Mutual respect: Let’s keep it that way

The United States has long been a jump-starter for international support of Israel, and we’d like to keep it that way. The current administration has demonstrated its strong respect for Israel. There must be a way to go beyond the knee-jerk prejudice of President Trump, and acknowledge the huge success of pro-Israel actions in the current administration. From Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, visiting Jerusalem this week, to Ambassador David Friedman, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and oh-so-many Congressional leaders — all have helped dial back harmful policies left-over from the previous administration, righting the wrongs of the past and recognizing Israel’s right to decide for ourselves. 

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We learned this lesson 72 years ago from US President Truman, and mark the occasion tomorrow, on May 14th: 

Pres. Harry Truman’s historic recognition of the State of Israel plays a prominent part in his official archives. According to these records, in the spring of 1948, the ‘question of Palestine’ emerged in American domestic politics. Jewish votes were important to Pres. Truman in the coming election. Key advisors pushed him to stand firmly for UN partition of Palestine to win those votes. Here’s the description from his own archives: 

As the date approached, pressure on President Truman increased. He was urged to recognize the new Jewish state that was certain to be proclaimed when partition occurred. Others counseled against recognition, arguing it would antagonize Arab states and jeopardize American access to oil.

President Truman held Secretary of State George C. Marshall in high regard, but the Secretary’s opposition to recognition of a new Jewish state in Palestine troubled Truman, and resulted in the sharpest disagreement the two ever had:

The drama increased. As the archives show, Truman gathered his advisors at the White House on May 12th. Tempers flared. Clark Clifford made the case for recognition. Secretary of State George Marshall led the opposition, saying he couldn’t vote for President Truman if he pursued recognition. President Truman weighed personal, political and strategic concerns. 

Today – on May 14th – he acted. America recognized Israel, proudly the first nation to do so, just minutes after the State of Israel was proclaimed. 

President Truman accepted the gift of a Torah from Israeli President Dr. Chaim Weizmann, on a visit at the White House on May 25th 1948, and later a menorah, from Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion

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Yes, the ability to decide for ourselves, and to expect our allies to support us. The right to act as an independent, respected country. We are thankful that the Trump Administration has stepped up – Jerusalem has been acknowledged for what we already know it is: our eternal undivided capital. Support for the historic right of Jews to the land of Israel, to our homeland. Military defense decisions, economic policies, they’ve all got a strong partner in the US government. This took bravery and simply, guts. And for this we are grateful. 

Now’s the time to continue to respect the next policies coming out of Zion – bold, clear sovereignty over our land and more. Yes, the international community will try to tell us what to do. How to conduct our business. What will lead to peace and what’s good for us. However, we know best. We are a proud democracy. We respect our history and look to our future, for all people living here. We have vision and clarity, and we will act. We expect our friends to support our decisions.

Advise, and then support. We dont seek your approval. We want your support.

Advisors will discuss, politicos will critique, and this Administration is the one to continue the legacy of President Truman in Israel – supporting our right to decide for ourselves. 

Secretary Pompeo, you may not have heard this directly from Prime Minister Netanyahu this week – our longest serving Israeli PM, respected leader with vision, despite external pressures – in his understated diplomacy.  Sec’y Pompeo, it is your statement on Israeli sovereignty that has entered history as doctrine. It is the will of the Jewish people, over decades and now proven at the polls three times in one year.

As a long-time friend let me say this: Remember the respect that your great nation has consistently extended to Israel, and continue the example set from Truman to Trump. Respect for the right to decide for ourselves. That’s what we ask and that’s what we know you want to do, as friends and supporters of Israel. 

Welcome to Jerusalem!

About the Author
Ruth Lieberman is an Israeli-based political consultant and licensed tour guide, combining her love of Israel with political acumen to better Israel's standing both at home and in the eyes of the world. She has consulted for political leaders in Jerusalem and in Washington, from work on election campaigns to public advocacy and events. Her tours in Israel connect Biblical history to modern realities, to highlight Israel's achievements and promote its policies.
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