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Reinterpreting Truman and Israel: A review of Irene Gendzier’s ‘Dying to Forget’

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A story amongst Washington, DC, foreign policy cognoscenti goes like this. In 1947, Truman, under vast domestic pressure, rammed through the United Nations General Assembly Resolution authorizing the partition of Palestine. From 1947-1948, the new Israeli state carried out cleansing operations, disturbing regional stability and setting a spark to the tinder of Arab nationalism. In 1948, Truman recognized Israel. The State Department’s Arabists protested, pointing out that petroleum interests were imperiled. Again, domestic pressure prevailed. In 1949, after further cleansing, domestic lobbying ensured that Truman would not pressure Israel to return any refugees. There lies the root of the Palestine issue.

In her new book, Dying to Forget, jack-of-all-trades historian Irene Gendzier examines unexamined archives, extracts the crucial bits, compares the facts they convey to the dominant narrative, and rewrites the history of that crucial hinge-point, 1947-1949.

Cover of Dying to Forget

Cover of Dying to Forget

The crucial reinterpretation comes late. Gendzier’s key claim is that it was not merely the Zionist lobby which pushed Truman to back off from insisting on a goodwill gesture on the refugees. Instead, “For reasons unrelated to domestic politics” – and perhaps she should have said electoral politics, since the military-industrial complex is quite domestic – the Joint Chiefs of Staff “concluded that Israel’s military justified U.S. interest, and such interest merited lowering the pressure on Israel to ensure that it turned away from the USSR and toward the West and the United States.”

But she crosses some ground before getting to that point. In 1945, she writes, Palestine was barely on Washington’s agenda. By 1946, commissions cooked up endless explorations of potential policies, from letting in Jewish refugees from Europe’s displaced persons camps to trusteeship to partition. At that early point, in the words of diplomatic historian David Painter, establishment consensus was that promoting partition “could undermine relations with the Arab world, provide an opening for the Soviet Union to extend its power and influence, and lead to loss of access to Middle East oil at a time when the West needed it for European and Japanese reconstruction.”

Emphasis on “could.” As the CIA also realized, the oil-producing states were unlikely to break relations with the US. The Agency cited Saudi statements saying, “The oil companies were private corporations and did not represent the U.S. Government, [and] opposed the Iraqi delegate’s stand that the contracts should be cancelled.”

By March 1948, Truman as well as the supposedly least sympathetic member of his cabinet, George Marshall, were prepared to accept Israel’s declaration of statehood. Gendzier here exposes the role of Max Ball and his interactions with Eliahu Epstein, a representative of the Jewish Agency. Ball was not quite part of the establishment but was legendary for his encyclopedic command of the needs of the US petroleum companies. Epstein carefully cultivated him, showing how the Jewish Agency wanted Israel to be seen as a US asset, not a liability. The desire to offer its services to one or another Western power dates back indeed to the conception of the Zionist project. And, Gendzier cautiously affirms, “Ball appeared to promote” the notion of Israel’s use for Western power.

By June 1948, Israel had carried out further ethnic cleansing operations, and had piled up military victories against the Arab armies and irregulars. Saudi Arabia urged the US to maintain the appearance of neutrality, for fear of inciting a regional response.

By November 1948, Truman had largely backed off from putting pressure on Israel, even to accept a small number of refugees. Why? Here Gendzier’s excavations really bring out some intriguing evidence. She first notes the testimony of the US Consul in Jerusalem, William Burdett, who sent telegrams to Washington speaking of how the refugees simply wanted to go home “regardless of the government in control,” and were “victims not only of the UN and Israel but of the failure of the other Arab States to live up to their boasts.” As he added, their “lack of hope and faith…make the refugees an ideal field for the growth of communism.” Burdett was righter than he knew, with the Marxist-Leninist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine eventually rooting itself deeply in the majority-refugee Gaza Strip.

Such warnings went unheard. In March 1949, the chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force noted, “Existing Joint Chiefs of Staff policy on this subject appears now to have been overtaken by events. The power balance in the Near and Middle East has been radically altered… [Israel] has demonstrated by force of arms its right to be considered the military power next after Turkey in the Near and Middle East.” By May 1949, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, “From the viewpoint of tactical operations, Israel’s territory and its indigenous military forces, which have had some battle experience, would be of importance to either the Western Democracies or the USSR in any contest for control of the Eastern Mediterranean-Middle East area.”

Gendzier concludes, “The decision to defer to Israel on these core issues signified Washington’s subordination of the Palestine Question, and its legitimation of Israel’s use of force in its policy toward the Palestinians to calculations of US interest.”

The author has contributed seriously to our knowledge of a crucial historical episode. She does not suggest that we ought to backdate the Special Relationship to 1948. On the other hand, she delivers a devastating blow to the complaints of Arabists that it was always the “common sense” in Washington that Israel was a useless albatross.

If one can take issue anywhere, it is that Gendzier does not give enough attention to the interests of the oil companies in the region, or in setting US foreign policy in this era. By not setting out their views more systematically, or offering the reader a regional overview, she might presume too much knowledge of the intricacies of the US-Saudi Arabia Special Relationship. One might also lose the sight of the contours of the landscape of power amidst the blurring effect of a blizzard of details about internal diplomatic maneuvering during this intense two-year period.

Finally, the question of the relative power of different sectors of government is opaque. Clearly, the President would have given weight to the opinions of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. But how were the oil companies weighing in during this period? Did they go along to get along? Or were they focused chiefly on keeping close relations with Saudi Arabia, conducting a parallel commercial diplomacy? Be that as it may, this intensely textured and intensively researched monograph has reworked our knowledge of a key period in US and global history. It ought be read and considered widely.

