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A Question For Israel’s Independence Day: If Obama Was President in 1948 Would He Have Recognized Israel?

posted at 9:24 pm on April 25, 2012 by

Sixty-four years ago today(by the Hebrew calender) Israel declared her independence.  Israel’s independence would have been short lived were it not for the strong will of President Harry S Truman, who became the new Jewish State’s first international supporter, not because of any political stance, but because he thought it was the right thing to do.

When Israel’s Chief Rabbi, Isaac Herzog, visited the White House after Israel declared her independence he told Truman,

“God put you in your mother’s womb so that you would be the instrument to bring the rebirth of Israel after 2000 years.”

In a recent speech to AIPAC, President Obama said he had Israel’s back. It saddens me to say I cannot believe that statement.

Its hard to believe that Barack Obama would have made the same decision as Truman, if he was president 64-years-ago today.

Over the past three years he has tossed aside allies such as Great Britain, Honduras and Israel solely to score points with the socialist and Muslim parts of the world. Israel would have been cast aside in deference to the King of Saudi Arabia. He would have tried to negate the UN Partition Plan the same way he tried to pressure Honduras to ignore her constitution.

“What I am trying to do is make the whole world safe for Jews,”Harry Truman wrote as he agonized over his decision to recognize a Jewish state in Palestine.

Secretary of State George Marshall  (Time’s 1947 Man of the Year) was just as opposed to the creation of Israel as Truman was for it.

Clark M. Clifford, Special Counsel to President Truman at the time remembered the internal US fight regarding the recognition of the Jewish State— the final discussion in the oval office. The meeting turned out to be an angry battle with Clifford and the President on one side, Marshall and Undersecretary of State Robert Lovett on the other.

The argument used many of the same slanders as used today.

Lovett first argued that Truman was supporting Israel was solely for political gain and he warned the president that the move would lose more votes than it would gain. When that didn’t work, Lovett tried another approach the red scare (because you know all of those Jews are commies). As Clifford recalled:

“Mr. President, to recognize the Jewish state prematurely would be buying a pig in a poke,” Lovett continued. “How do we know what kind of Jewish state will be set up? We have many reports from British and American intelligence agents that Soviets are sending Jews and commu­nist agents into Palestine from the Black Sea area.” Lovett read some of these intelligence reports to the group. I found them ridiculous, and no evidence ever turned up to support them; in fact, Jews were fleeing communism throughout Eastern Europe at that very moment.”

When Lovett was done speaking it was Marshall’s turn:

“With barely contained rage and more than a hint of self-righ­teousness, he made the most remarkable threat I ever heard anyone make directly to a President: “If you follow Clifford’s advice and if I were to vote in the election, I would vote against you.”

Everyone in the room was stunned. Here was the indispensable symbol of continuity whom President Truman revered and needed, making a threat that, if it became public, could virtually seal the dissolution of the Truman Administration and send the Western Alliance, then in the process of creation, into disarray before it had been fully structured. Marshall’s statement fell short of an explicit threat to resign, but it came very close.”

General Marshall’s position was grossly unfair. Just as many opponents of the Jewish State claim today, Marshall believed the only reason a president would support Israel is if he folded to political pressure.

Marshall’s anger did not sway the President. Truman’s mind was made up, no matter what he was going to do the right thing.

At 4 p.m Israel time Friday May 14, 1948 just before the start of the Jewish Sabbath (at sundown), David Ben-Gurion read a 979-word declaration of independence in front of a small audience at the Tel Aviv Art Museum. After the reading he declared in his usual terse manner.

“The state of Israel is established! The meeting is ended.”

At midnight, British rule over Palestine lapsed; 11 minutes later White House spokesman Charlie Ross announced U.S. recognition.

In 1961 long after was out of office, Truman met with Israeli PM David Ben Gurion in NY:

“At our last meeting, after a very interesting talk, just before [the President] left me – it was in a New York hotel suite – I told him that as a foreigner I could not judge what would be his place in American history; but his helpfulness to us, his constant sympathy with our aims in Israel, his courageous decision to recognize our new state so quickly and his steadfast support since then had given him an immor­tal place in Jewish history. As I said that, tears suddenly sprang to his eyes. And his eyes were still wet when he bade me goodbye. I had rarely seen anyone so moved. I tried to hold him for a few minutes until he had become more composed, for I recalled that the hotel corridors were full of waiting journalists and photographers. He left. A little while later, I too had to go out, and a correspondent came to me to ask, “Why was President Truman in tears when he left you?”

I believe that I know. These were the tears of a man who had been subjected to calumny and vilification, who had persisted against powerful forces within his own Administration determined to defeat him. These were the tears of a man who had fought ably and honorably for a humani­tarian goal to which he was deeply committed. These were tears of thanksgiving that his God had seen fit to bless his labors with success.”

How times have changed.

In 1948 our president used a moral compass to decide foreign policy. Truman was a President who judged not whether things would make him popular in Europe and the Arab world, but whether it was the right thing for the US.  Truman felt that the best thing for America’s future was to take the leadership position of the entire world.

Our President today sees the US as nothing special, not a leader but one of many countries on the planet. He has described his strategy as “leading from behind” Doing the right thing is not as important as finding favor among those countries that hate us because of what we represent. And if that means we have to throw our historical allies under the bus, so be it.

The morality behind Truman’s direction helped to make America strong. Like most of his agenda, Obama’s “lets be friends with the people who hate us,” will only serve to drive this country towards mediocrity and put our children and grandchildren in danger.

Would Barack Obama had the moral courage to recognize the new Jewish State the way that Harry Truman did 64 years ago?

What do you think?

If you would like to read more from Jeff Dunetz, visit his site The Lid, by clicking here.

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Comments

What has happened to the U.S.?

Israel is probably our best ally, and a bulwark against the turmoil in the Middle East. We need them more than they need us. We need to let them know that we are with them.

Elric on April 25, 2012 at 9:58 PM

Elric on April 25, 2012 at 9:58 PM

It’s more apposite to ask what has happened to the world. The answer? Islamic jihad is back on, full force, and the world trembles before it. We’d rather hand over the Jews in the hopes that we can get a few more years of peace out of it, especially with rising anti-Jewish sentiments across the globe, including right here at home with the Buchanan-loving paleocons.

MadisonConservative on April 25, 2012 at 10:22 PM

Elric on April 25, 2012 at 9:58 PM

What’s happened is the camel jockeys came back from near-total irrelevance because of the oil deposits they were squatting on. They provided money for guns, propaganda, bribes, the whole 9 yards.

It’s been hundreds of years since they were anything close to a viable threat. But now they’re back loud and proud, and the West is playing the Laurel & Hardy film “Nation-Building” while they’re playing “Perfect Storm”.

MelonCollie on April 25, 2012 at 11:49 PM

that was quite an interesting read, it’s still relevant today as the state dept for whatever reason is arabist, probably as a legacy of realpolitick and perhaps anti-semitism (perhaps because i really don’t know).

Obama almost certainly would not have recognized Israel if he was around in 48, primarily because somebody of his….background would not have been allowed in politics, but primarily due to his Islamist sympathizing and muslim heritage. There are to many examples to cite, but how about the most recent, on Holocaust remembrance day, in his first ever speech in relation to that day(it’s a campaign year after all). Obama announced the creation of a “genocide prevention board”, who did he pick to lead the board? Samantha power, who advocated a few years ago for invading Israel in order to force them to accept a “palestinian” state, because she thought the Israelis would commit “genocide”, but she lamented that this would be hard because of a “certain domestic constituency with political power”.

Not only do i think he would not have recognized Israel, i asume he would have financially and politically aided the arabs in their goal of killing all ofthem

golembythehudson on April 26, 2012 at 12:43 AM

I have it on good authority that no president has done more for Israel on Obama.

WeekendAtBernankes on April 26, 2012 at 1:46 AM

The question is irrelevant. The founding of Israel would have taken place had the US recognized it or declined. The issues that Marshall and others had with the nascent state were rooted in the emerging Cold War. Israel was founded as, and remains, a socialist state for the Jewish people and that was a concern for those who wondered if it might come under Soviet infulence. Although Israel enjoyed diplomatic recognition from the US in ’48 it was not until ’67 that the Israel became a strategic ally of the United States. It was really the Johnson Administration more than Truman or others who made it policy to support Israel as a strategic ally of the US.

lexhamfox on April 26, 2012 at 4:01 AM

WeekendAtBernankes, I wanted to thank you for your comment…..I had a rough morning and I needed that laugh

jeffdunetz on April 26, 2012 at 6:04 AM

Perhaps in part becaue Truman grew up attending a good Presbyterian Sunday School, and wasn’t off in Indonesia or in the US listening to the like of Rev. Wright?

Wethal on April 26, 2012 at 7:53 AM

Elric on April 25, 2012 at 9:58 PM

It’s more apposite to ask what has happened to the world. The answer? Islamic jihad is back on, full force, and the world trembles before it. We’d rather hand over the Jews in the hopes that we can get a few more years of peace out of it, especially with rising anti-Jewish sentiments across the globe, including right here at home with the Buchanan-loving paleocons.

