Truman the Politician and the Establishment of Israel

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VOL. 39


No. 4
P. 28
Truman the Politician and the Establishment of Israel

Harry S. Truman was a temperamental and politically ambitious man. Both his sensitivities and ambition influenced his actions during his presidency. This was particularly the case when it came to Palestine because there existed a strong domestic Zionist lobby that played to Truman’s wants and needs in order to influence his decision making. This article examines that process of policy formulation and shows how personality played into the president’s behavior in ways that allowed the Zionist lobby to accomplish its ends. Though Truman’s actions can be seen as a product of his personal sensitivities, his prioritizing of domestic political ambitions with regard to policy on Palestine set a harmful precedent for the future.

Lawrence Davidson is professor of Middle East history at West Chester University in West Chester, PA, and the author of America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood (University of Florida Press, 2001), Islamic Fundamentalism (Greenwood Press, 2003), and Foreign Policy, Inc.: Privatizing American National Interest (University of Kentucky Press, 2009).