The Passionate Attachment: America's Involvement with Israel, 1947 to the Present

By Killgore, Andrew I. | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, February 28, 1993 | Go to article overview

The Passionate Attachment: America's Involvement with Israel, 1947 to the Present


Killgore, Andrew I., Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


The Passionate Attachment: America's Involvement with Israel, 1947 to the Present

George W. Ball, and his historian son, Douglas, have produced the landmark book the myriad of admirers of this world-renowned former deputy secretary of state and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations always knew it would be. The two deeply concerned authors have worked for almost a decade to produce a profound, comprehensive and scrupulously fair study of a relationship so tortured and unnatural that it holds the fearsome potential to poison forever the existing Christian-Jewish amity in America.

The Balls remind us that 200 years ago the French government tried to play a heavy-handed behind-the-scenes role in domestic American politics, appealing to the excessive enthusiasm for revolutionary France then felt by many Americans. Since a competing American political faction held strongly pro- British views, President George Washington feared that the emotional crosscurrents might involve the then small and vulnerable United States in a disastrous foreign war. Against this background, America's first president warned in his 1796 farewell address of the dangers of a "passionate attachment" toward any nation. From this warning the Balls derive the title of their book and their portentous theme that today's passionate attachment to Israel by a small but extremely influential faction in America constitutes an even greater danger to the United States.

The earlier "passionate attachment" created an environment in which the French government orchestrated personal insults to American diplomats in Paris and, instead of expressing regret, boasted openly that it had more power in the United States than the country's own government. After the American public became aware of the French arrogance, however, the pro-French faction lost disastrously in the U.S. elections of 1798, and the two countries drifted into an undeclared war against each other.

The French boasts of 1796, and the American public hostility that followed, are paralleled today by assertions of the political clout in the United States of Israel and its Washington lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Together, they have demonstrated repeatedly that Israel generally can get whatever it decides it needs from the United States by employing the twin engines of its power: the purchase of immense influence in the Congress, and the manipulation of fanatical loyalty to Israel by individuals within the U.S. media.

No clearer demonstration of this manipulation is required than initial U.S. media reaction to the Balls' landmark book. The first review to appear anywhere in the country was written for The Washington Post by historian Walter Laqueur, who has made a career of apologetics for Israel.

The pro-Israel pathology demonstrated by Laqueur in his review, and by the Post for selecting such a biased reviewer for a serious study of the U.S.- Israeli relationship, demonstrates the effectiveness of the Israeli- orchestrated campaign to keep objective discussion of the subject out of the U.S. media entirely.

Unable to refute either the facts presented by the Balls or their conclusions, Laqueur adopts a condescending tone, implying that the sheer number of their complaints must somehow discredit the book and its authors. At this writing, all other mainstream media editors have ignored this seminal work. Even America's purely Jewish press has ignored the book, with the exception of a denigrating review in Commentary. Whether from "passionate attachment" to Israel or craven fear of biased publishers or advertisers, American editors have elected to keep the very existence of the book a secret from their readers.

A Doleful Record

In the first two-fifths of The Passionate Attachment, covering U.S. administrations from Harry Truman to George Bush, the Balls present a doleful record of ever-increasing transfers of billions of dollars from the United States to an Israel that frequently and blatantly undercuts American aims not only in the Middle East but also in other parts of the world. …

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