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Book Reviews 399 absence of notes is perhaps the main weakness of The Gallant Cause. One of its great strengths is the selection of interesting photographs. This episode in Canadian military history is not unique. Canadian volunteers fought in many foreign wars: on both sides in the American Civil War, with the Papal Zouaves in Italy in the l86os, with the Haller Army in Poland in 1919, with the Israeli military in the War for Independence, and with the United States armed forces during the Vietnamese conflict. These military contributions by individuals, ethnocultural groups, and voluntary organizations are rarely included in Canadian history texts. In The Gallant Cause, Zuehlke has succeeded in reawakening interest in a relatively unknown part of Canadian history and in evoking some of the events and political passions that dominated the lives of many Canadians in the 1930s. MYRON MOMRYK National Archives of Canada The Diplomacy of Prudence: Canada and Israel, 1948- 1958. ZACHARIAH KAY. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press 1997. Pp. xiv, 135· $44·95 This book is a continuation of earlier work co,nducted by Professor Kay on Canada and the Palestine Question. Indeed, he and Anne Trowel Hillmer were the pioneers in examining the roots of Canadian policy in the Middle East. His previous work, Canada Bl Palestine: The Politics of Non-Commitment, told the story up to mid-January 1949 and Canada's de jure recognition of the State of Israel. The current book adds fresh material to the story of that recognition, and extends the discussion of Canadian-Israeli relations to roughly mid-1957. The Diplomacy of Prudence is based on exhaustive research in Israeli and Canadian archives and benefits from Kay's extensive knowledge of both the Canadian and the Israeli scenes. Most interesting is his chapter on the aborted Canadian sale of Canadair Sabres to Israel in 1956. This was a sale that Ottawa agreed to after much Israeli beseeching , but only because Washington clearly wanted Israel to have Canadian fighter jets to help offset the MiG 15 fighters that were flowing to Egypt and Syria from the ussR via Czechoslovakia. The sale was immediately cancelled by Ottawa when Israel attacked Egypt on 19 October r956 to spark off the Sinai campaign. There has probably been more sheer bunk written about Canada's alleged strong support of the Zionist cause before 1948, and its unwavering backing of Israel after, than on any other single subject in the field of Canadian foreign policy. Kay's book will help set the record straight because it demonstrates conclusively that Canada's position on 400 The Canadian Historical Review the Arab-Israeli conflict was finely balanced and, as Kay says, prudent. Canada can be thought of as 'pro-Israeli' only by those who believed that accepting Israel's existence as a fact of life was a policy lacking balance. Kay's book does suffer, however, from a decided lack ofcontext. And context is precisely what is needed to understand the way Canada approached the Arab-Israeli conflict because, in reality, that conflict was not an important Canadian interest. True, a decided majority of Canadian Jews thought of Israel as very important, and a tiny minority of Canada's other citizens no doubt agreed. But, given the paucity of Canadian commercial or economic relations with the Middle East Canada bought oil primarily from Venezuela until the late 1960s and almost none from any Arab countries - that was not a view shar'ed by many others. Israel and the Middle East conflictwere important to Canada only as possible irritants to the relationship between the United States and Canada's other major NATO partners. Aside from the understandable Canadian preoccupation with Canada-us relations, Canada's most important other concern in the decade examined in this book was to do whatever it could to ensure that the United States and Britain, and to a lesser degree France, were alway,s on the same side. That is precisely why the Anglo-French invasion of the Suez Canal zone on 5 November 1956, on the pretext of protecting it from Israeli spearheads then thrusting across the Sinai, was viewed by Ottawa as a NATO disaster...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-1093
Print ISSN
0008-3755
Pages
pp. 399-400
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-06
Open Access
No
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