On the international context of Israel’s founding

Last week, Cambridge University Press published my book Israel’s Moment: International Support for and Opposition to Establishing the Jewish State, 1945-1949. The work recalls political coordinates of those years when the global left and an anticommunist President of the United States agreed to support the Zionist project. Support came from American liberals, and left-liberals, French Socialists, Gaullists and some Communists, from the Soviet Union, and the Soviet bloc states of Poland, and Czechoslovakia, and, as is well known, from the President of the United States, Harry Truman.

They saw the establishment of the Jewish state as the logical aftermath of the anti-Nazi passions of World War II. Persistent and emphatic opposition came, of course, from the Arab states, and the Palestinian groups led by Haj Amin el-Husseini of the Arab Higher Committee. In the United States and Britain, opposition came from the leaders of the diplomatic and military establishment in the U.S. State Department, and Pentagon, and in Britain in its Foreign Office.

In Washington and London, senior government officials expressed concerns about the alleged connections between the Jewish state in Palestine and Soviet and Communist expansion. In France, the Foreign Ministry also leaned toward the Arabs, while the Socialists who led the French Ministry of the Interior, supported “clandestine” Jewish emigration to Palestine. The book rests on research in U.S. and French government archives, on the records of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council, and on public debates in the United States.

The book is now available at Cambridge University Press, or on Amazon in Britain.

About the Author
Jeffrey Herf is Distinguished University Professor in the Department of History at the University of Maryland, College Park, USA. He has published extensively on modern German and European history including Undeclared Wars with Israel: East Germany and the West German Far Left, He is completing a study entitled “At War with Israel: East Germany and the West German Radical Left, 1967-1989" (Cambridge University Press, 2016). His "Israel's Moment: The United States and Europe between the Holocaust and the Cold War" is forthcoming.
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