Max Ajl

Max Ajl is an activist with the International Jewish anti-Zionist Network and an editor at Jadaliyya and Viewpoint. Follow him on Twitter: @maxajl.

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52 Responses

  1. annie on February 17, 2016, 11:55 am

    there’s a 2011 article by Gendzier that says as much and expands on this time period

    https://occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com/2011/05/24/us-policy-in-israel-palestine-1948-%E2%80%93-the-forgotten-history/

    Israel’s emergence was recognized as having fundamentally altered the military balance of power in the region. The need to integrate the implications of this into U.S. Middle East policy planning was integral to Washington’s reassessment of its policy. Within two weeks of Israel’s declaration of independence, the policy planning staff “agreed that we should begin immediately to develop a paper on Palestine and its overall policy implications, particularly with respect to the Middle East, for submission to the Secretary [of State] and Mr Lovett and eventual clearance through the National Security Council,” which had recently been formed.[18]……..

    In May 1950, Truman met with the head of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), Jacob Blaustein, who was also in charge of the oil company Amoco. Blaustein was interested in promoting Israel’s acquisition of arms from the United States, reminding Truman that his defense secretary, Louis Johnson, had reported that the president, with Acheson’s agreement, was in accord with providing arms to Israel “for defense purposes.”[44]

    But it was not only in Washington that there was a reassessment of the Middle East in the light of Israel’s military victory over its neighbors. Israeli analysts, such as Michael Assaf, adviser to Ben-Gurion, had an acute sense of its long-term implications for Israeli-U.S. relations, and more generally for those of Israel and the West. What he wrote in an editorial in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz in 1951 was to prove prophetic. Assaf reviewed the precarious situation of Arab regimes in the face of nationalist movements, both secular and religious, concluding that the states in question were weak militarily. In this context, he considered the impact of Israel’s strengthening, which he described as “a rather convenient way for the Western Powers to keep a balance of political forces in the Middle East. According to this supposition Israel has been assigned the role of a kind of watchdog.” In that capacity, if the “Western powers will at some time prefer, for one reason or another, to shut their eyes, Israel can be relied upon to punish properly one or several of its neighboring states whose lack of manners towards the West has gone beyond permissible limits.”[45]

    i didn’t realize the Consul General for the US in Jerusalem Tom Wasson, like Bernadotte working on the truce, was also assassinated a few months before.

    It was Thomas C. Wasson, U.S. consul general in Jerusalem, who sent Secretary of State Marshall a confidential report on what had transpired in the village of Deir Yassin, a Palestinian village lying west of Jerusalem, where “attackers killed 250 persons of whom half, by their own admission to American correspondents, were women and children. Attack carried out in connection battle now still in progress between Arabs and Jews on roads leading to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.”[9] After this, Wasson reported, chances of a ceasefire and truce would be remote. In fact, Wasson was involved in the subsequent efforts to achieve a truce, but his life was cut short on May 23, when he was assassinated.

    i wonder why that’s not mentioned as much as Bernadotte’s assassination? Wasson was replaced by Burdette.

    • Rusty Pipes on February 17, 2016, 1:18 pm

      Wasson, who had submitted several reports to Washington about Zionist atrocities, was assassinated in Zionist-controlled West Jerusalem in May of 1948. In November, his relacement, Burdette:

      William Burdett, who sent telegrams to Washington speaking of how the refugees simply wanted to go home “regardless of the government in control,” and were “victims not only of the UN and Israel but of the failure of the other Arab States to live up to their boasts.” As he added, their “lack of hope and faith…make the refugees an ideal field for the growth of communism.”

      Seeing how there has never been any accountability for either the murder of Wasson or Bernadotte, how safe is it for an American or UN official to report honestly about Zionism in Jerusalem?

      • annie on February 17, 2016, 1:40 pm

        just replace them with “friendlier” personnel. i guess i am not clear on how all this “reinterprets” truman.

      • jon s on February 17, 2016, 3:50 pm

        You’re assuming that Mr. Wasson’s murder was the responsibility of the Jewish side. There’s no such conclusive proof.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_C._Wasson

      • Mooser on February 17, 2016, 4:33 pm

        “You’re assuming that Mr. Wasson’s murder was the responsibility of the Jewish side.”

        Another report from Beersheva on the responsibility for murder.
        24 carat brass, I tell ya.

      • annie on February 17, 2016, 5:51 pm

        jon, you’re right, and i could care less if there is conclusive proof. oj wasn’t convicted of his wife’s murder either.

        On April 15, 1948, in a report concerning the Hadassah Hospital Convoy Massacre, Wasson wrote, “American correspondent eye witnessed removal from trucks large quantities arms and ammunition and speculated whether for escort or other purpose.”
        On April 17, 1948, he wrote ” . . . queried as to whether convoy included armoured cars, Haganah guards, arms and ammunition in addition to doctors, nurses and patients, Kohn [of the Jewish Agency] replied in affirmative saying it was necessary to protect convoy.”[12]
        On May 18, 1948, Wasson wrote “Looting in the captured Arab areas has now been so widespread and has been regarded with such indifference by the authorities that it is difficult not to think it is officially tolerated.”[13]

        bottom line, they got another more cooperative diplomat for the job didn’t they?

