Israel and the United States

The Grand Misalliance. A Review
Published: 2007-01-01

The Passionate Attachment: America's Involvement with Israel, 1947 to the Present by George W. Ball and Douglas B. Ball, W. W. Norton, 1992.

Diplomat, international lawyer and distinguished statesman (a former Undersecretary of State in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations), George W. Ball and his historian son, Douglas, have produced a landmark critique of the U.S.-Israeli relationship. A detailed history of American involvement with political Zionism, the book discusses the ideological foundation of Israel; traces the sequence of events that brought America into this unique relationship; reveals why America became so deeply involved with Israel; discusses the immense moral, political and financial costs of the relationship; and, finally, offers recommendations to alleviate the major problems and tensions. Despite the stature and prestige of the senior author, the overall importance of the issues raised and the power of its arguments, this definitive study has been largely degraded or ignored by the mainstream media.

In the beginning was the WORD. The state of Israel, as conceived by Zionist ideologues, was to be:

  1. independent of any other power;
  2. a state exclusively for Jews, managed by Jews, for the benefit of Jews;
  3. based on democratic principles (p. 64).

Coupled with these objectives were detailed schemes for the forced deportation of non-Jews from the proposed Zionist state. The Balls write:

"The Jewish plan for an exclusively Jewish state, free of the inconvenient presence of native peoples, was scarcely new. Theodor Herzl [founding father of Modern Zionism] had laid out the framework for such a system in 1898, when he sought a charter from the Ottoman Sultan… for the Jewish Colonial Society… One of the provisions of that abortive charter gave the Society the power to deport the natives, and Herzl sought such powers whether the new Jewish homeland was to be in Argentina, Kenya, Cyprus or Palestine. The Jewish Land Trust incorporated this doctrine in its rules, which designated all its properties exclusively for Jewish use and even prohibited the employment by the Jewish tenants of non-Jews, thereby forcing such persons to seek employment abroad." (p. 29)

Predictably the Zionists ended up producing an Athenian democracy for Jews and second-class citizenship or feudal servitude for non-Jews (p. 65).

In contemporary American society the "ultimate sin" for a white Gentile is identification with any form of white nationalism. America poses as the opponent of all forms of "racism," yet ardently promotes and subsidizes political Zionism—an ideology of Jewish exclusivism which is inextricably tied to the plans for the forcible deportation of non-Jews. This egregious double standard explains how organized Jewry enforced its hypocritical dual code of "morality" on the American people.

Although the Balls do not comment upon the U.S. government's blatantly different treatment of Israel and South Africa, they note: "South Africa is moving…toward an abolition of apartheid and ultimately a more equitable sharing of power with its black majority; but no parallel reforms are visible in Israel's relations with its Palestinian residents." (p. 290)

The title of the Balls' book was inspired by Washington's Farewell Address. The first president believed that America, in shaping its international relations, should abjure any "passionate attachment" to a foreign nation. Washington surmised, correctly as it turned out, such an attachment results in "concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others." (p. 10)

Indeed, American foreign policy grants Israelis the right to maintain a state exclusively for Jews, but consistently denies white South Africans the right to maintain a state exclusively for whites. No American president would ever demand that Jews and Palestinians forcibly integrate and create a "multiracial democracy" with power sharing equally between the two groups. But our modern presidents stridently demand that South African whites and blacks integrate and that whites accept "black majority rule."

In the first part of The Passionate Attachment, covering U.S. administrations from Harry Truman to George H. Bush, the Balls assess America's growing involvement with the Zionist lobby and the state of Israel. They show how American policy in the Middle East was and still is a "progressive retreat from principle." With the exception of Dwight Eisenhower (and to a minor extent the first Bush), every president since 1947 consistently adopted policies that served Israel, while undermining American interests and peace in the region.

In his memoirs President Truman commented:

"The Department of State's specialists in the Near East were, almost without exception, unfriendly to the idea of a Jewish state." (p. 20)

The professional diplomats were well aware that the establishment of Israel would spell real trouble for America and the rest of the world. Nevertheless, in 1948, when pre-election opinion polls showed Truman far behind his Republican rival, Thomas Dewey, he "knew he would need every vote he could get and that the Jewish-American population could very well turn the balance." (p. 20)

The rest is sad history, as Truman caved in to Zionist demands. On the eve of the election the President declared: "Israel must be large enough, free enough, and strong enough to make its people self-supporting and secure." Truman won, thanks partly to 75% of the Jewish vote, partly to Jewish media clout. In January 1949, Truman saw to it that Israel got a $100 million loan. Subsequently the doctrine of Jewish exclusivism was combined with Zionist expansionism, thereby embroiling future generations in an endless series of Middle Eastern wars. Tom Segev, one of Israel's most credible journalist-historians, admits the obvious: "Israel was born of terror, war and revolution, and its creation required a measure of fanaticism and cruelty."[1]

In the course of Truman's dealing with Zionism a pattern emerged which has become all too familiar in American politics. The Balls observe:

"Just as in Washington's day a powerful American faction was attached to France, today an even more powerful faction is passionately attached to Israel, producing a variety of evils." (p. 10)

In starker terms the Zionist lobby is an alien element within America, prodding the executive and legislative branches of government to adopt policies that work against American interests.

