Paris, August 20, 2014 – Nearly every intelligent witness to the nearly seven decades of Israel’s alliance with the United States and Western Europe now understands that the affair needs to end.
In 1948 and the years that immediately followed, the alliance was the salvation of Israel and an obligation upon Western Europe. This was because of what had been done to Europe’s Jews during the war, and not only by the Nazis.
The Arab nations’ attempt to destroy the UN creation of a Jewish national home at the expense of the Palestinians was also widely understood, and granted a certain international sympathy, but in 1948 the Arab states carried little political weight against the array of West European states and the United States, at a moment when the cold war was beginning.
To American politicians, and European ones also, the electoral support of mobilized Jewish national communities was a force of consequence as well. The race between American and Soviet governments to be the first to recognize the new state was won by proclamation by Harry Truman, but Moscow was the first to grant formal diplomatic recognition to the new state of Israel, which it perceived as a possible ally in the Middle East.
Popular sympathy for Israel was widest among liberals in the United States and the European Left – which today is no longer the case. Anti-Semitism was still a force of consequence: America before and during the Second World War had done little for Europe’s persecuted Jews.