      • tree on February 17, 2016, 6:13 pm

        I did, however, find this entry from the Wikipedia article darkly amusing:

        The NYP report claimed that an American Government document stated that his dying words, to the Jewish nurses at his bedside, were that he had been shot by Arabs.

        According to the report of his fatal wound, “he was shot by a .30 caliber rifle. The bullet entered his chest via his right upper arm and left level to his second costal cartilage.”

        That puts the shooter to the side and slightly behind ( and possibly above) Wasson; a sniper who Wasson probably never saw nor could he possibly identify, but we are to believe that Wasson made sure with his last dying words to tell the nice Jewish nurses that an Arab shot him.

        Given the fact that the place that he was shot was in an area controlled by Jewish forces, its most likely that it was a Jewish Israeli who shot him, but it really doesn’t matter.

        See the talk section of the WIkipedia article here:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Thomas_C._Wasson

        Interesting side note: He was wearing a bulletproof vest when he was shot, but the bullet hit an area unprotected by the vest.

        http://adst.org/2013/05/the-liberation-and-the-catastrophe-the-deadly-founding-of-israel-may-14-1948/

      • Mooser on February 17, 2016, 7:39 pm

        “You’re assuming that Mr. Wasson’s murder was the responsibility of the Jewish side. “

        Really, “Jon s”? Didn’t you mean “the Zionist side”? Or are you simply saying assassination is within the purview of the Jewish religion? We go to schul on Saturday and decide who to shoot?

        What amazing arrogance and stupidity. It wasn’t murder for a selfish political reason, it was “the Jewish side” to kill him?

      • Hostage on February 19, 2016, 12:49 am

        Re: You’re assuming that Mr. Wasson’s murder was the responsibility of the Jewish side. There’s no such conclusive proof.

        There was never a shred of evidence to support the story published in the Palestine Post that an Arab was responsible for Wesson’s murder. http://goo.gl/pT8zIX

        It’s a fairly safe assumption that the Jewish underground was involved. The “Jewish side” had established a state and was operating a government that claimed it exercised exclusive jurisdiction over the territory in question.

        We know for fact that the Palmach had a corp of assassins, called “The Arabists of the Palmach” or Mista’arvim [literally, “Arab-pretenders”] They specialized in black flag operations and blaming the Arabs for crimes committed by Jewish perpetrators.

        We know for a fact that the Haganah murdered the Spanish Consul General when they bombed the Semiramis Hotel, and that no one was ever brought to justice for that crime. http://goo.gl/0EkJhX

        Historians were shocked when they discovered a note in Ben Gurion’s diary in the 1970s which indicated that he was aware that his friend, personal bodyguard, and cofounder of Sde Biker was the trigger man who murdered Count Bernadotte. Make no mistake about it, that means the highest official on the Jewish side was an accessory after the fact to that murder. According to both the ICJ decision in the “Reparations” (Bernadotte case) and UN Security Council resolution 56 adopted under the auspices of Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, the Jewish state is fully responsible:

        56 (1948). Resolution of 19 August 1948 [S/983]

        The Security Council, Taking into account communications from the Mediator concerning the situation in Jerusalem,
        1. Directs the attention of the Governments and authorities concerned to its resolution 54 (1948) of 15 July 1948 ;
        2. Decides pursuant to its resolution 54 (1948), and so informs the Governments and authorities concerned, that :
        (a) Each party is responsible for the actions of both regular and irregular forces operating under its authority or in territory under its control ;
        (b) Each party has the obligation to use all means at its disposal to prevent action violating the truce by individuals or groups who are subject to its authority or who are in territory under its control ;
        (c) Each party has the obligation to bring to speedy trial, and in case of conviction to punishment, any and all persons within their jurisdiction who are involved in a breach of the truce ;
        (d) No party is permitted to violate the truce on the ground that it is undertaking reprisals or retaliations against the other party ;
        (e) No party is entitled to gain military or political advantage through violation of the truce.
        Adopted at the 354th meeting
        http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/56(1948)

      • annie on February 19, 2016, 1:49 pm

        yo hostage! long time no see ;)

      • Jackdaw on February 20, 2016, 2:59 am

        @Hostage

        “It’s a fairly safe assumption that the Jewish underground was involved. ”

        The motive being…?

        And who shot Walker, and why?

      • Jackdaw on February 20, 2016, 6:46 am

        @Hostage

        A “corp of assassins”, who, by all accounts, assassinated only two individuals; a sadistic British officer, and an attempted assassination of an Arab sheik.

        https://books.google.co.il/books?id=qW6QpWs2CHoC&pg=PA229&lpg=PA229&dq=Mista%27arvim+1948&source=bl&ots=ySN0WYVPiV&sig=hmwjFLRDaG2xx5mnHx84yVwcvFk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi4hcimlYbLAhVF6xQKHXPiCOsQ6AEIHDAB#v=onepage&q=Mista%27arvim&f=false

        This is hardly the Day of the Jackals, Hostage.

      • Jackdaw on February 20, 2016, 7:41 am

        @Hostage

        Wasson and Walker were murdered the day before Chaim Weizman met President Truman in the White House to discuss a $100 million dollar loan and an end to the arms embargo against Israel.

        http://www.jta.org/1948/05/26/archive/weizmann-pays-official-call-on-truman-urges-embargo-lifting-seeks-100000000-loan

        Uhhh…..Hostage….how did Israel stand to benefit from killing Wasson and Walker??

        …..Hostage??

      • Mooser on February 20, 2016, 12:09 pm

        “A “corp of assassins”, who, by all accounts, assassinated only two individuals”

        SQUELCH!!! Wow, I can smell that one all the way out here. Yes, by all means, let’s talk about that.

