Israel and Truman’s Lesson for Obama

David Meir-Levi writes and lectures on Middle East topics, until recently in the History Department of San Jose State University.


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Whatever influence President Truman’s personal feelings about Jews may have had on his political decisions7 evaporated in light of the obvious political gain to be had by courting pro-Israel voters.  In 1946, he endorsed the idea of a Jewish state and expressed support for the UN Partition Plan, just before Governor Dewey did so. At midnight, May 14, 1948, the Provisional Government of Israel proclaimed the new State of Israel. On that same date the United States, in the person of President Truman, recognized the provisional Jewish government as de facto authority of the new Jewish state (de jure recognition was extended on January 31, 1949).

Again, being first counted for something, as did choosing right over wrong and putting our nation’s priorities over his personal predilections. Truman won in 1948.

Now, as then, choosing right over wrong and putting our nation’s priorities over personal predilections counts for something.  And especially now, when nations and leaders worldwide are quick to condemn Israel’s construction of homes for its growing population but stand mute, inert and complicit in the face of the palpable evil of Arab incitement to genocide and terrorist mass murder, speaking out counts for something.

Will our president learn from his illustrious predecessor’s history?  Will he recognize evil for what it is as Arab diatribe resurrects the Nazi Final Solution? Will he understand that silence in the face of evil is complicity, and complicity with evil is evil?  Or will he stand idly by, complicit in his silence?

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End Notes

1. Reason in  Common Sense, vol. I, The Life of Reason, 1905-6. Winston Churchill and others have made similar quips. http://www.quotes-daily.com/2009/09/winston-churchill-quote-those-that-fail.html.

2. Quoted in http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6188.Georg_Wilhelm_Friedrich_Hegel.

3. Judging from the actual words the Mufti used in his speech, it is difficult to believe that he was merely quoting a Hadith,  but rather was indeed rallying his audience to war against modern Israel and Jews everywhere: “The Hour [of Resurrection] will not come until you fight the Jews. The Jew will hide behind stones or trees. Then the stones or trees will call: ‘Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’ Except the Gharqad tree [which will keep silent (because it is the tree of the Jews)].Therefore it is no wonder that you see Gharqad [trees] surrounding the [Israeli] settlements and colonies..”

4. http://www.palwatch.org/; http://www.memri.org/ and http://www.imra.org.il/

5. Much of the following, unless otherwise indicated, is taken from Rafael Medoff, “How the Mufti of Jerusalem Once Impacted America’s Presidential Election — and Could Do So Again,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 1, 2012, at http://www.nysun.com/foreign/how-the-mufti-of-jerusalem-once-impacted-americas/87688/.

6. For a biographical review of Amin el-Husseini, see http://books.google.com/books/about/Icon_of_Evil.html?id=QMts5Z36kjAC  and its review, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/28/books/review/Segev-t.html.

7. For insight into Truman’s vacillation about policy decisions related to Israel and about his personal anti-Jewish sentiments, see http://www.mideastweb.org/us_supportforstate.htm; http://www.adl.org/anti_semitism/oped_truman.asp and http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/israel/large/index.php .

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Addendum

The message in this sermon is unambiguous: “Today’s Jews and Israelis are enemies of Allah and humanity – Kill them!”

“The loathsome occupation in Palestine – its land and its holy places – by these new Mongols and what they are perpetrating upon this holy, blessed and pure land – killing, assassination, destruction, confiscation, Judaization (sic!), harassment and splitting the homeland – are clear proof of [unintelligible word - Ed.] hostility, of incomparable racism, and of Nazism of the 20th century. The Jews, the enemies of Allah and of His Messenger, the enemies of Allah and of His Messenger! Enemies of humanity in general, and of Palestinians in particular – they wage war against us using all kinds of crimes, and as you see – even the mosques are not spared their racism…

“Our enmity with the Jews is a matter of [or 'based on'] faith; our enmity with the Jews is a matter of faith, more than an enmity owing to [or 'arising from'] occupation and the land.”

