Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Israel’s Future

Here’s a fascinating and provocative article about the future of Israel. A key part of its message: That country’s main worry isn’t a nuclear weapon launched from Iran. Another concerns the connection between demography and destiny. I don’t know enough to judge the specific claims made here, but maybe you do.

Discussions - 32 Comments

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Sigh.

WEll, sorry, I'll try to get around this later. Meanwhile, it's near the end or maybe the end of the feature article section of the current issue. Stop by Barnes and Noble on the way home and read it.

I am a citizen of the U.S. The U.S. is my main concern. And since I am of European ancestry, like all authentic Americans, Europe is my second greatest concern. In short, I could care less about Israel. If it were to drop off tomorrow into the sea, I wouldn't lose a minute of sleep. Not that I wish Israel harm. I don't. I just don't care one way or the other.

You must unlearn your hatred for the Other.

Real Conservative - Honesty is a minimal virtue. The existence of Israel as a Jewish state is tightly and rightly linked to America's interests and to any morally worthy furture for the Republic. Do some reading and some thinking. If Israel drops off into the sea, it will because of a stupendous betrayal on the part of America AND Europe. Not caring does you no credit, and your rugged candor is an insufficient defense.

The United States did not initally publically support Israel at her inception. The training its military gained was from being in the British Military under the Palistinian banner and its equipment was mainly purloined from the Brits. It took many years for the United States to publicly and I believe actually support Israel.

That said, Israel should be completely supported by us, the United States. Sure, it was founded by communists or communist sympathyzers and is what I would deam a modern day socialist country, but without Israel the Islamofascists would countrol all of Christiandom's foundational sites and would be affront to Christianity in general. We in the West are not up to the real fight, that is the fight between Islam and Christianity. Islam is committed and is showing exactly how committe. Our sophistication is nothing but a reason for us to be defeated.

Israel seems so unimportant to RC that he just had to post something showing his lack of interest in it. Interesting, no?

Dale Michaud - President Truman would be interested in your comments! And David Ben Gurian and his followers were no communists.

As I said in another thread, Truman was talked into supporting Israel because he desperately needed to carry New York, and NYC was/is heavily Jewish. Nonetheless, I think the American people have by-and-large supported Israel as a kindred people fighting for their existence in a hostile territory. They may be Jewish, but they are also quite "western," "modern," and "democratic." Most Americans think that's enough reason to stand behind them, and I agree.

dain - Footnotes to yourself don't count, especially calumnious and historically mistaken ones. It's good to know that Jews, though Jews, are quite Western, modern, and democratic.

Well, Steve, no reason to get snotty about it. I was making allowances for religious bigotry there...and there certainly is some. And not all Jews, just like not all Christians, are western, modern or democratic.

So...back off, fella.

dain - What is the evidence again for your explanation of Truman's recognition of Israel?

David Ben-Gurion was a socialist.

Yep, the U.S. recognized Israel as a nation soon after it was founded. So did the U.S.S.R., but we did not help them found Israel and I assert it was not till much later, the 67 war, in which we actually started to give real support.

By the way, when Israel was founded, we had an arms embargo in the area.

I heard the link between recognition of Israel and Jewish voters on a television documentary, the name of which alludes me. It was "American Experience" of something like that. Nonetheless, there is certainly scholarly documentation for the link. I don't think it was the only reason Truman decided to recognize Israel, but it was certainly a factor. The 1948 race was very TIGHT, as you will recall.

Yes, close, and Truman lost NYS in 1948 to Dewey.

If anybody was going to "talk Truman into" anything regarding Israel, it would have been George Marshall. Marshall, the Secretary of State, famously told Truman that if the president recognized Israel, then he Marshall could not vote for Truman in 1948. There was nobody Truman admired more than Marshall. Truman was a politician, but my guess is that it was the confluence of principle and Cold War, more than New York voters, that prompted his decision to override Marshall and State.

Dale Michaud - Yes, Ben Gurian and Labor were democratic socialists. Is that what you meant by "communists or communist sympathizers"? Their democratic socialism did not make them either one, though they were glad to have Soviet recognition. We need some distinctions here, and some historical Verstehen.

Yea, Steve, let me guess...you are one of those "adjunct" instructors I hear about. Probably toiling away at some ginormous university...nameless, faceless, underpaid. But, despite having such a lowly position in the profession (history, or political science like most on this blog?), by God you're an EXPERT on all things Truman.

I look forward to reading your next book on "Give 'em Hell" Harry.

And P.S. -- the fact that he lost New York tells you how close the election was. He really NEEDED those voters in NYC.

dain - What the hell brought that on? Get a grip.