      • JLewisDickerson on February 21, 2016, 12:26 pm

        RE: “You’re assuming that Mr. Wasson’s murder was the responsibility of the Jewish side. There’s no such conclusive proof.” ~ jon s

        MY REPLY: Perhaps there is no “conclusive proof”, but there is plenty of circumstantial evidence that Mr. Wasson’s murder was the responsibility of “the Jewish side”.
        Of course, there is always the possibility Wasson was shot by a spurned gay lover in retribution for his unrequited love (like poor Abe)!

        ■ YITZHAK SHAMIR (LATER TO BECOME ISRAEL’S PRIME MINISTER) EXTOLLED IN PRINT THE VIRTUES OF JEWISH TERRORISM IN 1943:

        “First and foremost, terror is for us a part of the political war appropriate for the circumstances of today, and its task is a major one,” Shamir wrote in an article titled “Terror” in the Lehi journal Hazit in August 1943. “It demonstrates in the clearest language, heard throughout the world including by our unfortunate brethren outside the gates of this country, our war against the occupier.”

        SOURCE – http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NG14Ak01.html

        Writing a few days before Shamir’s death, Yossi Sarid listed a few “typical cases” of terrorist acts committed by the Irgun and Lehi in Haaretz:

        On 4.11.1937 – five dead and eight wounded in shooting at a bus in the Jerusalem suburb of Romema; 16.7.38 – 10 killed and three wounded including four women, a boy and young girl, by a bomb hidden in a basket of vegetables; 26.7.38 – 27 killed and 46 wounded when a bomb exploded in Haifa’s Arab market; 29.5.39 – five killed and 18 wounded when mines were detonated in the Rex Cinema in Jerusalem, and among the seriously wounded were a Jewish man and woman; 20.6.39 – 78 killed by a bomb in the Haifa vegetable market.

        And we have not mentioned the best known incidents – the explosion at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, the massacre at Dir Yassin, the executions of Jews who were suspected of cooperating with the foreign occupier (at least 10 cases ), and the assassinations of some of the representatives of His Majesty’s government and of the international community in the region or in the country.

        From the end of 1937 until the middle of 1939, in less than two years, the terrorist activities of the Irgun and Lehi claimed 232 victims with another 370 wounded – men, women and children.

        SOURCE – http://lobelog.com/kristol-on-ends-justifying-means/

    • Jackdaw on February 22, 2016, 1:11 am

      @ Dickerson

      No. The Arabs had the only motive for killing Wasson and Walker.
      Wasson and Walker were murdered the day before Chaim Weizman met President Truman in the White House to discuss a $100 million dollar loan and an end to the arms embargo against Israel.

      link to jta.org

      The killings were meant to send a message to Washington

      And BTW, I find no mention in the histories of the Israel’s War of Independence that I’ve read, of a bombing that killed 78 Arabs in Haifa, on 6-20-48.

      I’m not this bombing really happened.
      Can anyone help?

      • tree on February 22, 2016, 1:16 pm

        No. The Arabs had the only motive for killing Wasson and Walker. Wasson and Walker were murdered the day before Chaim Weizman met President Truman in the White House to discuss a $100 million dollar loan and an end to the arms embargo against Israel.

        You’re grasping at straws, Jackdaw.

        For your scenario you’d have to assume that an Arab sniper would have known that Weizmann was meeting Truman the next day for the purpose indicated, that Truman would have granted an end to the embargo and a loan, neither of which Truman was inclined to do, nor did, at that juncture . The sniper would have also had to have believed that shooting Wasson would make Truman much less likely to end the embargo, a result which was also highly unlikely and illogical , and the supposed Arab sniper would have had to believe that, of all the targets he could have hit after infiltrating into Jewish controlled area, the US Consul who was working on a truce was the most important target he could have hit in all Jerusalem. Also highly unlikely.

        And if an Arab sniper just wanted to kill Wasson he could have done that much more easily from Arab controlled territory in the Old City when Wasson was walking in the open near the French Consulate very near to the Old City Walls. No need to have to sneak into enemy controlled territory and put himself and his “mission” in danger to do so.

        Your argument seems to simply be a “pre”( as opposed to “post”) hoc ergo propter hoc one. In other words, the shooting happened the day before Weizman met Truman, therefore it must have happened because of that meeting. Period. A coincidence in time equals cause.

        And BTW, I find no mention in the histories of the Israel’s War of Independence that I’ve read, of a bombing that killed 78 Arabs in Haifa, on 6-20-48.

        I’m not this bombing really happened.
        Can anyone help?

        Yes, I can. Your problem is that in this instance you have poor reading skills and a lack of knowledge of the history of the Irgun and Lehi.

        First off, Dickerson’s snippet from Haaretz lists June 20, 1939, not 1948. How you got 1948 out of 1939, who knows, but you’re off by nine years. If you had an adequate knowledge base of the history of those two Jewish terror groups you would know that they actively engaged in multiple terrorist bombings in the late 1930’s, some of which, including the bombing in the Haifa vegetable market on June 20, 1938, were included in the list Dickerson linked.

        If you’d like to see the original article from 2011 in Haaretz you can read it here:

        http://www.haaretz.com/are-begin-and-shamir-also-considered-terrorists-1.369342

        You’re welcome. Glad to help.

      • Jackdaw on February 22, 2016, 3:58 pm

        @tree

        Who’s grasping at straws? Not me.

