HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ISRAEL: Fascinating inside story of how Truman recognized the new Jewish state in ’48 despite intense opposition within his own Cabinet

President Truman meeting with first Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion at the White House on May 8, 1951

President Truman meeting with first Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion at the White House on May 8, 1951

>> Come with Joel and The Joshua Fund to visit the Holy Land on a “Prayer & Vision Tour” — what we’re calling the “Come bless Israel, come what may, tour” — this November 5-17, 2009

UPDATED: On the Western calendar, Israel was reborn as a nation on May 14, 1948.  But this year, April 28 marks the 61st birthday of the modern Jewish State on the Jewish calendar. Curiously, despite looming threats from Iran and Radical Islam, Israelis this year are overwhelmingly positive and optimistic about the future, feeling more peaceful and secure today than at any other time in the last 61 years. The “War and Peace Index,” for example, “finds that nation’s 61st Independence Day has Israelis seeing reality through rose-colored glasses, as 90% are happy with State’s accomplishments,” reports Ynetnews.com.

Earlier this week, I read the fascinating inside story of how President Truman — a strong Bible believer — chose to recognize the new State of Israel immediately upon David Ben Gurion’s pronouncement of the new Jewish State, despite President Roosevelt’s opposition, the intense opposition from within his own Cabinet, and the opposition of many in the Jewish community at the time. The story is a must-read in full, but here are a few excerpts from the memoirs of Clark Clifford, a senior advisor to Truman:

  • President Truman regarded his Secretary of State, General of the Army George C. Marshall, as “the greatest living American.” Yet the two men were on a collision course over Mideast policy. Marshall firmly opposed American recognition of the new Jewish state.
  • Officials in the State Department had done every­thing in their power to prevent, thwart, or delay the President’s Palestine policy in 1947 and 1948. Watching them find various ways to avoid carrying out White House instructions, I sometimes felt they preferred to follow the views of the British Foreign Office rather than those of their President.
  • At a meeting in the Oval Office on May 12, 1948, I argued: “In an area as unstable as the Middle East, where there is not now and never has been any tradition of democratic govern­ment, it is important for the long-range security of our country, and indeed the world, that a nation committed to the democratic system be established there, one on which we can rely. The new Jewish state can be such a place. We should strengthen it in its infancy by prompt recognition.”
  • Since at the time a significant number of Jewish Americans opposed Zionism, neither the President nor I believed that Palestine was the key to the Jewish vote. As I had written in 1947, the key to the Jewish vote in 1948 would not be the Palestine issue, but a continued commitment to liberal political and economic policies.

>> Click here to listen to part 2 of Dr. James Dobson’s interview with Joel C. Rosenberg about Inside The Revolution, and a discussion about the critical importance of building a global movement of Christians to pray for Israel, bless Israel, visit Israel, and stand with Israel, come what may.

>> Click here to listen to part 1 of Dr. Dobson’s interview with Joel


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