I was responding to YOUR gratuitous remarks on Truman.

You got something against adjuncts? They help pay your salary, assuming you, like me, have a regular appointment.

I think you'd better "get a grip." When you suggest a person is both a bigot and an ignoramus, things heat up pretty quick. You started the snottiness, not me. As for adjuncts (temporary teachers, yes?), I've heard stories, that's all.

That Truman backed the creation of Israel for political purposes is fairly well documented. Read Hamby's Man of the People, for example. The Republicans had already endorsed the idea, and Truman didn't want to lose the Jewish vote to Dewey. Moreover, the country that gave the warmest support to Israel in its early years was the Soviet Union, as Stalin believed that it could become a Soviet client state in the Middle East. It was only with the rise of secular nationalist regimes in Egypt and elsewhere that led the Soviets under Khrushchev to switch horses. Still, relations between the United States and Israel weren't terribly close until the late 1960s. U.S. policy was anything but pro-Israel during the Suez Crisis fo 1956, for example.

Yes, that is what I meant and I was not trying to be derogatory.

Thanks for setting the record straight, John. I knew I'd heard and read that often enough. I think there is some evidence that Truman was in favor of a homeland for the Jews prior to signing off on recognition, but I suspect the voting thing accelerated the timing quite a bit.

Of course, support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine ran strong in the United States generally after World War II. It was in large part thanks to pressure from Americans that Great Britain in 1945 rescinded its White Paper of 1939, which had barred Jewish immigration to the colony. Interestingly enough, the greatest resistance to supporting Israel came from the U.S. State Department, which was filled with Arabophiles, and American oil companies, who didn't want to endanger their connections with the Arab states.

So, after all, there's not much difference between us. I suppose I was reading "political reasons" as meaning mere expediency - and as directed specifically at Jewish New York. I was also put on edge by Real Conservative's post (#3), and by recent accusations (elsewhere; not here), like Mearscheimer's, that "Jews" have distorted American foreign policy - a subject I am NOT suggesting we pursue here.

dain - My #10 was snotty.

Steve, I hope I was not misleading people about Truman. I think he was a decent, Midwestern fellow, but it remains true that politicians do things out of expediency on occasion. While motivations can be complicated in such matters, I personally think Truman did the right thing when it came to recognizing Israel. It was never my intent to "cheapen" the goodness of the deed.

On the other hand, it diminishes Israel's claims to victimhood when one remembers that their nation was born in terrorism (e.g., the King David Hotel). Whenever I get "misty" thinking about our bond with Israel, I remember that, as well as a few other things (Jonathan Pollard).

Israel deserves our support, but they are a separate nation with separate interests. It is always good to keep that in mind.

Yes, and their record regarding the Palestinians is not spotless. How could it be, given Palestinian intransigence? (Thanks for responding.)

The question isn't whether politics influenced Truman's decision to recognize the state of Israel (which it most certainly did), but rather whether political considerations led him to do something that he believed ran counter to the interests of the United States. And there is no evidence that the latter is the case.

And yes, I understand dain's point, that Israel's founders employed tactics that resembled terrorism, but it's worth noting that the British were using the hotel as a command center--it wasn't filled with tourists, and arguably could be regarded as a legitimate military target. Secondly, the bombers gave advance warning of what was going to happen, and explicitly told the British that they should evacuate the building. Can you imagine Al-Qaeda acting in this way?

John, there is some controversy about whether that warning was received in time to do anything about it. More importantly, there were government employees in the building, not just police and military. Couldn't you equally justify the OKC bombing by saying it wasn't really terrorism because it was against a state apparatus that was viewed as oppressive and illegitmate?

No, John, it was terrorism, and it delegitimates (to some extent) Israel's claims to victimhood. Indeed, wasn't it a Jew who said "those who liveth by the sword shall die by the sword"? You reap what you sow...I'm just full of Biblical injunctions today!

This thread had a little anger but more respect for the facts. But I wish somebody could read the actual COMMENTARY article, which appears unlinkable right now. I don't doubt for a moment that we should do what we can to secure Israel. But: 1. Israel's long-term prospects may be bleak in ways beyond our control 2. Given that nation's most urgent threats, it would be nuts for us to the huge risk of bombing the heck out of Iran right now.

I want to read the Commentary piece as soon as I can. Meanwhile, I have no idea what the US can wisely do about Iran. Military action by either ourselves or the Israelis seems nuts to me, too.

Well, continue on, good sirs. I take my leave for a while...best of luck to you all.

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