        No one said this was a secret meeting. It was the first meeting of an Israeli Head of State with a US President, and for that reason, probably well publicized.

        My post was directed at Hostage, who blamed the Jews for the two murders.

        So Tree, please explain to everybody how the nascent Jewish State profited by murdering the American Consul, in Jewish Jerusalem, the day before Israel goes hat in hand to the White House in search of political favors.

        Please. I’m dying to hear this.

      • talknic on February 22, 2016, 6:23 pm

        @ Jackdaw “Who’s grasping at straws? Not me”

        Zionist denial is so cute.

        “No one said this was a secret meeting.

        Correct. Why did you bring it up?

        “It was the first meeting of an Israeli Head of State with a US President, and for that reason, probably well publicized”

        Probably = maybe / might have been / could have been? Was it? And the details to be discussed were widely known? While Israel was waging a war in non-Israeli territories? Naivety is a prerequisite for Zionist propaganda to work effectively

        “… please explain to everybody how the nascent Jewish State profited by murdering the American Consul, in Jewish Jerusalem, the day before Israel goes hat in hand to the White House in search of political favors.”

        Simple. Look what we’ll do if you don’t comply with our wishes. Same happened to Rabin. Same happens daily to the Palestinians

      • Jackdaw on February 23, 2016, 12:20 am

        @tree

        ‘0.6.39 – 78 killed by a bomb in the Haifa vegetable market.’

        “18 Arabs Killed, 24 Wounded in Haifa Blast; Nazi Intervention Sought”
        June 20, 1939 4:00am
        http://www.jta.org/tags/israel/page/6997

        I was half right. No 78 Arabs killed in Haifa in June 1939. However many Haifa Arab did die in bombings in July 1938.

      • Citizen on February 23, 2016, 6:39 am

        Gendzier:

        It was Thomas C. Wasson, U.S. consul general in Jerusalem, who sent Secretary of State Marshall a confidential report on what had transpired in Deir Yassin, a Palestinian village lying west of Jerusalem, where “attackers killed 250 persons of whom half, by their own admission to American correspondents, were women and children. Attack carried out in connection battle now still in progress between Arabs and Jews on roads leading to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.”9 After this, Wasson reported, chances of a ceasefire and truce would be remote. In fact, Wasson was involved in the subsequent efforts to achieve a truce, but his life was cut short on May 23, when he was assassinated.

      • Jackdaw on February 23, 2016, 11:54 am

        @Citizen

        If you’re trying to ascribe a motive for the killing of Wasson, you too are grasping at straws.

        There was absolutely no attempt at a cover up. The Red Cross and British military were on the site in the immediate aftermath of the Deir Yassin killings. The Irgun even trucked the survivors into Jerusalem as part of a victory parade. The Irgun boasted of killing 250 and that number was seconded by the Ben Gurion in order to shame Irgun.
        Truth be told, less than half that many Arabs were actually killed that day.

      • Mooser on February 23, 2016, 1:47 pm

        “The Irgun even trucked the survivors” (of Dier Yassin!) into Jerusalem as part of a victory parade. “

        Ah, what a favorable impression of their generous Zionist captors that leaves us with! Did the “survivors” enjoy the Zionist “victory parade” celebrating Dier Yassin?

        You outdo yourself, “Jackdaw”!

      • Jackdaw on February 23, 2016, 4:39 pm

        Haifa 2016. Israeli Arab scientist keeps on truckin’.

        http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2016/02/23/world/middleeast/ap-ml-israel-arab-academic.html?_r=0

        @Mooser

        While ankle biters just get lost in the dust.

      • talknic on February 23, 2016, 8:31 pm

        @ Jackdaw “The Irgun boasted of killing 250 and that number was seconded by the Ben Gurion in order to shame Irgun.
        Truth be told, less than half that many Arabs were actually killed that day.”

        So Irgun and Ben Gurion were typical of Zionists. Liars. OK. Got it. Good. Thx

        “Truth be told, less than half that many Arabs were actually killed that day”

        Who’s truth would that be? Jackdaw the Zionist’s?

  2. patrickmehr on February 17, 2016, 12:40 pm

    We have reissued as eBooks several documents about the history of British Mandate Palestine and of Israel (http://plunkettlakepress.com/israel), for example Abba Eban’s autobiography (http://plunkettlakepress.com/aa), his major speeches (http://plunkettlakepress.com/voi) and Chaim Weizmann’s autobiography Trial and Error (http://plunkettlakepress.com/te).

    • philweiss on February 17, 2016, 12:53 pm

      Patrick can I get books printed out in gutenberg form from any of those vendors?

    • Mooser on February 17, 2016, 4:31 pm

      “for example Abba Eban’s autobiography (link to plunkettlakepress.com), his major speeches (link to plunkettlakepress.com) and Chaim Weizmann’s autobiography Trial and Error (link to plunkettlakepress.com). “

      Gosh, hard to think of two guys who would be more unsparing of themselves autobiographically. No doubt those auto-bios have the immediacy and honesty of a death-bed confession.

      • alen on February 19, 2016, 1:42 am

        “Gosh, hard to think of two guys who would be more unsparing of themselves autobiographically.”

        If you had told me this a few years before, I would not have understood it as much as I do now, since I always thought of Chaim Weizmann as a humanist, despite being a Zionist (and against his fellow reform Rabbis), but after reading his very bleeding heart racist ideas, I no longer feel he should be spared from condemnation. He reminds me of Labour Zionists who wring their hands as they commit war crimes.

