Truman and the Founding of Israel by Ronald Radosh ,. Truman and the Founding of Israel 3. Hardcover , pages. Published May 12th by Harper first published May 1st A Safe Haven for These People: Truman and the Founding of Israel. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about A Safe Haven , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Jan 25, Darryl Mexic rated it it was amazing Shelves: By that time, there was already a substantial Jewish presence in Palestine agitating for a National Jewish homeland.
Years later, Britain issued its so called White Paper, in which it effectively reneged on its promise. After World War II and the Nazi extermination of millions of European Jews, the incentive for Jews to emigrate from Europe to Palestine was great and it was accompanied by world wide sympathy for their plight. Britain was getting no help in Palestine and grew weary of the cost in sterling and in adverse public opinion, so decided to throw the entire issue of what to do about Palestine to the newly created United Nations.
Should it be split between a Jewish homeland and an Arab state, should it be some sort of a confederation of a Jewish part and an Arab part, should it be an Arab state with a Jewish minority, or should the U. Only a separate state would insure unlimited Jewish immigration and would be satisfactory to the Jews.
Only an Arab state throughout Palestine would be acceptable to the Arabs. Britain and the U. It is absolutely fascinating and reads like a mystery. I could not put it down, even though I knew the ending. Dec 14, Blaine Welgraven rated it it was amazing.
I've read a lot of articles, white papers, and books on the Middle East, but nothing that compares with this tightly woven, thoroughly detailed, and completely absorbing work by Dr. Radosh on the foreign policy and political intrigue surrounding the founding of the State of Israel. Starting with the Balfour Declaration in , Haven proceeds to weave an intense narrative that is smoothly paced, even as it contains an abundance of primary sources Magnificent.
Starting with the Balfour Declaration in , Haven proceeds to weave an intense narrative that is smoothly paced, even as it contains an abundance of primary sources telegrams, meeting notes, diary entries balanced again traditional autobiographies and current affairs pieces mostly from the era. Despite the massive amount of data and source material, Dr. Radosh never allows Haven to feel forced or pedantic.
Even a minor history buff knows the outcome of this seeming diplomatic impasse in history, but I found myself totally enveloped in the urgent drama Haven accurately recreates. Radosh notes--it already has been Israel in the Mind of America, N member states during the days leading up to the critical vote for independence.
State Department, which effectively functioned as Truman's behind-the-scenes opponent for much of the Israeli-Arab debate earning his permanent distrust in the process. The crystalline picture that emerges is one of a U. The dynamics between Truman's Oval Office and Gen. Marshall's State Department are some of Haven's most fascinating moments. Neither hagiographic nor antagonistic in tone, Haven portraits a human with decided beliefs, swayed and shaped by political circumstances, but ultimately remaining constant to those core principles. Regardless of your current political stance on the Middle East, Safe Haven delivers a strongly historical, well-researched, and entirely enjoyable read.
Your base of knowledge will certainly be improved for having taken this journey. Nov 25, Kenneth Barber rated it really liked it.
You are here
This book follows the events that led to the founding of the state of Israel. Truman had come to the presidency after the death of FDR in April, In the end, Truman was willing to go against the current of his most trusted foreign policy advisers, who were absolutely opposed to the establishment of a Jewish state in the Middle East.
These advisers argued that however humanitarian a Jewish homeland might seem, such a proposition posed a real risk to American interests in the Near East and to United States national security in the late s. Despite their continued opposition, Truman stood his ground and maintained that he would decide the entire issue based on what he thought was right. Of interest to historians, and students of Israel and of the U. Benson has done very thorough research, and he does indeed prove Truman's lifelong dedication to the Bible, as well as his morality What is most notable about this book is its total pro-Israel orientation.
Benson has blended the best of political and historical research skills in this work The last lines are revealing. At least in this case, Truman was expressing a philosophy about underdogs rather than venting against the Jews in particular. He was also frustrated by the opposition to allowing admittance of Jews to the United States. The , displaced persons were a problem he had to solve somehow, yet all rational solutions seemed to be blocked. Special Adviser Clark Clifford had warned Truman that the Soviets would use Palestine as a lever to gain influence to the Middle East, on the one hand supporting Jewish immigration, and on the other inflaming the Arabs against the US.
However, as the Soviet Union had now come out in favor of partition, Truman, having previously supported it, could certainly do no less. Truman's support for a Jewish state remained cautious and conditional. He was especially irritated by the torrent of support for a Jewish state from Zionists, and became more so as time went on. I put it all in a pile and struck a match to it -- I never looked at a single one of the letters because I felt the United Nations Committee was acting in a judicial capacity and should not be interfered with.
Nobody else recalls any such documents being burned however. Truman was apparently persuaded by Chaim Weizmann, brought to the White House in November by the indefatigable Eddie Jacobson, to support keeping the Negev, about half the area of Israel, in the Jewish state. The vote was postponed from Wednesday, giving the lobbyists Thursday, the Thanksgiving holiday, to change votes.
The Arab countries exerted pressure against partition. Pressure from Zionists, US officials and former officials was brought to bear on countries that were intending to vote against partition. Greece was threatened with loss of foreign aid. Apparently on the prompting of former Secretary of State Stettinus, tire manufacturer Harvey Firestone threatened Liberia with a rubber embargo. Though newspapers accused State Department officials of acting against partition, at least some State department officials were directly involved in lobbying for it. Greece voted against partition anyway, but other countries changed their vote.
