Monday, November 03, 2014

Looking at US-Israel Relations

Despite early American almost unqualified support for the idea of a Jewish National Home, almost but not quite, and stretching back to the colonial era and into the 19th century (see here)

and despite the country being Israel's greatest ally over the decades, one cannot ignore the anomaly of almost repetitive and consistent errors of policy to Israel's detriment.  There is a need for perspective especially on the recent fallout 'chickensh*t' affair.

Between 1936-1939, the administration failed to adequately press Great Britain to fulfil the terms of its shared convention.

One the eve of World War II, Jews fleeing to Mandate Palestine were not at all aided by Roosevelt.  Anti-Semitism in American officialdom doomed the Jews of Europe during the Holocaust.

In 1945, Ibn Saud was the president's consultant.  On August 24, 1945: Loy Henderson, director of the State Department's Near East Agency, wrote to Secretary of State James Byrnes that the United States would lose its moral prestige in the Middle East if it supported Jewish aspirations in Palestine.

On the eve of statehood, the partition plan was dropped and trusteeship was promoted.

Jerusalem as Israel's capital was opposed:-
The United States undertook, however, to give due recognition to the formal acts of the General Assembly and the Trusteeship Council relating to Jerusalem and has since maintained its position that the Holy Places in the Jerusalem area are of international interest to a degree which transcends ordinary considerations of sovereignty.

...On July 9, 1952, the Embassy at Tel Aviv handed an aide-mémoire to the Israel Government (enclosed)/2/ stating that the United States Government did not view favorably the transfer of the Israel Foreign Office to Jerusalem, and that there was no intention of transferring the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Our position, as frequently stated, is: "the status of Jerusalem is a matter of United Nations concern and no member of the United Nations should take any action to prejudice the United Nations interest in this question. Our objective has been to keep the Jerusalem question an open one and to prevent its being settled solely through the processes of attrition and fait accompli to the exclusion of international interest and an eventual final expression thereof presumably through the United Nations."

Israel's reprisal policy during the early 1950s was opposed, as this report from
January 1952

as in this memo from February 1953:

President Eisenhower forced Israel to withdraw from Sinai in 1957.  The Sec'y of State didn't think on March 19, 1957 anything bad would develop:

Only in 1962 were effective modern weapons sytems supplied to Israel, this in opposition of the traditional stance of opposing such sales.

American officials couldn't find a copy of the Tripartite agreement that would protect Israel's freedom of waterways just prior to the Six Days' War in 1967.

The 1975 reassessment tension.  The Bush-Baker-Shamir guarantees bash. Jonathan Pollard.

And I could go on.

On all these negative issues, America has been wrong as the developments were how Israel foresaw them.  America has been wrong diplomatically, militarily, morally and economically.  Time and again, years go by and Israel's positions have been proven correct.

Israel is grateful for American grass-roots support, for Congressional support and for the support of individuals in government and the occasional support from presidential administrations.

But the reality is a difficult one.



Anonymous said...

Mr. Medad,

It's very refreshing to read something so honest about the attitude and policies of the American Government towards Israel, let alone the pre-1948 attitude of the United States towards the nominal idea of Jewish statehood.

Alas, such intellectual honesty is sadly rare, particularly in the "Jewish community".

In this respect, you and your readers may be interested in the following essay by Francisco Gil-White, which appeared some years ago:

Yasher koach.

Batya said...

This post was chosen to be included in the very latest roundup of  Jewish and Israeli Blog Posts, aka Havel Havelim, which now comes out every few weeks. Please visit, comment and share thanks. And you're very welcome to get more involved in the Jewish blogging community.