The Balls have this to say about the Eisenhower presidency:

"Because he had been elected by a landslide, in the face of overwhelming Jewish support for Adlai Stevenson, the general was under no obligation to the Zionists and was therefore largely immune to the domestic forces that had heavily influenced Harry Truman." (p. 42)

Unlike his predecessors and successors, Eisenhower implemented policies which served U.S. not Zionist interests. His Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, stated the administration's goals in these terms:

"I am aware how almost impossible it is in this country to carry out a foreign policy not approved by the Jews…I am going to try to have one." (p. 47)

During the 1956 Suez crisis Eisenhower ordered Israel to pull back its forces from the Sinai to the Israeli border. If Israel didn't comply, he would consider cutting off the flow of all aid. Running true to form, the American Jewish lobby shifted into high gear to get the President to soften his policy. When Eisenhower refused to budge, Israel capitulated. In March 1956, Jewish troops withdrew from almost all the territories they had occupied in the Suez offensive (pp. 46-48).

Unfortunately the pattern set by Eisenhower was abandoned by successive U.S. presidents. The Balls underscore one of the major reasons:

"Unquestionably, a large amount of campaign money raised—perhaps 90 percent—particularly for Democratic candidates, comes from Jewish sources. Eighty percent of the Democratic 1952 presidential campaign funds… came from that source. The Republicans, while less dependent, are thought to receive nearly 60 percent of their funds from Jewish contributions (p. 218)."

The Balls describe Lyndon Johnson as a "man of notable acumen in domestic politics, well aware of the critical Jewish role in Democratic party concerns." (p. 52) It was during his tenure that the American branch of international Zionism rose to a position of dominant influence in American Middle East policy. His administration put the U.S. in the awkward position of being Israel's principal arms supplier and sole, all-out, uncritical backer (pp. 65-66).

The most shocking incident during the Johnson years was the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty. Although the ship flew the American flag and was painted with U.S. Navy colors, on the fourth day of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the Israelis attacked, presumably thinking it vital that the Liberty be prevented from informing Washington of their intention to violate a cease-fire with Syria before they had completed their occupation of the Golan Heights (p. 57).

Thirty-four Americans were killed and 171 wounded. Subsequently, Israel claimed that its forces mistook the ship for an Arab one, notwithstanding that it was a clear day and the ship was clearly marked. The attack was preceded by more than six hours of intense low-level surveillance by Israeli photo-reconnaissance aircraft.[2]

Commenting on this sordid affair, the Balls write: "The ultimate lesson of the Liberty attack had for more effect on policy in Israel that America. Israel's leaders concluded that nothing they might do would offend the Americans to the point of reprisal. If America's leaders did not have the courage to punish Israel for the blatant murder of American citizens, it seemed clear that their American friends would let them get away with almost anything." (p. 58)

Ronald Reagan represented that branch of the WASP Establishment which, however wrongly, believed Israel to be a strategic asset. More specifically, he viewed the Jewish state as a bulwark against Communist expansionism in the Middle East and other areas of the globe. The U.S.-Israeli alliance blossomed during his eight years in office.

Was Reagan correct? Could it be that, in spite of Israel's nasty habits, the Jewish state is beneficial to U.S. interests? Israel's gatekeepers in the mass media enthusiastically respond "yes." In the words of Daniel Pipes, the director of the Foreign Policy Institute:

"While charging Israel with being 'monstrously' costly to the United States, the Balls ignore Israel's well-documented and considerable benefits to this country. Looking at just the military angle, Mideast expert Steven Spiegel has demonstrated that Israel's intelligence capabilities, combat experience, technical innovations and battlefield successes have saved or earned American military forces many billions."[3]

The Balls reply by asking rhetorically:

"Are we [the U.S.] getting anything faintly resembling a reasonable return from the costs we are incurring?" (p. 279)

They would not deny that meager benefits have accrued to America from this "special relationship." They insist, however, that the costs far outweigh any alleged benefits.