MadisonConservative on April 25, 2012 at 10:22 PM

There aren’t any words to describe how much I despise that lying anti-Semitic willfully-subhuman filth. Patsy the Pig’s ugly, twisted face is a true reflection of his benighted soul.

ebrown2 on April 26, 2012 at 10:17 AM

I don’t think for one minute bho will help Israel and if he is re-elected bho will see to it that somehow Israel will no longer be a country, IMO!

We have got to get Mitt elected, at least he seems to like Israel, unlike that forked tongue snake bho!

God be with you Israel. I pray for you daily.
L

letget on April 26, 2012 at 10:17 AM

exhamfox on April 26, 2012 at 4:01 AM

The Soviets already had turned against Israel well before the 1956 Suez crisis — their original support was based on the idea that they would be able to use a Jewish state to gain a foothold in the Middle East (so those concerns voiced by Marshall and Lovett did have a basis in reality), but once they realized the U.S. held greater sway over Israeli interests, they turned their support to Nasser after his coup in Egypt in ’53.

So the hardest of hard left peeled away from Israel early in the game. The rest of the left, including those in U.S., held firm until 1977, when Israeli voters had the temerity to elect Likud and put Begin into power. They did see Labor as their ideological soul mates, and loved Israel as long as it’s voters continued to keep the more liberal major party in power. Israel over the past 35 years has been more of an annoyance to liberals, because in their eyes, the voters have put Israel’s version of the Republican Party into power way too much.

It’s the post-1977 Israel that Barack Obama never would have recognized, if only to teach them a lesson about who they choose to elect to public office.

jon1979 on April 26, 2012 at 10:37 AM

No one but Governor Romney could say what he would have done if President in 1948, but the Latter-day Saints’ position on the State of Israel as a Jewish homeland is very clear.

From the “Encyclopedia of Mormonism” wiki article on Zionism:

The declaration that “we believe in the literal gathering of Israel and the restoration of the ten tribes” refers to a new Zion in America as well as a renewed Jerusalem in the Old World. Latter-day scripture declares that Jerusalem will become the spiritual-temporal capital of the whole Eastern Hemisphere, “One Great Centre, and one mighty Sovereign” (MFP 1:259), while Zion will be the place of refuge and divine direction in the Western Hemisphere.
In 1831, less than two years after the organization of the Church, Joseph Smith received a revelation that included the imperative “Let them who be of Judah flee unto Jerusalem, unto the mountains of the Lord’s house” (D&C 133:13). In 1833 he wrote that the tribe of Judah would return and obtain deliverance at Jerusalem, citing Joel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Psalms, and Ezekiel (cf. TPJS, p. 17).
In March 1836, the dedicatory prayer given by Joseph Smith at the Kirtland temple-since canonized and used as a pattern in later LDS temple dedications-pleaded that “Jerusalem, from this hour, may begin to be redeemed; and the yoke of bondage may begin to be broken off from the house of David” (D&C 109:62-63).

From the EOM article on Israel (at the end of the fourth essay):

The land of Canaan was promised to Abraham and his posterity on condition of their righteousness (Abr. 2:6), a promise later reiterated to Isaac and Jacob (Gen. 12:7;26:3;35:12). Of the descendants of Jacob, the Jews have maintained their identity throughout the ages. As descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the people of Judah are to return to their ancestral lands (D&C 109:64). At the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, Joseph Smith pled with the Lord that “the children of Judah may begin to return to the lands which thou didst give to Abraham, their father” (D&C 109:62-64). Orson Hyde, an early apostle, was called and ordained by Joseph Smith to dedicate Palestine for the return of the Jews. On October 24, 1841, Hyde climbed the Mount of Olives, prayed to “dedicate and consecrate this land…for the gathering together of Judah’s scattered remnants,” and erected a mound of stones to commemorate the event (HC 4:456-59).
The Book of Mormon states that the Jews “shall be gathered in from their long dispersion, from the isles of the sea, and from the four parts of the earth” (2 Ne. 10:8; cf. 25:15-17). Moreover, Mormon, editor and compiler of the Book of Mormon, declared that “ye need not any longer hiss, nor spurn, nor make game of the Jews, nor any of the remnant of the house of Israel; for behold, the Lord remembereth his covenant unto them, and he will do unto them according to that which he hath sworn” (3 Ne. 29:8). [See also Zionism.]

AesopFan on April 26, 2012 at 12:17 PM