From a book review in the Wall Street Journal today of America’s Great Game: America’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Middle East, by Hugh Wilford. Part of the story involves the British spy Kim Philby. The reviewer is Michael Doran, from the pro-Israel Saban Center:
The Middle East in the 1950s offered surprising opportunities for such men. Kim was, for instance, the motive force behind the 1951 founding of the American Friends of the Middle East. Seemingly a private outfit dedicated to citizen diplomacy, it was actually a CIA front that sought to weaken support for the Jewish state in the U.S. You read that right: The CIA created an early counterbalance to the pro-Israel lobby, promoting an anti-Zionist reading of the region until 1967, when the radical magazine Ramparts exposed agency funding to domestic organizations.
I’m curious to read Wilford’s book, though; the “Arabists” — whom both William Quandt and Robert Kaplan characterized as a Protestant elite — certainly lost out in their ability to shape the Middle East to a philosemitic Establishment that no one seems to be anatomizing.