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April 25, 2013 By:
Local Dealer Puts RFK Letter Up for Sale
The Raab Collection, a Philadelphia-based dealer of historic documents, has put up for sale a letter written during the Six-Day War by Robert F. Kennedy, in which he reiterated his support for Israel.
The letter was acquired earlier this month from a private collector and put up for sale on April 25, according to Nathan Raab, who runs the business with his father, Steven. The company has offices in Rittenhouse Square and Ardmore.
The asking price on the Raab Collection website is $4,500.
The letter is dated June 9, 1967, was written on Senate stationery and was addressed to a New York doctor, Theodore Kahn. It came in response to an inquiry by Kahn about Kennedy’s stance on the hostilities in the Middle East, which lasted from June 5-10.
“Thank you for letting me have your views on the war in the Near East,” began the New York senator, who had covered Israel’s War for Independence for the Boston Post as a 22-year-old correspondent and had written favorably of the Jewish fight to establish a nation.
“We can welcome the United Nation’s call for a cease fire, but a cease fire is not enough,” continued the younger brother of the slain president. “We must deal with the causes of the conflict by ensuring a permanent and enforceable guarantee of Israel’s right to live secure from invasion, and free passage for ships of all nations through the Gulf of Aqaba and the Suez Canal.”
Less than a year after writing these words, Kennedy was gunned down by an assassin, Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, a Palestinian born in Jerusalem who said he was motivated by the senator’s support for the Jewish state. The 42-year-old Kennedy had just won the California primary and was the likely Democratic nominee for the presidency.
Raab, who grew up on the Main Line and attended Adath Israel in Merion Station, called the letter a “powerful statement that had great meaning back then. I think it resonates today as much as it did back then.”