Did America create Israel?

The United States created Israel

– Muammar Gaddafi 1

An overview of the truth

Today, the United States and Israel are the closest of friends. The continued strength of the US-Israel alliance is rooted in the shared values of the two nations. During more than six decades of state-building, Israelis have looked to the United States for political inspiration and support. Americans, in turn, have viewed Israel with a special appreciation for its successful effort to follow the Western democratic tradition, its remarkable economic development, and its determined struggle against its uncompromising enemies.

Since the rebirth of the State of Israel, there has been an ironclad bond between that democracy and this one.

— President Ronald Reagan

Long before the birth of Theodor Herzl, American presidents were endorsing the idea of a Jewish homeland in Judea (Palestine).

For I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation.

– John Adams

But what most don’t know was that before Israel declared independence, America was at times opposed to the creation of the Israel. Here is a brief timeline of that opposition:

  • 1919 – The US-Government sponsored King–Crane Commission advocated the creation of a Greater Syria, to include Palestine, stating “nor can the erection of such a Jewish State be accomplished without the gravest trespass upon the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”
  • 1945 – President Truman favours a bi-national state
  • 1946 – Truman proposes an Arab/Jewish bi-national federation, he doesn’t give up on this ideal until 1947
  • 1947 – President Truman asks Americans not to support for Zionist underground organisations, he then goes on to ban arms sales to Palestine. It wasn’t until JFK in 1962 that America sold arms to Israel, at this point Israel had already been invaded by seven Arab armies.
  • 1948 – Secretary of State, George Marshall campaigns against the creation of Israel.
  • 1948 – The US proposes the UN abandon the partition plan in favour of a trusteeship

American support for Arab states

While many are aware of the strong bond between Israel and America, most that America gave have no idea America was the driving force behind the establishment of the Arab states in that region. President Woodrow Wilson’s stand for self-determination for all nations, and the U.S. entry into World War I, helped cause the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and stimulate the move toward independence in the Arab world.2

It wasn’t just enabling their independence, since World War II the U.S. has offered continuous economic and military assistance to this region. Between 2009 and 2015 the Arab states received a total $36 billion of US AID, while Israel received $18 billion.3 Today America is the principal backer of nations such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Gulf sheikdoms.

Israel does not receive preferential treatment from America, rather the entire Middle East receives special treatment.

The American proposal for Greater Syria

In 1919 the US government commissioned an assessment of whether the Ottoman territories were ready for self-determination and to see which nations, if any, should act as mandatory powers.

The report strongly opposed the establishment of a Jewish state in the Middle East, while simultaneously advocating the independence of the Arab states, particularly “Greater Syria” (a territory which stretched from Egypt to Iraq). The report stated that the majority of “Syrians” were against the formation of a Jewish state, suggesting the only way to establish a viable Jewish state was with armed force. It went on to say, there would be nothing wrong with Jews returning to “Israel” and simply living as Jewish Syrian citizens, but concluded “nor can the erection of such a Jewish State be accomplished without the gravest trespass upon the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”.4

The report took three years to publish and in this time the British and French had defined their own proposal – which rendered the King-Crane commission redundant.

The American desire for a bi-national federation

Only a few months after the Nazi death camps of Europe had been liberated and before the UN had put forward its proposal to partition Palestine. President Truman said that while he supported Jewish immigration to Palestine, he did not support a Jewish state. He was recorded suggesting that “the government of Palestine should be a government of the people of Palestine irrespective of race, creed or color”.5

A year later Truman endorsed the “Morrison Grady Plan” which proposed a unitary federal trusteeship in Palestine. Jewish and Arab provinces would exercise self-rule under British oversight, while Jerusalem and the Negev would remain under direct British control.6

The American retraction of Zionist support

On 19 May 1947 the British government requested that the Truman do something to prevent American citizens supporting the Zionist underground in Palestine. 7 Seventeen days later President Truman urged “every citizen and resident of the United States, in the interests of this country, of world peace, and of humanity, meticulously to refrain, while the United Nations is considering the problem of Palestine, from engaging in, or facilitating, activities which tend further to inflame the passions of the inhabitants of Palestine”. 8

Then America struck a blow to the Zionist cause which almost resulted in the destruction of Israel. In December that year the State Department announced that the United States Government was “for the present” discontinuing the licensing of arms to Palestine. 9 It wasn’t until 1962 that the JFK government would lift this embargo, which meant that when seven Arab armies attacked Israel, five months after the embargo was announced, the Jews with barely a weapon to repel these armies.

