Understanding the Brief Moment When the Soviet Bloc Sided with Israel, and the U.S. Government against It

Just as his anti-Semitism was reaching its post-World War II peak, Joseph Stalin decided to throw his weight behind the UN plan to create a Jewish state in Mandatory Palestine. Meanwhile, the entire American foreign-policy establishment was against the idea—and had to be dragged along against its will by a firmly committed Harry Truman. These events are the subject of Jeffrey Herf’s new book Israel’s Moment. Robert Satloff writes in his review:

Providing sharp contrast to the cold-bloodedness of State Department officials, Herf quotes the emotional speeches and interventions of eastern bloc diplomats at the fledgling UN—especially, though not solely, Poles—arguing passionately in support of Zionism. It was the Communists who lobbied the UN to allow the Jewish Agency to speak on behalf of the Jews of Palestine during the special session on partition, while U.S. diplomats opposed it. Similarly, it was the Communists who recalled the recent deaths of Hitler’s six million Jewish victims to lend added legitimacy to Zionist aspirations for a national safe haven, while U.S. diplomats refrained from ever mentioning the Holocaust.

Strange as it may sound today, when anti-Israelism is central to the politics of so many progressives, Freda Kirchwey, editor of the Nation, “made Zionist aspirations one of the defining aspects of both her own writing and that of authors she invited to appear in the magazine.” Kirchwey herself traveled to Palestine in the summer of 1946 and sent home dispatches full of sympathy for the Jewish cause, underscoring the simple yet powerful link that connected survivors from the hell of Europe with those in the Yishuv who spent the war years preparing the ground for independence—they were all Jews. . . . When she returned, the Nation advocated for the partition of Palestine and the creation of a Jewish state.

Herf is especially deft at exposing the heartlessness of the architect of America’s containment strategy against the Soviet Union, George F. Kennan. From his perch as the inaugural director of State Department Policy Planning, Kennan wrote memo after memo giving the wild rants of Foggy Bottom Arabists like William Eddy—Saudi Aramco’s man at the State Department and perhaps “the first Western diplomat to equate Zionism with racism”—the patina of cold-war legitimacy. Kennan’s critique of Truman’s decision to recognize Israel was well-nigh apocalyptic.

Read more at Jewish Review of Books

More about: George Kennan, Harry Truman, Israeli history, Soviet Union, U.S.-Israel relationship

Using the Power of the Law to Fight Anti-Semitism

Examining carefully the problem of anti-Semitism, and sympathy with jihadists, at American universities, Danielle Pletka addresses the very difficult problem of what can be done about it. Pletka avoids such simplistic answers as calling for more education and turns instead to a more promising tool: law. The complex networks of organizations funding and helping to organize campus protests are often connected to malicious states like Qatar, and to U.S.-designated terrorist groups. Thus, without broaching complex questions of freedom of speech, state and federal governments already have ample justifications to crack down. Pletka also suggests various ways existing legal frameworks can be strengthened.

And that’s not all:

What is Congress’s ultimate leverage? Federal funding. Institutions of higher education in the United States will receive north of $200 billion from the federal government in 2024.

[In addition], it is critical to understand that foreign funders have been allowed, more or less, to turn U.S. institutions of higher education into political fiefdoms, with their leaders and faculty serving as spokesmen for foreign interests. Under U.S. law currently, those who enter into contracts or receive funding to advocate for the interest of a foreign government are required to register with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). This requirement is embedded in a criminal statute, and a violation risks jail time. There is no reason compliance by American educational institutions with disclosure laws should not be subject to similar criminal penalties.

Read more at Commentary

More about: American law, Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus