In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

184 SHOFAR Winter 1996 Vol. 14, No.2 meanings of the scripture" (p. 177). The actual content of those liberating meanings remains unclear. Whether irony can bear the functions assigned to it here is doubtful. Carole R. Fontaine Andover Newton Theological School Eisenhower and Israel: U.S.-Israeli Relations, 1953-1960, by Isaac Alteras. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1993. 405 pp. $44.95 (c); $19.95 (P). The special relationship between the United States and Israel remains among the most important and interesting of those between a superpower and a small state of regional significance. Although a number of studies have examined this linkage, some in great detail, the Eisenhower period has, hitherto, not been subjected to the thoroughness of treatment that Professor Isaac Alteras provides in this informative diplomatic history. The United States-Israel relationship began on a positive note in the Truman administration. Thus, there were questions and concerns when Eisenhower, relatively unknown as a political figure, took office. Throughout his memoirs, Eisenhower refers to United States neutrality (he writes of the United States as an "objective friend") in the Arab-Israeli conflict and focuses on the Tripartite Declaration of 1950 as an example of impartiality in opposing both an arms race and aggression from any source. His hope was that he could "prevent armed conflict" and "bring about normal relations" among Israel and its neighbors. Despite verbal assertions of "impartial friendship," during the Dulles era the United States shifted away from Israel, and Israel's priority position was diminished. Among other problems there was a clash over the move of the Israeli foreign ministry to Jerusalem. The United States would not relocate its Embassy from Tel Aviv; it remains there to this day. The Sinai campaign of 1956 caught the administration by surprise, and Eisenhower strongly opposed the use of force by Israel, Britain, and France. After the end of hostilities Israel withdrew from Egyptian territory primarily at United States insistence. Dulles utilized a mixture of pressure (threats concerning United States' aid) and reassurance (the emplacement of the United Nations Emergency Force and his aide-memoire supporting freedom of navigation through the Tiran Straits). Alteras shows a clear divergence of interests in the Suez crisis but notes that relations improved later as Nasser "subverted Western interests" and the Soviet Union Book Reviews 185 expanded its influence in the area. Israel was increasingly seen in a more positive light. Alteras observes: "The withdrawal of Israeli troops from Egyptian territory brought an end to the strain and confrontation between the United States and Israel. A period of relative tranquility in bilateral relations ensued. U.S. and Israeli interests were in basic consonance ..." (p. 304). Countering Communist penetration of the Middle East and radical Arab subversion of pro-Western regimes in the region became the priority, as seen in the Eisenhower Doctrine of 1957. This was congruent with Israel's policies and interests. Alteras contrasts this with some observations concerning the Iraqi threat to Kuwait in 1990 and the Gulf War in 1991, when United States-Israeli relations were tense as a consequence of clashes between Bush and Shamir and their governments' policies, and as a result of regional events and developments. "Then, U.S. policy makers viewed Israel as a burden and a hindrance to U.S. interests in the Middle East" (p. xiv). He suggests that, now, it is far different. This' is; however, more than a U.S.-oriented diplomatic history, as Alteras examines the actions and reactions of Israeli leaders to United States policy from the vantage point of Israeli national security interests. In this, he draws on recently declassified documents from both countries, most notably from Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion's diaries and correspondence and the Israeli State Archives. Alteras explores in detail the relations between the United States and Israel in the context of United States (and, more generally, Western) military, economic, and political interests in the Middle East and devotes considerable attention to the impact ofAmerican Jewry on United States' policies in this period. He provides interesting and useful information about the Suez Crisis and tends to blame the British and French for the debacle of the Suez crisis and war...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 184-186
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.