The partition resolution was duly passed. As soon as the resolution passed however, the State Department went to work systematically to undo it. The Palestine problem was dwarfed by the problems arising in Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean, where country after country was falling under Soviet influence. The US was demobilizing rapidly and had to decide whether to maintain a military footing to counter the USSR, and to face the possibility of another war, that would increase US dependence on Arab oil.
The Presidential staff in those days was tiny, and Truman had to read each and every one of these documents. Palestine was a side show, so the State Department could act more or less independently in many ways, and despite official support for partition, most State Department officials remained opposed. On December 5, the US declared an arms embargo in the Middle East, which prevented the Jews from getting arms, but did not affect contracts of the Arab states with Great Britain.
The stand of President Truman on this embargo is unclear. Having withdrawn the means of defense, the State Department then tried to prove that the Jews would not be able to defend themselves in case of Arab attack. A secret memo on December 17 called for the US to renounce partition as impractical and asked that the US should convene a special session of the UN General Assembly to work out a "middle of the road" solution that would win support from Jews and Arabs. If this would be impossible, the US should favor a trusteeship plan, an idea that was favored by Loy Henderson, and that had been incubated for several months in the State Department.
Another secret report, at the end of from the American Consul General in Jerusalem, Robert Macatee, warned that " if the UN expects to be able to partition Palestine without forces to help maintain order and to enforce partition, its thinking is most unrealistic and its efforts will be in vain. A position paper issued January 19, claimed that whereas the US had voted for partition believing that the Arabs would cooperate, and that this was doubtful now. On January 15, the Arab League had again announced their intention to prevent partition by force.
The paper recommended returning the question for discussion in the UN. The notion that the US had voted for partition believing that the Arabs would cooperate is difficult to believe. Truman was certainly aware of Arab opposition. The Arab League and the Arab Higher Committee had made clear their opposition to partition both before and after the partition vote, in quite unequivocal terms, and had graphically described exactly what they planned to do to the Jews of Palestine. However, the State Department wanted to defuse the Palestine issue to leave it free to deal with Europe, and the notion of committing US troops to Palestine in the face of possible obligations in Greece and Czechoslovakia was unpalatable.
During this period, George Marshall said that in Europe, the United States was playing with fire without having anything to put it out.
Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel
Truman's response was not satisfactory, and the visitors became adamant. If anyone is going to do any shouting or pounding in here, it will be me. Truman had them ushered out of the Oval Office, and said to his staff. Don't ever admit them again, and what's more, I also never want to hear the word Palestine mentioned again. As the day of British withdrawal drew nearer, the State Department and Department of Defense did not despair of blocking partition. Instead, they wanted the US to replace the partition plan with a Trusteeship plan.
Truman had apparently in fact approved a draft of this plan in February , and UN delegates understood from a speech made by UN delegate Warren Austin, on February 24, that the US might be abandoning partition and seeking a trusteeship solution. Truman at first refused. He wrote on February 27 to Jacobson that he would not learn anything new from Weizmann, and added: The British have, of course, been exceedingly uncooperative. The Zionists, of course, have expected a big stick approach on our part, and naturally have been disappointed when we can't do that. However, Jacobson met Truman on March 13, Truman was furious over the pressure tactics applied by Zionist leaders.
Truman and US Support for Israel
Jacobson said later, " I suddenly found myself thinking, that my dear friend, the President of the United States, was at that moment as close to being an anti-Semite as a man could possibly be, and I was shocked that some of our own Jewish leaders should be responsible for Mr.
Nonetheless, after considerable persuasion, Truman said, " You win, you baldheaded son-of-a-bitch. I will see him. On March 18, , Truman met Weizmann and reassured him of US support for a Jewish state, promising to recognize the state whether or not it was declared under UN auspices. However, the State Department was still working at cross purposes to the White house.
This was contrary to a specific request made by Truman in February, in which he also instructed Marshall that the statement to be made by Austin should be cleared with Truman. On March 19, , Warren Austin, U. According to Clifford, Truman said, "I assured Chaim Weizmann that we were for partition and would stick to it. He must think I am a plain liar.
He wrote in his diary: I didn't expect that would happen. In Key-West or en route there from St. Croix I approved the speech and statement of policy by Sen. This morning I find that the State Department has reversed my Palestine policy. The first I know about it is what I see in the papers! Now, I am placed in a position of a liar and double-crosser. There are people on the third and fourth levels of the State Dept.
They've succeeded in doing so. Marshall's in California and Lovett's in Florida What is not generally understood is that the Zionists are not the only ones to be considered in the Palestine question. There are other interests that come into play, each with its own agenda. The military is concerned with the problems of defending a newly created small country from attacks by much larger and better trained Arab nations. Others have selfish interests concerning the flow of Arab oil to the U.
Since they all cannot have their way, it is a perfect example of why I had to remember that 'The Buck Stops Here. There are slightly different versions of the above given at the Truman Library Web site and in Robert J. On the following day, Truman wrote to his sister that the "striped pants conspirators" in the State Department had "completely balled up the Palestine situation.
Marshall makes a statement. Doesn't help a bit. On March 25, Truman issued a statement about the trusteeship plan at a press conference , saying the trusteeship plan was a contingency that might be necessary only as an interim measure, and not as a replacement for partition: