Moynihan's Moment: America's Fight against Zionism as Racism

Moynihan's Moment: America's Fight against Zionism as Racism

Moynihan's Moment: America's Fight against Zionism as Racism

Moynihan's Moment: America's Fight against Zionism as Racism

Synopsis

On November 10, 1975, the General Assembly of United Nations passed Resolution 3379, which declared Zionism a form of racism. Afterward, a tall man with long, graying hair, horned-rim glasses, and a bowtie stood to speak. He pronounced his words with the rounded tones of a Harvard academic,but his voice shook with outrage: "The United States rises to declare, before the General Assembly of the United Nations, and before the world, that it does not acknowledge, it will not abide by, it will never acquiesce in this infamous act."This speech made Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a celebrity, but as Gil Troy demonstrates in this compelling new book, it also marked the rise of neo-conservatism in American politics - the start of a more confrontational, national-interest-driven foreign policythat turned away from Kissinger's detente-driven approach to the Soviet Union - which was behind Resolution 3379. Moynihan recognized the resolution for what it was: an attack on Israel and a totalitarian assault against democracy, motivated by anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism. While Washingtondistanced itself from Moynihan, the public responded enthusiastically: American Jews rallied in support of Israel. Civil rights leaders cheered. The speech cost Moynihan his job - but soon won him a U.S. Senate seat. Troy examines the events leading up to the resolution, vividly recounts Moynihan'sspeech, and traces its impact in intellectual circles, policy making, international relations, and electoral politics in the ensuing decades. The mid-1970s represent a low-water mark of American self-confidence, as the country, mired in an economic slump, struggled with the legacy of Watergate and the humiliation of Vietnam. Moynihan's Moment captures a turning point, when the rhetoric began to change and a more muscular foreign policybegan to find expression, a policy that continues to shape international relations to this day.

Excerpt

On November 10, 1975, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 3379 with 72 delegates voting “yes,” 35 opposing, 32 abstaining, and 3 absent. in the world parliament’s dry, legalistic language, the resolution singled out one form of nationalism, Jewish nationalism, for unprecedented vilification. “Recalling” un resolutions in 1963 and 1973 condemning racial discrimination, and “taking note” of recent denunciations of Zionism from the International Women’s Year Conference, the Organization of African Unity meeting, and the Non-Aligned Conference in Peru that summer, the General Assembly concluded that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.”

After the resolution passed, America’s ambassador to the United Nations, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, rose to speak. With his graying hair and matching gray suit, a white handkerchief in his breast pocket, from afar the forty-eightyear-old American looked like every other middle-aged Western diplomat. Up close, the 6-foot 5-inch professor made a different impression. His hair was a little long and untamed, more Harvard Yard than Turtle Bay, the fashionable New York neighborhood where the un is located. Strands of hair drooped over the right side of his prominent forehead, compelling him to brush back the errant hair periodically. With a no-nonsense scowl reinforced . . .

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