published several popular books, both fiction and non-fiction, alleging communist subversion. See Toledano, Spies, Dupes and Diplomats (New York: Duell, Sloan & Pierce, 1952) and Day of Reckoning (New York: Henry Holt, 1955). For reviews see Paul J. Smith, "Far East Policy Row Blamed on Duplicity," Los Angeles Times, June 15, 1952, D9; Granville Hicks, "The Hunter Hunted," New York Times, April 3, 1955.
(27.) See Irwin Gellman, The Contender: Richard Nixon, The Congress Years 19461952 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017), 329-33[degrees]; Sarah Mergel, Conservative Intellectuals and Richard Nixon: Rethinking the Rise of the Right (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010), 7 & 18.
(28.) Toledano to Walter Minton, November 15, 1968, folder 3, box 2, Toledano Papers.
(29.) Nixon to Bill Key, January 16, 1958, General Correspondence (GC), folder "Toledano" 3/3, box 213, Nixon Presidential Library (NPL). All Nixon-Toledano letters are from this box. After Nixon's election to the presidency in 1968 they grew apart because Nixon supposedly abandoned conservative policies and refused to award Toledano a position in his administration. Toledano felt betrayed that, despite years of "faithful service," Nixon didn't try to save his job at Newsweek. In 1970 he wrote one Nixon aide, "there will be no more jeopardizing my career and making enemies in order to defend him ... He's lost the best friend he had in the press." See Toledano to Murray Chotiner, May 23, 1970, folder 17, box 1, Toledano Papers,
(30.) Toledano, Seeds of Treason, 193; "McGrath Disputed on Hiss Case Facts," Los Angeles Times, October 18, 1950, 9. On the impact to Nixon's career, see Gellman, The Contender, 196-253.
(31.) On politics, see Toledano to Nixon, September 20, 1951, box 3, folder 1, NPL; on campaigning, see Toledano to Nixon, June 24, 1954, folder 1, box 3, NPL; on Khrushchev, see Toledano to Nixon, (undated) July-September, 1959, folder 1, box 3, NPL. Even while covering the 1960 elections, he still advised Nixon. See Toledano to Nixon, July 19, 1960, folder i, box 3, NPL.
(32.) Toledano to Nixon, July 5, 1957; Nixon to Toledano, December 19, 1957, folder 1/3, box 213, NPL; Toledano, Notes, 286.
(33.) Farrell, Richard Nixon, 298.
(34.) Toledano, Nixon (New York: Henry Holt, 1956). Toledano to Nixon, November 20, 1955, folder 3/3, box 213, NPL.
(35.) Walter Karig, "De Toledano Appraises Nixon," Washington Post, March 18, 1956, E6; Willard Edwards, "The Meteoric Rise of Richard Nixon," Chicago Daily Tribune, March 18, 1956, It.
(36.) Nora de Toledano, Notes, 238; NdT to Rose Mary-Woods, March 1, 1956, folder 3/3, box 213, NPL. During Nixon's 1960 presidential campaign, his staff ordered 20,000 copies of Toledano's book to send voters. See C. Halliwell Duell to Robert Finch, March 30, 1960, folder 1/3, box 213, NPL.
(37.) Toledano to Nixon, March 2, 1956, folder 3/3, box 213, NPL; Ambrose, Nixon, 233
(38.) John Judis, William F. Buckley Jr.: Patron Saint of the Conservatives (New York: Simon 8c Schuster, 1988), Z79.
(39.) Toledano, Notes, 198; Buckley, "Toledano, RIP."
(40.) Buckley to Toledano, January 12, 1967; May 1, 1968, (undated) September 1969; Toledano to Buckley, July 27, 1968; September 20, 1969, folder 13, box 1, Toledano Papers.
(41.) Henry Regnery to Toledano, June 4, 1952; Toledano to Regnery, October 25, 1953, #82088, folder 10, box 19, Henry Regnery Papers, Hoover Institute Archives.
(42.) Herbert Hoover to Toledano, November 5, 1963, folder 32, box 1; Laird to Toledano, March 21, 1967, folder 39, box 1; Fannin to Toledano, February 5, 1969 and June 24, 1969, folder 26, box 1; Ashbrook to Toledano, March 28, 1968, folder 4, box 1; Phyllis Schlafly to Toledano, January 9, 1968, folder 16, box 2; William Loeb to Toledano, July 25, 1969 and June 15, 1970, folder 40, box 1, Toledano Papers.
(43.) Richard Berlin to Toledano, March 13, 1970, folder 9, box 1; on the Senate run see Peter Kihss, "Nixon Biographer to Bid G.O.P Nominate Him Instead of Goodell," New York Times, March 11, 1970, 36.
(44.) Toledano, The Winning Side: The Case for Goldwater Republicanism (New York: Putnam, 1963). Clark Kinnaird, "Parade of Books," King Features, July 25, 1964; John G. Tower, "Recipe for Republican Victory," National Review, December 31, 1963, 570.
(45.) Barry Goldwater to Toledano, September 14, 1970, folder 30, box 1, Toledano Papers. Goldwater tried unsuccessfully to lobby Nixon to secure Toledano a seat on the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. See Goldwater to Pat O'Donnell, February 21, 1974, folder "Toledano," box 79, White House Central Files, NPL. On the election see J. William Middendorf III, A Glorious Disaster: Barry Goldwater's Presidential Campaign and the Origins of the Conservative Movement (New York: Basic Books, 2006).
(46.) Correspondence with Midge Decter, email to author, April 2, 2017.
(47.) Toledano (under the pseudonym Paul Castelar), "Testimony From the Army," New Leader (undated), 1943, folder 3, box 3, Toledano Papers.
(48.) Midge Decter, "The Radical Road to Nixon," Commentary 29, no. 4 (1960), 362-363.
(49.) Toledano, Notes, 25, 297; Lament, 58-69,100-101.
(50.) Toledano, Lament, 238; Toledano to Nixon, June 10, 1960, folder 1/3, box 213, NPL; Richard Nixon, speech by the vice president at the American Legion Convention, Miami, FL, online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project, https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/n0de/274006.
(51.) Norman Podhoretz, My Love Affair with America (New York: Free Press, 2000), 3-4. For examples of this patriotism see Edith Kurzweil, ed., "Our Country, Our Culture," in A Partisan Century: Political Writings from Partisan Review (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), 115-137.
(52.) Toledano, "America-I-Love-You," American Mercury (July, 1955), 5-7.
(53.) Toledano, "Notes for a Controversy," National Review, September 22, 1956, 15.
(54.) Bloom, Prodigal Sons, 22; Irving Howe, World of Our Fathers (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1976), 599.
(55.) Diane Matza, "A Leap of Faith, Sephardic Style," Studies in American Jewish Literature 25 (2006), 133. Tellingly, Toledano's visit to Spain animated a similar "soul shaping power" and profoundly influenced him. See Toledano, "Spain and the Jews," August 3, 1968, King Features.
(56.) Toledano, Lament, 6 801.
(57.) Toledano, Lament. 218, 256-259; Nash, Conservative Movement, 56.
(58.) Abraham J. Heschel, "The Two Great Traditions: The Sephardim and the Ashkenazim," Commentary 5, no. 5 (1948), 416-418.
(59.) Toledano, Lament, 201.
(60.) For more on this, see H. Toledano, Sephardic Legacy, 125-184.
(61.) H. Toledano, Sephardic Legacy, 222.
(62.) Toledano tied his own faith to prayers his Moroccan-born grandmother, Estrella, would chant on Sabbath, and to "the African soil which had nourished her ancestors," and "golden culture which they had helped to form ever since a dimly recorded time of debarkation from the Phoenician ships to Spanish soil." See Toledano, Lament, Z45-247.
(63.) William F. Buckley Jr., "Pierced by Forever, Worried by Now," National Review, March 6, 1995, 68-69. Excerpts are from Toledano, The Apocrypha of Limbo (Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing, 1994), https://books.google.co.il/books?id=h6GsGq5yUu8C&q= 3#v=onepage&q=lord&f=false.
(64.) Daniel J. Elazar, The Other Jews: The Sephardim Today (New York: Basic Books, 1988), 33. On the medieval Sephardic poets see H. Toledano, Sephardic Tradition, 49-84.
(65.) Toledano, "Three Devotions," Modern Age (Fall 1961), 417-419.
(66.) Toledano, "On Poetry: The Fallacy of Truth," Modern Age (Winter 1975), 41-47.
(67.) Aviva Ben-Ur, Sephardic Jews in America: A Diasporic History (New York: New York University Press, 2009), 3-4.
(68.) Toledano, "Among the Ashkenazim," Commentary 101, no. 6 (1996), 48-50.
(69.) Toledano, "The Road to Anti-Communism," American Mercury (April 1954), 29-36 at 35.
(70.) Chambers, Notes, 163.
(71.) Toledano, Notes, 282; Toledano, "Towards a Higher Imperative," Modern Age (Fall 1978), 417
(72.) Toledano, Lament, 66 & 213.
(73.) Elazar, Other Jews, 7-8, 33, 8i 196.
(74.) Daniel J. Elazar, Covenant and Polity in Biblical Israel (New Brunswick: Transaction, 1998).
(75.) Daniel J. Elazar, "Toward a Political History of the Sephardic Diaspora," Jewish Political Studies Review 5, nos. 3-4 (1993): 6-11; Daniel J. Elazar, "Some Preliminary Observations on the Jewish Political Tradition," Tradition 18, no. 3 (1980): 263-264.
(76.) Elazar, "Preliminary Observations," 251-262.
(77.) See Steven Teles, The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement: The Battle for Control of the Law (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010).
(78.) Toledano, Let our Cities Burn (New Rochelle: Arlington House, 1975), 33.
(79.) Toledano, Lament, 184.
(80.) Toledano to Buckley, September 20, 1969, Toledano Papers.
(81.) See Toledano, Devil Take Him (New York: Putnam, 1979); Holley, "Toledano."
(82.) Buckley, "Toledano, RIP."
(83.) During this period the syndicate reached nearly forty publications around the country. See Brian Walker, "100 Years of King Features Syndicate," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 15, 2015, at http://www.seattlepi.com/comics-and-games/fun/article/100-yearsof-King-Features-Syndicate-6524682.php.
(84.) On Israel, see Dani File, The Political Right in Israel: Different Faces of Jewish Populism (London: Routledge, 2010), 79-103; Merav Alush-Levron, "Why do Mizrahim actually vote for the Right?" Haaretz, March 16, 2017, https://www.haaretz.co.il/opinions/. premium-1.3934355. On France, see Adi Schwartz, "Netanyahu. Oui! French-Born Israeli Elected to National Assembly with Backing of PM," Tablet, July 29, 2013, https://www. tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/139039/netanyahu-meyer-habib-france; Cnaan Liphshiz, "Why these 5 European Jews are promoting far-right parties," JTA, March 28, 2017, https://www.jta.org/2017/03/28/news-opinion/world/why-these-5-european-jewsare-promoting-far-right-parties.
(85.) Among them were the Spanish-American labor leader Saby Nehama, socialist activists from Salonika's vibrant leftwing community like Alberto Moreau and Avraam Benaroya, and the Israeli Black Panthers. See Daniel Katz, All Together Different: Yiddish Socialists, Garment Workers, and the Labor Roots of Multiculturalism (New York: New York University Press, 2011), 132 & 172; Mark Mazower, Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews 1430-1950 (New York: Vintage, 2006), 269-271; Amos Elon, "Black Panthers of Israel," New York Times, September 21, 1971, 33.
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|Publication:||American Jewish History|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2019|
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