It was a miracle the state survive and it did so largely from the favour of Soviet states. It was actually Communist Czechoslovakia that provided the few arms Israel had.10

The American attempt to stop the partition

On the 19th March 1948 the United States proposed the United Nations abandon their plan of partitioning Mandatory Palestine. Instead they proposed the UN put in place a trusteeship (similar to the “Morrison Grady Plan”, but under the auspices of the UN) until such a time as an agreement could be reached between the Jews and Arabs.11

Strong opposition to partition from the US State and Defence Departments guided this proposal. The opposition was spearheaded by one of the biggest opponents to Israeli statehood, the Secretary of State, George Marshall. Marshall believed that if Israel declared independence war in the Middle East would be inevitable. He also thought that if the US supported a Jewish state the Arabs would deny them their much coveted oil.

While Truman initially endorsed the trusteeship proposal, he ultimately reached the conclusion that partition was the right solution. Marshall was cynical of Truman’s conversion to Israeli independence suspecting the president of trying to win Jewish support in the upcoming election. He told President Truman in May 1948, “If you (recognize the state of Israel) and if I were to vote in the election, I would vote against you.”12

Truman made clear that his reason for supporting Israel had nothing to do with political self-preservation, but was in fact born out of compassion. He famously declared “Hitler had been murdering Jews right and left. I saw it, and I dream about it even to this day. The Jews needed some place where they could go. It is my attitude that the American government couldn’t stand idly by while the victims [of] Hitler’s madness are not allowed to build new lives.” 13 Upon Israel’s declaration of independence, the United States was the first nation to recognise it.

Summary

To suggest that America created Israel is a statement of complete ignorance. Israel was created when it declared of independence in 1948. This declaration was based on a recommendation of the United Nations and while America was the first state to recognise Israel, it was not its creator. Furthermore, in the early years America rejected the idea of a Jewish state and instead supported numerous proposals for bi-national federations. Today the two nations are closest of allies, but it was far from a smooth journey.

Learn more about how Israel as created:

Sources

1. Muammar Gaddafi, as reported in “Israel, America & Arab Delusions”, Daniel Pipes, Commentary Magazine, 3 January 1991
2. Fourteen Points speech, Woodrow Wilson, 8 January 1918
3. ForeignAssistance.gov (US Foreign AID website)
4. “The King-Crane Commission Report”, 28 August 1919
5. President Truman Reported Opposed to Establishment of Palestine As a Jewish State, Jewish Telegraph Agency, 5 December 1945
6. “Morrison-Grady Plan”, July 1946
7. “Britain Criticizes U.S. for Failure to Withdraw Tax Exemption from Bergson Group”, Jewish Telegraph Agency, 20 May 1947
8. President Truman, 5 June 1947, quoted in “Truman Asks Americans to Refrain from Activities Which Aggravate Palestine Situation”, Jewish Telegraph Agency, 6 June 1947
9. Department Embargoes Arms to the Middle East; Moves to Protect U.S. Citizens, Jewish Telegraph Agency, 7 December 1947
10. The Forgotten Friendship – Israel and the Soviet Bloc, 1947–53, Arnold Krammer, p54–123.
11. Truman and Israel, Michael Joseph Cohen
12. “Truman Adviser Recalls May 14, 1948 US Decision to Recognize Israel”. Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. May–June 1991. p17
13. “Israel: From Darling of the Left to Pariah State”, Norman Berdichevsky, New English Review, May 2012