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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

"JFK: Destiny Betrayed" Misleads on Jack Ruby

Oliver Stone's so-called documentary series, JFK: Destiny Betrayed, misleads viewers on the motivations of Jack Ruby. In Episode 2, there is a brief video clip at 55:06:

Jack Ruby: The people who had to have so much to gain, and had such an ulterior motive, to put me in [the] position I'm in, will never let the true facts come above board to the world.

Here is the full transcript:

Jack Ruby: The only thing I can say -- what is your name, and I’ll know how to...

Interviewer: Harry Kennedy.

Jack Ruby: Harry Kennedy. Everything pertaining to what's happening has never come to the surface. The world will never know the true facts, of what occurred, my motives. Uh, in other words, I'm the only person in the background that knows the truth pertaining to everything relating to my testimony.

Interviewer: Do you think it will ever come out?

Jack Ruby: No, because, unfortunately, the people had to have so much to gain and had such an ulterior motive for putting me in [the] position I'm in, will never let the true facts come above board to the world.

Interviewer: Are these people in very high positions, Jack?

Jack Ruby: Yes.

This video is an interview with Ft. Worth TV station KTVT and was shot during a break in court proceedings, related to his appeal, on September 9, 1965.

It is clear that there are some edits in the video. What is more important is that Ruby is talking about his testimony before the Warren Commission. The so-called truth that he is talking about is not some conspiracy but the veracity of his Warren Commission testimony. Indeed, here is another video of Jack Ruby, probably just before the above video:

Ruby is talking about the lie detector test that he took for the Warren Commission. He seems upset that the Warren Commission didn't provide a judgment as to whether he passed or failed the test This was a very important point for Ruby because he wanted to prove to the world that he alone killed Oswald, The only way to truly understand why this was so important to Jack Ruby is to understand the importance of his Jewish identity.

He was born Jacob Rubenstein in 1911 to parents born in Poland. He spoke Yiddish in their kosher home and he received some Hebrew school training. His parents fought violently and Rubenstein was placed in a foster home in 1923 and was there for 18 months. He served in the Air Force in 1943 and was discharged in 1946. When a Sergeant called him a "Jew bastard," Rubenstein attacked him.

Rubenstein moved to Dallas in 1947 where his sister Eva Grant lived. He became the manager of her nightclub. That same year Jack and his brothers, Earl and Sam, changed their names to Ruby. Earl said "it was preferable not to use a Jewish name" for his business.

Jack Ruby's Jewish identify motivated a large part of his thinking and his actions. He had a life-long record of volatile responses to antisemites. On one occasion in 1946, Ruby returned from downtown Chicago with his suit covered in blood. He explained that he had fought with a person who had called him a "a dirty Jew or something like that."

He also participated in street fights against the German-American Bund before World War II and he said that he "cracked a few heads." Ruby told Rabbi Hillel Silverman at his synagogue, Shearith Israel, in Dallas that "he frequently engaged in physical combat with persons making derogatory remarks concerning his Jewish background." Ruby forbade comedians at his club to tell stories directed at Jews or about Jewish practices.

On the morning of November 22, 1963 this advertisement appeared in the Dallas Morning News:

The ad was signed by Bernard Weissman which is a Jewish name. Jack Ruby noticed this and he also noticed that there was a post office box associated with the ad.

These billboards were also around Dallas:

“Mrs. Grant testified that her brother was still disturbed about the Weissman advertisement when he arrived, showed her the photograph of the Warren sign…Still curious as to whether or not Weissman was Jewish, Mrs. Grant asked her brother whether he had been able to find the name Bernard Weissman in the Dallas city directory, and Ruby said he had not. Their doubts about Weissman’s existence having been confirmed, both began to speculate that the Weissman ad and the Warren sign were the work of either ‘Commies or the Birchers,’ and were designed to discredit the Jews.”

At 4 PM on November 23rd Jack Ruby called his friend Stanley Kaufman. He said that "Jack was particularly impressed with the [black] border [of the Weissman ad] as being a tipoff of some sort - that this man knew the President was going to be assassinated."

Jack Ruby then closed his Carousel Club:

Ruby even placed an ad in the Dallas Morning News:

It was an impulsive act. And like other people who commit impulsive acts, Ruby came up with a variety of explanations after the fact:

  • He told Assistant District Attorney Bill Alexander, "Well, you guys couldn't do it. Someone had to do it. That son of a bitch killed my President." (page 399, Cased Closed)

  • Ruby told his Rabbi that he "did it for the Jewish people." He told Toni Zoppi of the Dallas Morning News that "he did it to prove to the world that 'Jews have balls.'" (page 85, Jack Ruby by Gary Willis and Ovid Demaris)

  • He also told a variety of people that he did it so that Mrs. Kennedy wouldn't have to go to a trial.

The assassination of JFK and the killing of Oswald left Ruby totally unhinged. The reaction of the far-right John Birch Society got to him. They always referred to Ruby as Rubenstein so as to emphasize a Jewish component of a supposed conspiracy to kill JFK. And that made Ruby worry that the Jews might be blamed (however unfairly) for the murder of Kennedy.

Ruby became extremely paranoid. He was examined on April 26, 1964: (The Trial of Jack Ruby, page 344 - 345)

“Dr. West had examined Ruby in a private interview room. The prisoner had appeared “Pale, tremulous, agitated and depressed.” Previously meticulous about his appearance, he was now “disheveled and unkempt.” It was the opinion of Dr. West that “at this time Mr. Ruby is obviously psychotic.” On the previous evening, the psychiatrist reported, Ruby had become convinced that “all the Jews in America were being slaughtered.” Ruby was certain that he was the cause of the mayhem. “Somehow, through an awful mistake, and the distortions and misunderstandings derived from his murder trial, the President’s assassination and its aftermath were now being blamed on him,” with the result that he was now also the cause of the massacre of “twenty-five million innocent people.” Ruby, according to West, was positive that his brother Sam had been “tortured, mutilated, castrated and burned in the street outside the jail.” He had heard his brother’s screams and could still hear them at the time of the psychiatrist’s visit. When Dr. West attempted to convince him that no such events had taken place, Ruby had become furious.”

Jack Ruby testified before the Warren Commission on June 7, 1964. He made an impassioned plea to be taken to Washington:

Jack Ruby: There is only one thing. If you don't take me back to Washington tonight to give me a chance to prove to the President that I am not guilty, then you will see the most tragic thing that will ever happen.

Conspiracy theorists convinced themselves that Ruby wanted to spill the beans about either the conspiracy to kill JFK or his orders to kill Oswald. They ignore parts of his testimony before the Warren Commission where he spelled out exactly why he wanted to to Washington:

Mr. Ruby: Unfortunately, you don’t have, because it is too late. And I wish that our beloved President, Lyndon Johnson, would have delved deeper into the situation, hear me, not to accept just circumstantial facts about my guilt or innocence, and would have questioned to find out the truth about me before he relinquished certain powers to these certain people.

Chief Justice Warren: Well, I am afraid I don’t know what power you believe we relinquished to them. I think that it is difficult to understand what you have to say.

Mr. Ruby: I want to say this to you. The Jewish people are being exterminated at this moment. Consequently a whole new form of government is going to take over our country, and I know I won’t live to see you another time.

He then said:

Mr. Ruby: All I know is maybe something can be saved. Because right now, I want to tell you this, I am used as a scapegoat, and there is no greater weapon that you can use to create some falsehood about some of the Jewish faith, especially as the terrible heinous crime such as the killing of President Kennedy. Now maybe something can be saved. It may not be too late, whatever happens, if our President, Lyndon Johnson, knew the truth from me.

The reason he wanted to go to Washington was to tell Lyndon Johnson that the Jews were being blamed for the assassination and that there might be a second holocaust.

In 1965, Jack Ruby was examined by psychiatrist Werner Tuteur. He told Tuteur about the conspiracy to kill JFK - but when asked for proof all he did was retrieve the book Who Killed Kennedy? by Thomas Buchanan:

Tuteur saw Ruby's paranoia up close:

And Ruby being 'framed' to kill Oswald:

You can download Dr. Werner Tuteur's complete psychiatric evaluation here:

tuteur psychiatric report on ruby
Download PDF • 1.77MB

JFK: Destiny Betrayed uses a short clip of Jack Ruby to try and persuade viewers that he had knowledge of a huge conspiracy. They can only do this by ignoring his experiences with antisemitism and how that affected his mental health. Ruby believed that a second Holocaust was coming because some people thought that, as a Jew, he was part of a conspiracy. That was why he wanted the Warren Commission to clearly state that he was telling the truth during his polygraph examination.

Viewers of JFK: Destiny Betrayed deserve better.

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