By: Allan Schwartz  | 

Dr. J. Dunner Explains His Opinions On World (Vol. 40, Issue 3)

What would you say about a man who was chief of intelligence section OWI (London, England) in 1944-45, was head of the press control section of Information Control in Munich, Germany 1945-46, was the director of the Institution of International Affairs 1946-58, and in 1954 was decorated with the Order of Ouissam Alaouite Cherifren by the Sultan of Morocco? Would you have any further comment if I told you that he was a foreign correspondent under the names Germanicus and Alexander Roth for the Swiss Press and Deutsche Freiheit, is a director of the American Friends of Hebrew University, the author of over ten books, and President of the Jewish Freedom League in America? Now for the final and decisive question, Would you believe he teaches here, at Yeshiva University?

Dr. Joseph Dunner, educator, author, and international figure, was born in Germany, May 10, 1908, He has studied in the University of Berlin, University of Frankfurt-Main, and in the University of Basel. Since then he has left his mark everywhere. He was a leader of Germany's Social Democratic Party in 1933, worked under three American Presidents (Roosevelt, Truman, and Nixon) and he has been one of the most active figures in American-Israeli relations. Recently, The Commentator spoke with Dr, Dunner about his views on modern world problems.

When asked about the latest Mideast war, he replied, “I am a life-long Zionist. When the crisis started I called Mr. Nixon (after Yom Kippur). He immediately let me know that arms will be forthcoming to Israel. The government of Israel was too overconfident. The threat of war existed and, this April, I warned the Israeli ambassador to the U.N. that the Arabs are much better armed than last time, and that this time they will counter with a much better effort. This has proven to be true.”

Dr. Dunner asserted that Israel knew the attack was imminent. Their policy was, at any circumstance, not to appear to the world at large as the ones who started it. “I, for one, understand that policy, but don’t approve of it. I don't give a damn about public opinion. First save a life, then examine public opinion. The peaceniks in our camp are the greatest aggressors in Jewish life.” When you live with the idea to appease others, you lose Jewish lives. For this reason 600-700 Jewish boys were killed.” Dr. Dunner disapproved of the way the Israeli government handled it. “If I were in the Israeli government, I would have asked for an attack on Egypt and Syria before Yom Kippur.”

According to the professor, the crisis will last a long time. He has no illusions about the cease-fire; it will not last. “Israel must have secure borders and my hope is that the United States will continue to arm her. If the Arabs know that Israel is well armed, they'll think twice before they attack a next time.”

According to Dr. Dunner, the United Nations is a farce. “I have never accepted the U.N. The Soviet Union is not anxious to lose face and the arms it gave the Arabs, so it joined the United States in making the resolution in the Security Council. The minute the Arabs were about to lose the war, the Security Council went into action. If Israel was about to lose the war, the Security Councill wouldn't have moved. The one vote Israel can count on is that of the United States.”

Those who know Dr. Dunner are aware that he headed an investigation of the Munich Massacre. “I was asked by the government of West Germany, which was anxious to have in the investigation someone whose word wouldn't be doubted and by Israel to see what went on.”

As it happened, “the Israeli athletes were warned again and again by the authorities of Munich and by the Israeli Consulate that there might be an Arab attack. They were offered by the police president (commissioner) of Munich special protection. He wanted to put plainclothes city policemen in every part of the dormitory with machine guns. The Israeli athletes turned down the German authorities and the Israeli Ambassador. The attack was organized by the Communist Youth Organization, who sheltered, fed, and familiarized them with the terrain. They were warned again and again... but the athletes wanted to have a good time. In fact, some of them were drunk, coming back from a Munich pub, when the attack came. I'm convinced the German government did all in its power to protect them.”

As a personal friend of President Nixon, Dr. Dunner describes him as a “very cold man. He is not easily approached and isolates himself very much. He doesn’t have a human warmth. That is his most unfortunate characteristic and it gives people the wrong impression.”