Sixty-nine years ago (by the Hebrew calendar) the world saw a real miracle from God. After a wait of almost 2,000 years, the Jewish people who never left the land given to them by the Lord, once again had political control of their country. They were once again a nation-state, Israel declared her independence.
The Jewish State’s existence would have been very short-lived were it not for the strong will of President Harry S Truman, who became the first world leader to recognize Israel, and he did so over the objections of his Secretary of State George Marshall, who was more popular with the American people than Truman.
The president didn’t make his decision because of politics but like so much of what Truman did he supported Israel because he thought it was the right thing to do. Of course some attributed Truman’s stance to something else. When Israel’s Chief Rabbi, Isaac Herzog, visited the White House after Israel declared her independence he told Truman, “God put you in your mother’s womb so that you would be the instrument to bring the rebirth of Israel after 2000 years.”
Based on the Democratic Party’s move away from support of the Jewish State over the past decade, it may be reasonable to believe that if Harry Truman tried to overrule the popular Marshall today, the Democrats might try to impeach their own president. They would certainly vehemently object.
The Democrats might even have tried to negate the UN Partition Plan, as most in the State Department recommended to Truman in 1948, but a wishy-washy move like that wasn’t Harry Truman’s style.
“What I am trying to do is make the whole world safe for Jews,” Harry Truman wrote as he agonized over his decision to recognize a Jewish state in Palestine.
Secretary of State George Marshall (Time’s 1947 Man of the Year) an international hero was just as opposed to the creation of Israel as Truman was for it. Clark M. Clifford, Special Counsel to President Truman, remembered the internal administration fight regarding the recognition of the Jewish State — the final discussion in the Oval Office. The meeting turned out to be an angry battle with Clifford and the President on one side, Marshall and Undersecretary of State Robert Lovett on the other.
The argument used by the state department leaders were similar to the ones Democrats used when Speaker Boehner invited Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress about the Iran deal. Undersecretary of State Lovett first argued Truman was supporting Israel solely for political gain and he warned the President the move would lose more votes than it would gain.
When that didn’t work, Lovett tried another approach –the red scare (because you know all of those Jews are commies).
Clifford recalled the argument:
Mr. President, to recognize the Jewish state prematurely would be buying a pig in a poke. How do we know what kind of Jewish state will be set up? We have many reports from British and American intelligence agents that Soviets are sending Jews and Communist agents into Palestine from the Black Sea area.
Lovett read some of these intelligence reports to the group. Clifford said he found them ridiculous, and no evidence ever turned up to support them; in fact, Jews were fleeing communism throughout Eastern Europe at that very moment.”
When Lovett was done speaking it was the “hero” Marshall’s turn. As Clifford described the remarks:
I had noticed Marshall’s face reddening with suppressed anger as I talked. When I finished, he exploded: “Mr. President, I thought this meeting was called to consider an important and complicated problem in foreign policy. I don’t even know why Clifford is here. He is a domestic adviser, and this is a foreign policy matter.”
I would never forget President Truman’s characteristically simple reply: “Well, General, he’s here because I asked him to be here.”
Marshall, scarcely concealing his ire, shot back, “These considerations have nothing to do with the issue. I fear that the only reason Clifford is here is that he is pressing a political consideration with regard to this issue. I don’t think politics should play any part in this.”
Lovett accused the POTUS was only trying to get the Jewish vote (a charge that angered Truman to his dying day).
“It would be highly injurious to the United Nations to announce the recognition of the Jewish state even before it had come into existence and while the General Assembly is still considering the question. Furthermore, such a move would be injurious to the prestige of the President. It is obviously designed to win the Jewish vote, but in my opinion, it would lose more votes than it would gain.” Lovett had finally brought to the surface the root cause of Marshall’s fury – his view that the position I presented was dictated by domestic political considerations, specifically a quest for Jewish votes.
Secretary of State, General of the Army George C. Marshall, (a huge hero even to Truman who called Marshall the greatest living American) spoke up:
He was still furious. Speaking with barely contained rage and more than a hint of self-righteousness, he made the most remarkable threat I ever heard anyone make directly to a President: “If you follow Clifford’s advice and if I were to vote in the election, I would vote against you.
Everyone in the room was stunned. Here was the indispensable symbol of continuity [from FDR] whom President Truman revered and needed, making a threat that, if it became public, could virtually seal the dissolution of the Truman Administration and send the Western Alliance, then in the process of creation, into disarray before it had been fully structured.
Marshall’s statement fell short of an explicit threat to resign, but it came very close.” General Marshall’s position was grossly unfair.
But Truman’s mind was made up– he was going to do the right thing. At 4 p.m. Friday May 14, 1948 just before the start of the Jewish Sabbath, David Ben Gurion read a 979-word declaration of independence in front of a small audience at the Tel Aviv Art Museum. He finished in his usual terse manner. “The state of Israel is established! The meeting is ended.” (see video below). At midnight, British rule over Palestine lapsed; 11 minutes later White House spokesman Charlie Ross announced U.S. recognition.
In 1961 long after was out of office, Truman met with Israeli PM David Ben Gurion in NY. In writing about the meeting, Ben Gurion explained:
At our last meeting, after a very interesting talk, just before [the President] left me – it was in a New York hotel suite – I told him that as a foreigner I could not judge what would be his place in American history; but his helpfulness to us, his constant sympathy with our aims in Israel, his courageous decision to recognize our new state so quickly and his steadfast support since then had given him an immortal place in Jewish history. As I said that, tears suddenly sprang to his eyes. And his eyes were still wet when he bade me goodbye. I had rarely seen anyone so moved. I tried to hold him for a few minutes until he had become more composed, for I recalled that the hotel corridors were full of waiting journalists and photographers. He left.
A little while later, I too had to go out, and a correspondent came to me to ask, “Why was President Truman in tears when he left you?” I believe that I know. These were the tears of a man who had been subjected to calumny and vilification, who had persisted against powerful forces within his own Administration determined to defeat him. These were the tears of a man who had fought ably and honorably for a humanitarian goal to which he was deeply committed. These were tears of thanksgiving that his God had seen fit to bless his labors with success.
Truman was a president who judged not whether things would make America popular in the Arab world, but whether it was the right thing for the US. The man from Independence, Mo. knew the best thing for America’s future was for to grab the moral leadership position of the entire world.
American didn’t have that for eight years under Obama, but appears to have regained it with Donald Trump.
But over the last decade the party of Truman the Democratic Party forgot the role of Harry Truman in the Creation of Israel.Their last President was not a friend of Israel, and their losing nominee in 2016 was also unfriendly to the Jewish State. In 2012 they removed (and never replaced) a provision in their platform that prevented Israel from being destroyed by an influx of Palestinian Muslims. They also removed and never replaced a plank promising not to deal with the terrorist Hamas until they reformed. The Democrats passed a treaty with Iran that leaves the terrorist state less than five months away from having nuclear weapons. The Most recent Democratic Party nominating convention was an anti-Israel hate-fest And after the convention the party appointed an anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, friend of the Muslim Brotherhood terror groups, named Keith Ellison as their number two guy, and one of their vice-chairs threatened people who protested against an anti-Semite giving the commencement address at a tax-payer funded college.
Maybe today’s Democrats wouldn’t have impeached Truman if he tried to recognize the new state of Israel ..perhaps they would only “string him up.”