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U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East, Harry S. Truman, and the State of Israel Michael T. Benson, Southern Utah Univ.

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Presentation on theme: "U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East, Harry S. Truman, and the State of Israel Michael T. Benson, Southern Utah Univ."— Presentation transcript:

1 U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East, Harry S. Truman, and the State of Israel Michael T. Benson, Southern Utah Univ.

2 There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.


4 The Peel Commission of 1937 No problem of today is so firmly rooted in the past.

5 People/Governments/Empires Who Have Controlled Jerusalem Babylonians Persians Greeks Romans Arabs Crusaders Ottoman Turks British

6 For I really wish the Jews of Judea an independent nation, for as I believe, the most enlightened men of it have participated in the amelioration of the philosophy of the age. (continued)

7 Once restored to an independent government and no longer persecuted they [the Jews] would soon wear away some of the asperities and peculiarities of their character, possibly in time becoming Unitarian Christians. - John Adams to Major Mordechai Noah, 1818


9 To the American, the notion of the pioneer who goes into the wilderness and turns it into a land of great agriculture and great industry, is intenselysympathetic. Fundamentally, therefore, when it comes to a question of emotional sympathy with either side, as apart from strategical or economic interest, America sympathizes with the National Home [a Jewish state in Palestine], because the National Home is something very American. - Professor Richard Crossman The Royal Institute of International Affairs, June 1946

10 Instructions from the British Foreign Secretary to the Consulate in Jerusalem: To protect the Jews generally and to serve as their advocate (1850s) Balfour Declaration of 1917: His majestys government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.

11 Winston Churchill, 1920: If, as may well happen, there should be created in our own lifetime by the banks of the Jordan a Jewish State under the protection of the British Crown which might comprise three or four million Jews, an event will have occurred in the history of the world which would from every point of view be beneficial and would be especially in harmony with the truest interests of the British Empire.

12 Young Harry – Age 10

13 Divine Providence has played a great part in our history. I have the feeling that God has created us and brought us to our present position of power and strength for some great purpose. It is not given to us to know fully what that purpose is. But I think we may be sure of one thing. And that is that our country is intended to do all it can, in cooperating with other nations to help create peace and preserve peace in the world. It is given to us to defend the spiritual values--the moral code--against the vast forces of evil that seek to destroy them. -Harry S. Truman Speech delivered at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C., 3 April 1951.

14 I wonder how far Moses would have gone if hed taken a poll in Egypt? What would Jesus Christ have preached if he had taken a poll in Israel? Where would the Reformation had gone if Martin Luther had taken a poll? It isnt the polls or public opinion of the moment that counts. It is right and wrong and leadership--men with fortitude, honesty, and a belief in the right that makes epochs in the history of the world. -Harry S. Truman Off the Record: The Private Papers of Harry S. Truman, Robert Ferrell, ed., 310.

15 Trumans Favorite Psalm By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion. Psalm 137:1

16 Truman and FDR


18 Acheson, Truman, and Marshall

19 Clark Clifford and Truman


21 Truman, Ben-Gurion, and Eban

22 Zionist Pressure on the White House From 1946 to 1951, Truman received: – 48,600 telegrams – 790,575 postcards – 81,200 letters Far and away a record for unsolicited mail for any president

23 Golda Meir

24 David Ben-Gurion on Golda Meirs Mission to the U.S.: The day when history is written, it will be recorded that it was thanks to a Jewish woman that the Jewish state was born. Arrived with $10 in her pocket and no winter coat in January 1947; left with $50 million – 3 times the entire oil revenues of Saudi Arabia the same year



27 International Concerns, 1948 Coup in Czechoslovakia New York Times compared Russias imperialistic mission to Hitlers quest for world domination in 1939 Truman asked for a re-instatement of the draft in March 1948 Churchill: The menace of war is rolling toward the West.

28 Eddie Jacobsen and Truman

29 Truman and Chaim Weizmann

30 Truman and Weizmann Meeting, March 18, 1948 And when Dr. Weizmann left my office, I felt that he had reached a full understanding of my policy and that I knew what it was he wanted. Weizmanns adamance: Moshe, dont let them weaken, dont let them swerve, dont let them spoil the victory! Proclaim the Jewish State – now or never!

31 Truman and Marshall

32 The full stature of this man will only be proven by history, but I want to say here and now that there has never been a decision made under this man's administration, effecting the policies beyond our shores, that has not been in the best interest of this country. It is not the courage of these decisions that will live, but the integrity of the man. - George Marshall quoted in Man from Missouri, 429.

33 Cliffords Presentation: Recognition was consistent with U.S. policy – Balfour Declaration Separate Jewish State was inevitable Other nations would recognize Israel – why not steal a month on the USSR? Proposed State Department action would accomplish nothing

34 Deuteronomy 8:1 Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.



37 U.N. Secretary General Lie I think we can safely say that if there had been no Harry S. Truman, there would be no Israel today.

38 Eliahu Elath and Truman

39 Ambassador Eliahu Elath Trumans historic act of recognition will remain forever inscribed in golden letters in the 4000-year history of the Jewish people.

40 When Israels chief rabbi paid the president a visit in early 1949 and told him, God put you in your mothers womb so that you could be in the instrument to bring about the rebirth of Israel after two thousand years, tears rose to the presidents eyes. The Rabbi then opened the Bible and read the words of King Cyrus from the Book of Ezra:

41 The Lord God of Heaven hath given me all the kindness of the earth; and he hath charged me to build Him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. One of Trumans aides present at the meeting, David Niles, remembered that he thought the chief rabbi was overdoing things a bit but when he looked over at the president, tears were running down his cheeks. Another eyewitness to the occasion, Ambassador Eliahu Elath, recorded:

42 On hearing these words, Truman rose from his chair and with great emotion, tears glistening in his eyes, he turned to the Chief Rabbi and asked him if his actions for the sake of the Jewish people were indeed to be interpreted thus and the hand of the Almighty was in the matter. The Chief Rabbi reassured him that he had been given the task once fulfilled by the mighty King of Persia, and the he too, like Cyrus, would occupy a place of honor in the annals of the Jewish people.


44 Harry S. Truman A president must live in the present, do what he thinks is right at the time, and history will take care of it.

45 I am not sure he was right about the atomic bomb, or even Korea. But remembering him reminds people what a man in that office ought to be like. Its character, just character. He stands like a rock in memory now. - Eric Sevaraid

46 Winston Churchill To every man there comes... That special moment when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a special thing unique to him and fitted to his talent. What a tragedy, if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified for the work which would be his finest hour.

47 Dean Acheson

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