  3. jon s on February 18, 2016, 4:13 am

    Tree: “Given the fact that the place that he was shot was in an area controlled by Jewish forces, its most likely that it was a Jewish Israeli who shot him…”

    Exactly the opposite. That fact makes it more likely that it was enemy fire, from the Arab side.
    In wartime shots hitting one side most likely come from the other side.

    • RoHa on February 18, 2016, 5:15 am

      The Zionists have form for killing “unhelpful” diplomats. This is not proof, but certainly grounds for suspicion.

    • talknic on February 18, 2016, 5:28 am

      jon s February 18, 2016, 4:13 am

      ” In wartime shots hitting one side most likely come from the other side”

      He was pro-Israel? WOW! What a pity he didn’t know

      • Mooser on February 21, 2016, 11:39 am

        How many times has “Jon s” been told about scrolling up to find the “reply” button for the conversation?

        But of course, he thinks he can “settle” anywhere on the page.

      • annie on February 21, 2016, 12:37 pm

        he’s scared of Tree! she won’t get the email alert if he posts his comment down here.

      • Mooser on February 21, 2016, 1:22 pm

        “she won’t get the email alert if he posts his comment down here.”

        It’s easy to tell from the way they handle themselves here that these guys have the Web all figured out!

    • tree on February 18, 2016, 1:36 pm

      Jon s,

      You said:Exactly the opposite. That fact makes it more likely that it was enemy fire, from the Arab side.

      From your response it seems you didn’t read the link to the Wikipedia talk session on Thomas Wasson that I provided. So I will quote from it:

      1. The UN telegram has ‘AS HE CROSSED WAUCHOPE STREET TO ALLEY ALONG WEST SIDE CONGEN’. The alley is clearly ‘George Elliot’. Wauchope Street appears to be ‘Hess’ running East to the Hebrew Union College. The telegram also has ‘THE SNIPERS BULLET PRESUMED TO HAVE COME FROM THE DIRECTION JUNCTION JULIANS WAY AND WAUCHOPE STREET’.[1]i.e.what is now the Hebrew Union College.
      2. The front line at that time was the City Wall. The Scotsman reports on May 22nd that Arab irregulars had take the Wailing Wall and had begun demolition of the Tifret synagogue. The newspaper also reports that a Jewish force of about 1000 had attacked the Zion Gate during the night. Also Jewish mortars fired on the Jaffa Gate and Arab Legion armoured cars in action between Damascus Gate and Allenby Square. i.e. in front of Notre Dame.
      If the sniper was Arab, ie on the City Wall, he would have had a clear line of fire whilst Wasson walked up ‘Paul Emile Botta’ from the French Consulate. But once on ‘Abraham Lincoln’ there would have been no clear line of fire.

      In other words, Wasson was well within the Jewish controlled area when he was shot, with no clear shot possible from the Arab controlled area. Wasson often travelled the route from the American Consulate to the French one and back as part of his duties on the Truce Commission. He could have been easily shot by an Arab sniper while he was in the vicinity of the French Consulate, “which was just under the Walls of the Old City” according to Wells Stabler, a Vice Consul at the American Consulate (see my other link), but instead he was shot well within the Jewish controlled area, on a street right behind the American Consulate with no clear line of sight from the Arab controlled area, which looks like it was 1500 yards away, beyond the limit for accurate shots from a 1948 era .30 caliber rifle, even a miracle one which could shoot around corners.

      Clearly the only logical presumption is that the bullet came from a rifle fired from within the Jewish controlled area, not from the Arab controlled area, and thus most likely fired by a Jewish sniper.

      • jon s on February 19, 2016, 4:53 am

        Tree,
        I don’t know who shot Mr. Wasson, and neither do you.

        The link you provided includes an “appears to be”, a “presumed ” and an “if”.
        Another plausible scenario could be that he was shot by a sniper from the Arab side who was unaware of his identity, the sniper picking off a random target in enemy-controlled territory, as snipers do. According to the link there would have been no clear line of fire from the old city walls, but that doesn’t rule out the possibility that the sniper was positioned somewhere else.

        By the way, I think that there are more pressing issues at hand, then trying to figure out who shot Mr. Wasson back in 1948.

      • Mooser on February 19, 2016, 1:21 pm

        “By the way, I think that there are more pressing issues at hand, then trying to figure out who shot Mr. Wasson back in 1948.”

        Spoken like a true “Israeli history teacher”! (Assuming he was teaching a class of real smart kids, who know better than to say: “Uh teacher, you stepped in it again, so you want out)

        And yeah, “Jon s” I’m sure they set up “the Arab quarter” with clear sight-lines to the “Jewish side”.

        “The Jewish side”. Like I should be eager, begging, to accept blame and responsibility for that. You first, “Jon s”.

      • Jackdaw on February 20, 2016, 4:33 am

        @tree

        “the only logical presumption is that the bullet came from a rifle fired from within the Jewish controlled area, not from the Arab controlled area, and thus most likely fired by a Jewish sniper.”

        Or by a foreign agent provocateur from within the international community in Jerusalem.

      • Mooser on February 20, 2016, 12:01 pm

        “Or by a foreign agent provocateur from within the international community in Jerusalem.”

        Don’t you hate it when that happens? Those darn “agent provocateurs” the “international community in Jerusalem” is so full of. And then they go around shooting people. The nerve!

    • Mooser on February 18, 2016, 3:53 pm

      “controlled by Jewish forces”

      “enemy fire, from the Arab side.”

