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Truman and Israel

I don't think that one can truly understand the formation of Israel without reviewing Harry Truman's thought process in the recognition of Israel. Truman was a contradiction in many ways. He contemplated joining the KKK, yet he desegregated the military. He also made many Antisemitic statements, yet one of his dearest friends was his business partner, Eddie Jacobson. According to Henry Wallace, Truman said, "Jesus Christ couldn't please them when he was here on earth, so how can anyone expect that I would have any luck?"

Truman wrote in his memoirs, "The question of Palestine as a Jewish homeland goes back to the solemn promise that had been made to them [the Jews] by the British in the Balfour Declaration of 1917 - a promise which had stirred the hopes and the dreams of these oppressed people. This promise, I felt, should be kept, just as all promises made by responsible, civilized governments should be kept." http://www.mideastweb.org/us_supportforstate.htm

It took Truman a long time to feel this way. When he finally came to that conclusion it was against the advise of then Secretary of State, George Marshall, who felt that many Jews were communists. Therefore, Israel would fall under the influence of the Soviet Union.

It's easy in 2009 to proclaim that the formation of the State of Israel was a mistake. But in a poll taken in July, 1947, 65% of the American people supported the formation of Israel. http://www.mideastweb.org/us_supportforstate.htm

Was the formation of Israel a mistake? I don't think that we can answer that question today. I think that it has to be examined by eyes of someone who was fully cognizant of the choices in that era.


Jan. 12th, 2009 04:45 am (UTC)
I'm not saying it was a bad idea and I would have supported it then as now. I just strongly feel that a lot could have been done that would have prevented most of the violence that's occurred over the past 60 years. I hate violence, I hate meanness and cruelty and prejudice and hurt, and I just wish (for all the good it does) that this could have been resolved in a less bloody manner.

As an unfailing optimist, I think if moderates from either side would sit down together with open minds, and not be killed by extremists from either side, things could be resolved. I think America and the countries who participated in the creation of Israel have a responsibility to help with that. It seems the majority of others disagree though.



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