“Were the Palestinian people not the owners of the orchards of Haifa and Jaffa? Were the Palestinian people not the owners of the buildings of Sheikh Munis [today's Ramat Aviv], Safed and Acre? And from [a situation of] orchards and the citrus exports [they have been reduced] to UNRWA and to food stamps, and from buildings and from the Mediterranean beaches to refugee camps and to exile. Why, Oh nation of victory and of Shahada (Martyrdom)?! Why, Oh nation of Islam?! Because we forgot that which we were told [in the Quran], because we forgot that which we were told, and Allah allowed the Jews to punish us.”

“Oh Muslims! The Jews are the Jews. The Jews are the Jews. Even if donkeys would cease to bray, dogs cease to bark, wolves cease to howl and snakes to bite, the Jews would not cease to harbor hatred towards Muslims. The Prophet said that if two Jews would be alone with a Muslim, they would think only of killing him. Oh Muslims! This land will be liberated, these holy places and these mosques will be liberated, only by means of a return to the Quran and when all Muslims will be willing to be Jihad Fighters for the sake of Allah and for the sake of supporting Palestine, the Palestinian people, the Palestinian land, and the holy places in Palestine. The Prophet says: ‘You shall fight the Jews and kill them, until the tree and the stone will speak and say: ‘Oh Muslim, Oh servant of Allah’ – the tree and the stone will not say, ‘Oh Arab,’ they will say, ‘Oh Muslim’. And they will not say, ‘Where are the millions?’ and will not say, ‘Where is the Arab nation?’ Rather, they will say, ‘Oh Muslim, Oh servant of Allah – there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’ Except for the Gharqad tree [tree mentioned in the Quran - Ed.], which is the tree of the Jews. Thus, this land will be liberated only by means of Jihad…”

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  • stern

    IN answer to all the questions in the last paragraph, no. Obama will not speak out because it's the right thing to do. He may only speak out to avoid losing the rest of the Jewish vote. And the terrifying thing is that Jews will fall for it and vote for him in droves.

  • HolmesSimons

    Are you kidding? Until you realize that Obama does not have the interests of America as his goal, and never has, you will continue to write absurdities based upon false premises. Wise up! PLEASE!

  • FriendofGaryCooper

    No, Obama won't speak out against Muslim incitement to genocide; because his goal is to advance a world-wide Islamic caliphate, and destroy Israel and the United States in the process, even if it means that he loses the election. The analogy with Truman is a very good one, and very appropriate. Despite his anti-semitic leanings, Truman was a patriot; Obama doesn't know what "patriot" means. Very good article.

  • tzvimoshecooper

    on the other hand, Jews are fortunate to defy history. any other people would have succumbed to the attacks and hatred heaved on us in every age. it is up to every Jew and every sane citizen of the world to defy these villains.

  • kafantaris

    When Palestinian TV is on, it shows Sesame Street.
    When it shows Sesame Street, it shows Bert.
    When it shows Bert, it shows it might be OK to be gay.
    When it shows it might be OK to be gay, the TV censors come out. 
    When the TV censors come out, they get friendly with the Palestinians.
    Don’t let your TV censors get friendly with the Palestinians.
    Confiscate Palestinian TV.

  • artcohn

    Truman's close friend was Eddie Jacobson, who was Jewish. Jacobson was trying to get Truman to see Chaim Weitzmann in 1947 before the UN vote on the partition resolution. Jacobson later reported that Truman responded with an anti-semitic diatribe that shocked Jacobson, who never previously had seen such behavior from Truman, in all their years as friends, business partners or WW1 soldiers..
    Truman was under a lot of pressure from George Marshall and the arabists in the State Dept. Truman's eruption of anti-semitic name-calling might have been from exaspiration from one more person, a personal friend, putting pressure on him. In any case, in later years, Truman was most proud of his pro-Israel decision. He termed himself as Cyrus, the Persian King who ended the Judeans' exile in Babylon in the -6th century. See Ron Radosh's book on the subject

    • Sage on the Stage

      Truman's parents and wife were anti-semitic. In 1967, when David Susskind tried to interview Truman, at his home in Independence, MO; Truman wouldn't let him in the house. When Susskind asked why, Truman replied, "Because you're a Jew, David."