Who Saved Israel in 1947?

(Mosaic) Martin Kramer - Abba Eban regarded the 1947 Palestine partition plan as "the first American-Soviet agreement in the postwar era." That it was an agreement over the creation of the Jewish state suggests just how deep lie the foundations of Israel's international legitimacy. With both superpowers aligned, it required a special animus against Zionism to prompt a "no" ballot. With few exceptions, this existed only in countries with Muslim majorities. The idea that the U.S. was Israel's "best friend" in 1948 subtracts from the debt owed to the first Israelis themselves. As summarized by Zeev Sharaf, Israel's first cabinet secretary, Moshe Sharett, head of the political department of the Jewish Agency and later Israel's foreign minister, said: "The United States had not helped to establish the state; [it] had assisted only by taking part in the vote at the United Nations, and this would not be forgotten." "But we, the Jewish people, were carrying on the fight in Palestine ourselves without any aid whatever. We had asked for arms, but they had not been given; we had asked for military guidance, but it had been withheld; finally, we had asked for armor plating for buses, but even this had been refused. Whatever we had secured was with our own capacities alone." In May 1949, Ben-Gurion wrote in his diary, "The state of Israel was not established as a consequence of the UN resolution. Neither America nor any other country saw the resolution through, nor did they stop the Arab countries (and the British mandatory government) from declaring total war on us in violation of UN resolutions. America did not raise a finger to save us and, moreover, imposed an arms embargo, and had we been destroyed they would not have resurrected us." The writer was the founding president of Shalem College in Jerusalem, where he teaches the modern history of the Middle East.

2017-11-08 00:00:00

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