Some Unvarnished Truths About the US and Israel

by M. Shahid Alam

Was there ever a time when a leading organ of the US media could speak the unvarnished truth about the links between the United States and Israel?

Consider this quote from Time magazine of January 1952, embedded in an article that explained its choice of Mohammed Mossadegh as its Person of the Year for 1951. It had no compliments for Mossadegh, the man who was spearheading his country’s bid to take back its oil resources from the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. No surprise there.

Surprising, however, is Time’s candor on Israel. It minces no words. US support for the creation of Israel had alienated the Middle East: it had been a costly error, motivated not by national interest but petty considerations of presidential politics. Truman had supported the creation of Israel in order to court American Jewish votes. This was the plain truth: a US President had placed his electoral chances ahead of a vital national interest. Apparently, in those days, Time could write the plain truth without worrying about the tide of flak from the American Jewish community.

Here is the quote, with italics added for emphasis:

“The word “American” no longer has a good sound in that part of the world [the Middle East]. To catch the Jewish vote in the U.S., President Truman in 1946 demanded that the British admit 100,000 Jewish refugees to Palestine, in violation of British promises to the Arabs. Since then, the Arab nations surrounding Israel have regarded that state as a U.S. creation, and the U.S., therefore, as an enemy. The Israeli-Arab war created nearly a million Arab refugees, who have been huddled for three years in wretched camps. These refugees, for whom neither the U.S. nor Israel will take the slightest responsibility, keep alive the hatred of U.S. perfidy.

“No enmity for the Arabs, no selfish national design motivated the clumsy U.S. support of Israel. The American crime was not to help the Jews, but to help them at the expense of the Arabs. Today, the Arab world fears and expects a further Israeli expansion. The Arabs are well aware that Alben Barkley, Vice President of the U.S., tours his country making speeches for the half-billion-dollar Israeli bond issue, the largest ever offered to the U.S. public. Nobody, they note bitterly, is raising that kind of money for them.”

Time does not see Israel as a victim. There is no mention of the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’ either. Instead, Israel had been created “at the expense of the Arabs.” It refuses to “take the slightest responsibility” for the million Palestinian refugees. It is also the source of Arab hostility towards the United States.

Missing also is the cant – so common over the past half century – about Arab threats to Israel. Instead, Time speaks of Arab fears of Israel. “Today, the Arab world fears and expects a further Israeli expansion.” Prescient words too.

The true victims are recognized – the Palestinians – and there is sympathy for them too. “The Israeli-Arab war created nearly a million Arab refugees, who have been huddled for three years in wretched camps.” There is some obfuscation too: the Arab refugees were created by the Israeli-Arab war. Israeli propaganda had succeeded even at this early date. There is no admission of Israel’s planned ethnic cleansing of Palestinians or the massacres that attended this outrage.

Astonishing too is the spectacle of a US vice-president at this early date campaigning for an Israeli bond issue worth half a billion dollars: like a hired salesman, he tours the country, making speeches to sell Israeli bond.  Did Israel raise the full value of the bond issue? It is a neat sum, enough to buy an army the best weapons in those days.

Notable too is the Time’s willingness – unthinkable today – to see the issue from an Arab perspective: how they see the world’s failure to send the refugees back to their homes. “These refugees, for whom neither the U.S. nor Israel will take the slightest responsibility, keep alive the hatred of U.S. perfidy.” It is not often that the US media speaks of “U.S. perfidy.”

Such journalistic candor was not good for Israel. The major Jewish organizations soon flexed their muscle: they organized to police what the US media could write or say about Israel. Their success was devastating. Israeli lies soon commanded unalloyed allegiance of every segment of American media.

Only recently that situation is beginning to change, as Israeli threats to US interests and to world peace become harder to ignore. This shift is tentative, however. Pro-Israeli forces are fighting back: and the few voices critical of Israel could be silenced by any number of events, not least another terrorist attack on US soil.

M. Shahid Alam is professor of economics at Northeastern University. Most recently, he is author of Israeli Exceptionalism (Palgrave, 2009). Visit his website at . Write to him at

14 thoughts on “Some Unvarnished Truths About the US and Israel”

  1. It is with tears in my eyes that I have viewed the awful and continuing abuse of the Palestinians by the Israeli’s. Part of the ongoing pressure to enslave the Palestinians (commit continuing war crimes) is due to the decades of misinformation on what Israelis have actually been doing to the Palestinians. We have ignored the horrible destruction of centuries-old Palestinian towns and villages, torture and killing of men, women and children, the threats to bulldoze homes with Palestinians inside them if they did not evacuate when demanded by Israeli soldiers. Then it is easy to get the American and Israeli people upset when an israeli school child is grazed. Sorry, Israeli, your current sufferings are karmic payback! You have already ridden your sorrowful story of the Holocaust for 6 decades. I am no holocaust denier, but wonder if the Israelis ARE! How else can you explain the cruelty of pogroms and ghettos for the Palestinians?

  2. This points out how the US goverment was supporting Israel long before the organized lobby that exists now had really begun.

  3. I can’t see uncritical US support for jewistan ending in the near future, simply because the US public are too easy to herd…….

    1. My gut tells me that Michael Thompson’s comment is designed to incite. He insults Jews and Americans at the same time. If I took a wild guess, I would say that Thompson is an Israel supporter trying to provoke a reaction.

  4. Having read thru the British National Achieves, which contain a lot of blunt and revealing correspondence concerning Israel and also having read thru the US Presidential libraries from Truman forward I am not surprised at all that Time wrote this back in 1952.

    This was the attitude of the Arabs and Israel did not have the support of average Americans that the zionist always want to claim they have.

    Israel was and is nothing more than a creation of US ‘domestic politics’…i.e….Jewish political donations and influence on US politicans and parties.
    The biggest mistake the US ever made. The good news is Israel will not last.

  5. Er… Cal, what exactly do you mean by “this abberration [sic] within out country”? Are you talking about Jews? Are all Jews an aberration or only the Zionist ones?

    Also if we’re going to talk about “the biggest mistake the US ever made” I have a long list for you. I’m not even sure Israel makes the top 10. You’ve got the Edsel, Ishtar and President George W Bush just for starters. I think you need to work a little harder to make your case. I also have a suspicion that you’re a bit of a Nazi. I hope I’m wrong.

  6. I note with some distaste that rather than publish my comment highlighting the rank antisemitism of Cal’s comment, you went in and edited it to make it look more palatable.

    This is fundamentally dishonest. Please stop censoring voices from both sides to make one side look reasonable and the other hateful.

  7. of course, an article about Israel written by an arab… RELIABLE source,cmon people, US supported jews because everybody else where killing them… now, lets see, who u rather have living in your country, arabs or jews, teachers or thieves, beggers or givers… stop the hate, the anti semitism… leave israel alone!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: