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Richard Cohen Lies about Israel

Richard Cohen’s op-ed criticism of Helen Thomas is incorrect about the creation of Israel. I presume that he, as a Jew, knows better and has lied about its creation to attack Thomas. He says,

It was the plight of Jews consigned to Displaced Persons camps in Europe that both moved and outraged President Harry Truman, who supported Jewish immigration to Palestine and, when the time came, the new state itself. Something had to be done for the Jews of Europe. They were still being murdered.

In fact, Truman supported the creation of Israel for domestic political reasons. He needed the Jewish vote to get re-elected, and traded recognition of Israel for Jewish votes. His Secretary of State, George Marshall, opposed recognition of Israel as a state because of the problems that he correctly foresaw it would create for the US. Opposing Marshall was Truman’s domestic political adviser, Clark Clifford, who favored recognizing Israel.

Richard Cohen only needed to read his own newspaper, the Washington Post. A 2008 op-ed by Richard Holbrooke explained the machinations behind the American recognition of Israel much more accurately than Cohen did, although I don’t think Holbrooke is totally unbiased about it. I, of course, agree with George Marshall, and every other important person at the State Department, according to Holbrooke’s account. About the recognition of Israel, Holbrooke writes:

On May 12, [1948,] Truman held a meeting in the Oval Office to decide the issue. Marshall and his universally respected deputy, Robert Lovett, made the case for delaying recognition — and “delay” really meant “deny.” Truman asked his young aide, Clark Clifford, to present the case for immediate recognition. When Clifford finished, Marshall, uncharacteristically, exploded. “I don’t even know why Clifford is here. He is a domestic adviser, and this is a foreign policy matter. The only reason Clifford is here is that he is pressing a political consideration.”

Marshall then uttered what Clifford would later call “the most remarkable threat I ever heard anyone make directly to a President.” In an unusual top-secret memorandum Marshall wrote for the historical files after the meeting, the great general recorded his own words: “I said bluntly that if the President were to follow Mr. Clifford’s advice and if in the elections I were to vote, I would vote against the President.”

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