With the collapse of the communism in the Soviet Union and elsewhere, Israel no longer serves as a bulwark against Soviet imperialism. With hindsight it could be convincingly argued that America's backing of Israel during the Cold War actually bolstered Soviet aggression. By playing the role of Israel's unqualified supplier and backer, the U.S. actually drove many fervently anti-Communist Arab nations into the Soviet camp.

Counting up the financial costs, the authors point out that American aid to Israel well exceeds the total of what the U.S. paid to reconstruct postwar Europe. They calculate between 1948 and 1991 America subsidized Israel to the tune of $53 billion. They add:

"No one can seriously deny that Israel receives from America at least $4 billion of annual aid, plus extras, or that in seeking to support Israeli interests, America also provides Egypt over $2.1 billion per year. Although those payments represent heavy costs for America, they are only a fraction of the total burden borne by all sectors of American society—taxpayers, industrial workers, bond or shareholders—when American companies have lost markets for political purposes or have been prevented from making lucrative sales by the intervention of AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee]. These losses occur at a particular sensitive time when America is scaling down its defense purchases and there are heavy layoffs in the defense industries." (pp. 278f.)

The moral and political costs of the "special relationship" are also enormous. While the U.S. transfers billions of dollars to Israel, the latter frequently and blatantly undercuts American aims not only in the Middle East but in other parts of the world as well. For example, the U.S. poses as the champion of human rights, yet stands silently by while the Israeli army systematically violates the human rights of Palestinians in the occupied territories (pp. 283-84). America declares its opposition to the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, and then turns a blind eye to Israel's activities in all these areas (p. 294). Also one must not forget the cases of deliberate Israeli attacks on U.S. property such as the Lavon Affair of 1954, when Zionist agents firebombed American Embassy installations in Cairo and Alexandria in an attempt to sabotage U.S.-Egyptian relations.[4]

Regarding the alleged benefit of "Israel's intelligence capabilities," former CIA Director Admiral Stansfield Turner deemed this to be a myth:

"Israeli military intelligence has failed. Ninety percent of statements made about Israel's contributions to America's security are public relations."[5]

According to former Mossad operative Victor Ostrovsky, in 1983 Israeli intelligence agents knew beforehand the U.S. Marine barracks in Beriut would be attacked by a suicide truck-bomber, but deliberately failed to warn Washington, cynically choosing to let 241 Marines die to provoke American hatred for Arabs.[6]

Finally, in reference to Israel's combat experience, technical innovations and battlefield successes which have allegedly saved or earned American forces many billions, the claims are also to be taken with a grain of salt. Israel has the habit of re-exporting for profit highly classified U.S. military technology. While on the one hand their technical innovations may save the U.S. money, they stab America in the back when they re-export the same top-secret technology to nations around the globe.[7]

In his review of The Passionate Attachment the retired foreign service officer and publisher of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Andrew Kilgore, correctly identified the "twin engines" of Zionist power in America: "the purchase of immense influence in Congress, and the manipulation of fanatical loyalty to Israel by individuals within the U.S. media."[8] The Balls extensively discuss Jewish influence over presidents and Congress, while writing next to nothing about Jewish influence in the mass media. Perhaps the primary reason America is so slavishly bound to Israel is not the political sellouts who have put the interests of Israel above those of their own country, but the Israel Firsters who dominate the mainstream media and never cease harping on the non-fact that "the U.S.-Israeli alliance is good for America."

© 2007


This essay was originally published in the August 1993 issue of the now defunct Instauration, pp. 4-6.

Tom Segev, The Seventh Million: The Israelis and the Holocaust (Hill and Wang, 1992), p. 63.
James M. Ennes Jr., Assault on the Liberty: The True Story of the Israeli Attack on an American Intelligence Ship (Random House, 1979).
Insight magazine, Dec. 28, 1992, p. 23.
Stephen Green, Taking Sides: America's Secret Relations with a Militant Israel (William Morrow, 1984), pp. 107-114.
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June 1993, p. 75.
Victor Ostrovsky and Claire Hoy, By Way of Deception (St. Martin's Press, 1990), pp. 321-322.
Paul Findley, Deliberate Deceptions: Facing the Facts about the U.S.-Israeli Relationship (Lawrence Hill, 1993).
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Feb. 1993, p. 25.

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Author(s): Paul Grubach
Title: Israel and the United States, The Grand Misalliance. A Review
Published: 2007-01-01
First posted on CODOH: June 29, 2007, 7 p.m.
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Comments: Review of: "The Passionate Attachment: America's Involvement with Israel 1947 to the Present," by George and Douglas Ball
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