The US made several little-known efforts to prevent the creation of Israel. There are several lessons for us to learn from this little-known episode in US-Israel relations.

David Gabriel Goldenberg writes the Mikra newsletter. Sign up free to see how Judaism's ancient sources provide insights and solutions to Israel's biggest challenges. The first issue shows how the Torah defines peace and what brings it closer or pushes it further away.

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1. The US proposed Gcreate an internationally-run state, instead of a Jewish state. Basically, swap the British Mandate for a UN Mandate. Wonderful, right?


2. When the international plan was rejected outright, the US proposed to delay the declaration of the state by 10 days for negotiations between Jewish and Arab representatives flown out from the US. During that time, the British Mandate would continue. 

For comparison, Tzipi Livni asked for 9 months to negotiate only with Abbas, let alone dealing with Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia etc. 

So the point was obviously just to get an initial agreement to delay, and once negotiations began to extend and extend...

3. The US threatened to block any transfer of funds raised on behalf of Israel. We're not talking about not sending aid, but about blocking private donations from being transferred!

4. The Americans did in fact block armor plate from being sent to Israel, including even armor plating meant for civilian buses!

5. Secretary of State Marshall told Jewish Agency envoy Moshe Sharett that "The Arabs will destroy you. Take it from me, as a general, and don't believe your military advisors if they tell you otherwise."

Sharett was understandably shocked, yet to his credit still recommended to the Mapai Central Committee that the state be declared as planned on 5 Iyar 5708. 

This was part of a larger effort to divide and conquer, which included secret, unauthorized discussions with a senior Jewish Agency official (not Sharett). The goal was to find a breach that could be exploited to persuade the JA leadership to desist from declaring the State of Israel's independence.

6.  Dean Rask, then head of the State Department's UN Affairs Bureau, threatened to block any arms shipments and transfers of aid money from the US. 

7. Various other threats came out of the State Department, of an unspecified nature. One official did say that if the JA rejected the 10-day plan, the Jews should not come to the US with any requests for help later on. 

What lessons does this have for us today?

1. We can't rely on others, no matter what they may have done for us before or claim they want to do now. [And from the Torah we learn that we can only rely on G-d and ourselves.]

2. We need to do what's right for us, regardless of how others feel about it. Otherwise we might still not have a state today!

3. Requests for delay - even minor ones - are essentially attempts to kill an initiative by deflating the tires of its momentum. Building freeze anyone? When's that embassy going to move?  

4. We can say no, and survive and thrive!  We don't have to give in to American pressure, or that of anyone else!

Gab Goldenberg writes Mikra, a newsletter finding answers to modern Israel's problems in ancient Israel's sources - the Torah, Midrash, Talmud, Zohar etc. If you'd like to see how these sources shed light on Israel's conflict with the Arabs, our relations with the West and more, sign up to get Mikra



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