Truman and Israel

The Truman Administration’s policy on Palestine challenges at its start the “strategic asset” view of the US-Israel relationship, and reinforces the “Israel lobby” view, as argued in the recent article by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. Truman’s support for the creation of a Jewish state was due entirely to the US Jewish community, without whose influence Zionist achievements in Palestine would have been for nought. Long before any strategic argument was made, indeed, while a Jewish state was considered a strategic liability, long before Israel’s fundamentalist Christian supporters of today we re on the map, the nascent Israel lobby deployed its manifold resources with consummate skill and ruthlessness.

Rabbi Abba Silver, a Cleveland Zionist with Republican contacts, and Zionist official Emmanuel Neumann, initiated “Democratic and Republican competition for the Jewish vote.” In 1944 they “wrung support from the conventions of both parties for the Taft-Wagner [Senate] resolution” supporting abrogation of the Palestine immigration limits in the 1939 British white paper, and the establishment of Palestine as a Jewish commonwealth. Ensuring the traditional loyalty of Jewish voters was a paramount concern of Democratic politicians, up to the president himself, in the New York mayoral election of 1945, the 1946 congressional elections, and the 1948 presidential election.

Gentile opinion was also courted in non-electoral ways, through the American Palestine Committee of notables, organized in 1941 by Emmanuel Neumann of the American Zionist Emergency Committee. By 1946 it included “sixty-eight senators, two hundred congressmen and several state governors” with “seventy-five local chapters.” It became  “the preeminent symbol of pro-Zionist sentiment among the non-Jewish American public.'” It was entirely a Zionist front.

Entire article (PDF with notes) is at Truman and Israel

On Counterpunch, June 3, 2006, at Truman and Israel

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