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‘NYT Book Review’ gives platform to Radosh to accuse Judis of writing ‘what-if’ history

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John Judis by Christopher Parks
John Judis by Christopher Parks

Neoconservative Ronald Radosh has made a cottage industry of attacking John Judis’s new book on Truman. First he wrote a review saying that Judis cherry-picked history by blaming Zionists and not Arabs for the failure of binational plans in the 1940s.

Then he circulated Leon Wieseltier’s letter smearing Judis for having no place in his heart for Jews.

Now Radosh shows up in the New York Times Book Review with a letter to the editor again accusing Judis of rewriting history. The letter appears just one week after the Book Review ran a letter saying Judis is wrong because Palestinians want to kill “all Jews.”

Here is Ron and Allis Radosh’s specific charge about Judis misrepresenting facts in a what-if history:

Judis intends to show that not only did the Zionist lobby prevent Truman from supporting alternatives (such as a binational one) to a Jewish state, but that the lobby is still casting its pernicious spell over American policy makers.

To prove his point, Judis’s “what if” history ignores the fact that Truman recognized that as much as he for a short time would have liked Palestine to be a federation with Arab and Jewish provinces, it was not within his power or the country’s national interest to impose a solution rejected by both Arabs and Jews. Moreover, a bipartisan coalition at home fought against it, as did many of Truman’s own trusted advisers.

In fact, the Radoshes add, Truman “regularly called his decision one of his proudest acts as president” and bragged about it to Chaim Weizmann.

I’m reading Judis’s book, and the Radoshes are wrong. Judis shows that “the buck stops here” president vacillated endlessly over the Jewish state question. In his heart he was always against a religious state and saw it as against the American interest in the Middle East (including oil supply). He keeps telling people that he’s for the Anglo-American commission recommendation of a binational state in 1946– long after he’s kiboshed that report and supported partition in ’47 and ’48. Judis amply documents the Zionist pressure (including progressive hero Henry Wallace’s support for Zionism, and the Nation magazine’s editorials) and also Truman’s anti-Semitic fulminations about “the emotional Jews” blocking his policy ideas with political coercion during the ’46 and ’48 elections.

Whatever Truman said to Weizmann, an old man for whom he felt large and sentimental regard, Judis documents his inner conflict over the matter.

Judis specifically addresses the What-if history claim in his book:

The history of Palestine and of Israel’s founding cannot be changed, and it is silly to play games of what-if. But it is not silly to draw lessons from the past that are relevant to the present and the future. And the main lesson of this narrative is that whatever wrongs were done to the Jews of Europe and later to those of the Arab Middle East and North Africa–and there were great wrongs inflicted–the Zionists who came to Palestine to establish a state trampled on the rights of the Arabs who already lived there. That wrong has never been adequately addressed, or redressed, and for there to be peace of any kind between the Israelis and Arabs, it must be.

That sounds very real-world to me.

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Ronald Radosh wrote: Judis intends to show that not only did the Zionist lobby prevent Truman from supporting alternatives (such as a binational one) to a Jewish state, but that the lobby is still casting its pernicious spell over American policy makers. One wonders if Radosh has any thoughts about the recent RJC/Adelson meet: Under the watchful eyes of a few hundred powerful Jewish donors — none more heavily courted than billionaire casino magnate Sheldon… Read more »

You cant expect truth from people like the Radoshes, the truth pokes hole in the I-propaganda.
The more books like Judis’s that tell the whole unvarnished truth, all the truth and nothing but, the better.
The more these people attack the W&Ms and the Blumenthals and Judis the more curious people become about …what is the truth exactly?
So I hope they don’t stop their attacking.

Advice to Ronald Radosh: regarding the claim — “the lobby is still casting its pernicious spell over American policy makers” — take the trouble to dig into the Twittersphere on the RJC/Adelson controversy: 1. [Twitter; Adelson (Top tweets) https://twitter.com/search?q=adelson ] 2. [Twitter; Adelson (All tweets) https://twitter.com/search?q=adelson&f=realtime ] What will Radosh take away from those tweetstreams? Will he detect a theme? Perhaps he will attribute the overwhelming anti-Adelson and anti-RJC sentiment to antisemitism (or “Jew-hating”) on… Read more »

MSNBC talking about Christie’s Bridgegate, and in that context, the surge of GOP to kiss Sheldon Adelson’s giant, sparkling Zionist ring in Las Vegas this week.

Chris Christie forced to grovel to Sheldon Adelson for the crime of saying “occupied territory” http://www.politico.com/story/2014/03/chris-christie-occupied-territories-apology-105169.html … #GreaterIsrael

You know, we can’t have a serious discussion with some of these people who keep screaming “dialogue” and accusing “the Arabs” of being fundamentally opposed to it in any form to begin with, because apparently the only right way to address the history of the issue is to agree absolutely with what they say about it.