Reluctant Ally: United States Foreign Policy toward the Jews from Wilson to Roosevelt

Reluctant Ally: United States Foreign Policy toward the Jews from Wilson to Roosevelt

Reluctant Ally: United States Foreign Policy toward the Jews from Wilson to Roosevelt

Reluctant Ally: United States Foreign Policy toward the Jews from Wilson to Roosevelt

Synopsis

Told in narrative form, this story of the origins of United States policy towards European Jews, Zionists, and Israelis and the Jews' reaction to that policy becomes a moving account of how the American outrage at mistreatment of European Jewry after World War I joined with an organized response to the Zionist movement to ultimately support the settling of Palestine. Rapid policy changes from 1900 to mid-century are carefully chronicled and the resulting history integrated into a comprehensive overview whose relevance to the current Gulf war and U.S. policy toward Israel cannot be overlooked.

Excerpt

There is no diplomacy without military success.

Sir Edward Grey, 1915

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Jewish-related foreign policy issues were at the fringes of American diplomatic concerns; by its midpoint, they were near their very center. This dramatic and extraordinarily rapid change in the nature of the relationship between the United States and overseas Jewry is the subject of the present study.

The span of time between the start of the Administration of President Woodrow Wilson (1913) and the end of Franklin D. Roosevelt's (1945) also marks the period when the Jewish people reemerged on the world political scene as a distinct nation with a serious claim to sovereignty over a particular land--Palestine. The United States, as the host country to a major and influential segment of world Jewry and as a great world power, inevitably played an important role in the events associated with this growing sense of Jewish nationalism and its political movement, Zionism.

Those events occurred in--indeed, were largely created by--the nearly continual state of military conflict in which the world of 1914-1945 found itself. The "interwar" period of 1919-1939 is now increasingly recognized as actually one of uneasy armistice in what has been a single great war from 1914 to 1945. While that war provided the context for American diplomacy toward the Jews in those thirty years, the unique nature of the Zionist movement itself accounted for the special features of that diplomacy. Unlike other national independence movements, political Zionism had its start (1896), and carried out much of its activities, not in the land which was the . . .

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