      That’s right, “Jon s” As any “left” Zionist (especially one who is securely ‘grounded’, like an anchor, in the US!) can tells us it’s the “Arab side” against “Jewish forces”.

      Talk about selling your birthright for “mess of pottage”! And BTW, you got ripped off, “Jon s” that blanket Jewish immunity they traded you for your soul isn’t worth squat. But don’t worry, “Jon s” you’ve still got your US citizenship for when you get tired of playing.

    • tree on February 19, 2016, 7:46 am

      Jon,

      You said:I don’t know who shot Mr. Wasson, and neither do you.

      That’s true, but you were the one who originally linked to the WIkipedia article on Wasson. I was responding to the content there, and your belief that it implicated “the Arab side” more than the “Jewish side” as you called them. If you really didn’t want to speculate then why did you?

      The link you provided includes an “appears to be”, a “presumed ” and an “if”.

      The “appears to be” refers to what was Wauchope Street in 1948 being called Hess Street today. Your link to the main page of the Wasson WIkipedia entry positively states that “Wauchope Street [is] (now Abraham Lincoln/Hess).” If you have information otherwise please share it.

      The “presumed” refers to the telegraph the consulate sent regarding Wasson’s death, presuming, quite logically, that a shot that entered his upper right arm and exited near his left costal cartillage as he was crossing Wauchope (now Hess) towards the Consulate would have come from his right, in the words of the telegram “FROM THE DIRECTION JUNCTION JULIANS WAY AND WAUCHOPE STREET'”, which is now the vicinity of the Hebrew Union College. Any other direction would have been highly unlikely given the direction the bullet took through his body and where he was when he was hit.

      And the “if” refers to the improbability of an Arab being the sniper, because of the lack of a clear shot in that location from anywhere inside the Arab controlled position.

      All of these are logical deductions from the location and manner of his death.

      You yourself indulged in “most likely” when you asserted that
      That fact makes it more likely that it was enemy fire, from the Arab side. In wartime shots hitting one side most likely come from the other side.

      While this might make some logical sense as a generalization, it implies that Wasson was “on a side”, which was not his function as a member of the Truce Commission. It also runs counter to the actual facts of this particular incident, which was my reason for pointing out to you that your generalization did not apply in this instance because of the implausibility of a shot from the Arab controlled area hitting Wasson in the location where he was shot..

      Another plausible scenario could be that he was shot by a sniper from the Arab side who was unaware of his identity, the sniper picking off a random target in enemy-controlled territory, as snipers do. According to the link there would have been no clear line of fire from the old city walls, but that doesn’t rule out the possibility that the sniper was positioned somewhere else.

      If an Arab sniper was anywhere else in Arab controlled territory it would have been even more impossible to get a clear shot at Wasson. The Old City wall was the closest the Arab controlled area came to Wasson’s position and anything on the other side of it would have been blocked by the city walls and the same lack of a clear shot as well. It would be highly illogical for a Arab sniper to enter far into Jewish controlled area to take random pot shots when he could do this just as easily and with more safety from within his own lines.

      By the way, I think that there are more pressing issues at hand, then trying to figure out who shot Mr. Wasson back in 1948.

      And yet you considered it important enough to comment on and provide a link which we have discussed. I can understand why. The implication, backed by logical deduction, that Wasson was killed by a Jewish sniper in the Jewish controlled area of Jerusalem leads itself to the further logical deduction that it was a planned assassination rather than a “random” targeting of a European looking man. Given the assassination of Folke Bernadotte such an implication would be entirely within the bounds of reality. I think you realize that and are upset by it, thus your continued comments implicating “the Arab side” on something you claim you don’t feel is a “pressing issue” and you admit you do not know.

      • Mooser on February 19, 2016, 11:40 am

        I think poor “Jon s” is still unsettled by the Eritrean “terrorist attack” on Beersheva.

      • annie on February 19, 2016, 2:02 pm

        Bernadotte’s assassination is so famous, but most people have never even heard of wasson’s assassination. both of them working on the partition israel didn’t want.

        I think americans would benefit from examining another of israel’s assaults on americans, and like the liberty attack and any number of offenses israel supporters will always deny intent and culpability for their crimes . but i think calling attention to Wasson assassination back in 1948, is a very worthy cause. — albeit, possibly not a “pressing issue.”

        either way, i have no doubt who killed wasson. because i’ve always been blessed w/common sense. ;)

      • Mooser on February 20, 2016, 12:03 pm

        “i’ve always been blessed w/common sense. ;)”

        But when “common sense” turns out to be like ‘truth’, ‘reality’ and ‘the facts’ it could get rough.

  4. lysias on February 18, 2016, 6:51 pm

    OT, Amitai Etzioni writes in Ha’aretz that Israel should “flatten Beirut” (because Hezbollah is there). Prominent American professor proposes that Israel “flatten Beirut” — a 1 million-person city it previously decimated.

  5. Sibiriak on February 18, 2016, 10:13 pm

    I read the book recently. Definitely an important historical work, albeit rather tedious and repetitive at times.

    She does not suggest that we ought to backdate the Special Relationship to 1948.

    True, but the book does demonstrate compellingly that the U.S. Establishment view of Israel as a strategic asset and potential key ally did not suddenly emerge after the 1967 war, as some writers suggest.

    Israel’s emergence obliged U.S. officials to reconsider the regional balance of power and to revise their views of Israel, whose military capacity they now deemed to be second to that of Turkey in the region. Once perceived as a liability in the context of U.S. regional interests, after independence Israel emerged as an asset. Washington then moved to ensure Israel’s orientation was toward the United States and the West, a prerequisite to its integration into the U.S. regional strategy.

