Two Forgotten American Jews Who Helped Build the U.S.-Israel Alliance

In the 1960s, Abraham (Abe) Feinberg and Myer (Mike) Feldman played key roles in facilitating the relations between the White House and Jerusalem. Neither was formally connected with any Jewish or Israeli institution; nor did either man hold a diplomatic position. Thus their efforts thus took place outside of the public spotlight. Abraham Ben-Zvi and Gadi Warsha tell their stories:

The two resolved to dedicate their time and efforts to bolstering Israel, not for financial reasons or vanity, but primarily so that they could advance what they considered shared interests by the two countries. Feldman was a successful and wealthy lawyer from Philadelphia when he was tapped by President Kennedy to be the liaison officer between the White House and the Jewish community. Feinberg was a philanthropist and a businessman from a family that made its wealth in the textile industry. Although he had been wielding influence in Democratic administrations since 1948, capitalizing on his ties, he became a real mover and shaker under Johnson, when he turned into a secret envoy for Israel, enjoying the [complete] trust of the president.

[Feldman’s] first action, which he undertook together with Feinberg, was in arranging the unofficial meeting between then-Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and John F. Kennedy in New York in May 1961. This was not just a logistical matter—it was complicated due to fierce opposition by some circles in the administration. Feldman ultimately wielded his unique influence on the presidential decision-making process in the run-up to the procurement deal with Israel for Hawk surface-to-air missiles: for the first time, a U.S. administration agreed to transfer sophisticated weapon systems to Israel. This created an important precedent on the path charted by Ben-Gurion as he sought to make Washington Israel’s main arms supplier.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: David Ben-Gurion, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, U.S.-Israel relationship

What Is the Biden Administration Thinking?

In the aftermath of the rescue of four Israeli hostages on Friday, John Podhoretz observes some “clarifying moments.” The third strikes me as the most important:

Clarifying Moment #3 came with the news that the Biden administration is still calling for negotiations leading to a ceasefire after, by my count, the seventh rejection of the same by Hamas since Bibi Netanyahu’s secret offer a couple of weeks ago. Secretary of State Blinken, a man who cannot say no, including when someone suggests it would be smart for him to play high-school guitar while Ukraine burns, will be back in the region for the eighth time to urge Hamas to accept the deal. Why is this clarifying? Because it now suggests, here and for all time, that the Biden team is stupid.

Supposedly the carrot the [White House] is dangling in the region is a tripartite security deal with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Which would, of course, be a good thing. But like the stupid people they are now proving to be, they seem not to understand the very thing that led the Saudis to view Israel as a potential ally more than a decade ago: the idea that Israel means business and does what it must to survive and built itself a tech sector the Saudis want to learn from. Allowing Hamas to survive, which is implicitly part of the big American deal, will not lead to normalization. The Saudis do not want an Iranian vassal state in Palestine. Their entire foreign-policy purpose is to counter Iran. I know that. You know that. Everybody in the world knows that. Even Tony Blinken’s guitar is gently weeping at his dangling a carrot to Israel and Saudi Arabia that neither wants, needs, nor will accept.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Antony Blinken, Gaza War 2023, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship