Saturday, April 21, 2018

How Harry Truman Crossed His Own State Department to Recognize Israel in 1948 - by Efraim Karsh

In the moments leading up to Israel’s independence, America’s diplomats did everything they could to stop the process, and the president, cold.

Efraim Karsh..
Mosaic Magazine..
16 April 18'..

As Israel celebrates its 70th anniversary, Martin Kramer has shed fresh light on a key event in the days immediately preceding the proclamation of the state. This was the marathon meeting of the People’s Administration, soon to become the state’s provisional government, on May 12, 1948. Among the topics on the participants’ minds was the massive international campaign, led by the U.S. Department of State, to postpone any declaration of independence until such time as a UN-sponsored truce could pacify the situation in Palestine, where Arab anti-Jewish agitation was at a high pitch.

Kramer effectively demolishes the long-established trope that the Zionist leaders were seriously divided on the issue of whether or not to postpone independence and that therefore the matter finally had to be decided by a close vote. In meticulously overturning this piece of conventional wisdom, he renders an important service to the cause of historical accuracy while also underlining the utter congruence on this matter between the leaders of the state-to-be and the feelings of the Jewish public in “the 600,000-strong yishuv, which was steeling itself precisely for just such a day.”

Here I wish to embellish Kramer’s account by focusing on a truly contentious battle of opinions on this same subject that took place within the leadership of the United States. Fortunately for the Zionists, they had in Washington one powerful ally in their fight against the latest ploy to defer, if not to abort, the creation of a Jewish state: namely, President Harry Truman. Indeed, at precisely the same time as their own deliberations in Tel Aviv, Truman was laboring to convince George Marshall, his formidable secretary of state, that the U.S. should extend recognition to the soon-to-be-declared Jewish state.

And therein lies a tale.

(Continue to Full Story)

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