    This same process led U.S. officials to reduce their pressure on Israel to comply with the recommendations of UNGA Resolution 194, notably on the repatriation of the Palestinian refugees, the adjudication of boundaries, and the internationalization of Jerusalem. The decision to defer to Israel on these core issues signified Washington’s subordination of the Palestine Question, and its legitimation of Israel’s use of force in its policy toward the Palestinians to calculations of US interest.

    This revised U.S. policy toward Israel and Palestine represented “the end” of one phase of U.S. policy—which had been marked by support for UNGA Resolution 194—and the “beginning” of another, whose consequences are with us today. [emphasis added

    Dying to Forget: Oil, Power, Palestine, and the Foundations of U.S. Policy in the Middle East (p. 302). .

    ————

    Critically, Gendzier highlights “calculations of US interests” not “the Israel Lobby” as the key factor in the reversal in U.S. policy beginning in 1948- 49.

    Gendzier also has a lot to say about changing perceptions of U.S. oil interests in relation to Israel.

    As the question of partition on Palestine assumed greater importance in Washington, another theme dominated, as it still does. This was the claim that U.S. policymakers were faced with the choice of protecting U.S. oil interests or deferring to partisans of partition and, later, Jewish statehood. The question became: Oil or Israel? This formula erred, as I will explain in the following chapters. The choice facing policymakers was not oil versus Israel but rather oil and Israel. In the years that followed, it was oil and Israel versus reform and revolution in the Arab world.

    * * *

    …the present study maintains that the prevailing assumption with respect to U.S. policy toward Palestine, according to which U.S. officials feared that support for Zionism and partition of Palestine would undermine U.S. oil interests in the Arab world, proved to be a false assumption.

    The papers of Max Ball, director of the Oil and Gas Division of the Interior Department, and his exchanges with the representative of the Jewish Agency in the United States, Eliahu Epstein, confirm this fear, as do Israeli records of the same period. Ball operated outside the formal channels of policymakers, which does not negate the importance of his experience. It may explain, however, why that experience has been neglected in accounts of U.S. policy.

    Evidence of the encounter between Max Ball and Eliahu Epstein in 1948 forms the basis of the “oil connection” discussed in this book. The encounter opened doors and broke barriers that had long been considered taboo. It revealed that major U.S. oil executives were pragmatic in their approach to the Palestine conflict and were prepared to engage with the Jewish Agency and later with Israeli officials , albeit operating within existing constraints. The relationship between Max Ball, his son and associate, and his son-in-law Ray Kosloff, who became the first Israeli adviser on oil matters, yields additional information on how this former U.S. official assisted Israel in its fuel policy after his retirement.

    * * *

    Did U.S. policy toward Israel undermine U.S. oil companies operating in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, as many feared it would? An informed observer of “The Militarization of the Middle East,” Max Holland, stated the problem as follows: “As the 1940s drew to a close, these two fundamental—yet seemingly contradictory—aims of U.S. policy were thus in place: access to oil, and support for Israel. It would fall to U.S. policymakers to juggle these interests and keep them from colliding.”1

    No such collision occurred. Contrary to what many in the State and Defense departments feared, the risks to U.S. oil interests as a result of U.S. support for Israel proved to be misplaced. In fact, U.S. oil company activity expanded after May 1948. The communication and understanding developed between Jewish Agency officials and U.S. oil executives, including the director of the Oil and Gas Division of the Interior Department, had long-term repercussions… [p. 293] [emphasis addd]

  6. NorthCascadian on February 21, 2016, 1:12 pm

    Well I hope the scholarship and seminal book by Alison Weir “Against Our Better Judgement” comes up in connection with this historical discussion. In particular the role of organized Zionists in the highest levels of the US government working as a 5th column against the interests of the United States. See the role of “Parushim” in pushing for a Jews only state.

  7. Citizen on February 23, 2016, 6:30 am

    It’s obvious who benefited from killing Wasson: Israel. Summary of US foreign policy in Israel’s earliest years:

    http://www.mepc.org/journal/middle-east-policy-archives/us-policy-israel/palestine-1948?print

  8. CitizenC on May 10, 2016, 10:33 am

    For a contrary review see

    Dying to Forget the Israel Lobby?
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/22/dying-to-forget-the-israel-lobby/
    (5900 words)

    The book purports to be a major revisionist statement about Israel’s “strategic value” to the US in the 1940s, against a large body of writing attesting to the paramount importance of the nascent Israel Lobby in this period. In my view the book’s claims are based on omissions and exaggerations, and will not persuade anyone interested in the period. The paramount influence of the nascent Israel Lobby remains the story of the 1940s.

  9. WebSkipper on November 22, 2018, 5:24 pm

    I just emailed Norman Finkelstein: I’ve been reading “Knowing Too Much.” Truman has always been of particular interest to me. You are likely familiar with John Snetsinger’s book “Truman, the Jewish Vote and the Creation of Israel” (Hoover Inst. Press, 1974). This book is actually something of a Reader’s Digest Condensed version of his PhD dissertation “Truman and the Creation of Israel” (1969). Being a dissertation, of course, it’s very well-documented and footnoted. I was able to get a copy of this recently. They had to scan it specially for me because it hadn’t been requested for a long time, and unfortunately some pages didn’t scan. But it makes for fascinating reading and it may very well alter your take on Truman and the forces acting on him in 1947-1948. Even if not, it may make for interesting material for you. I’m attaching a PDF copy.

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