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The Passionate Attachment: America's Involvement With Israel, 1947 to the Present Hardcover – October, 1992

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Israel receives more than one-fourth of the U.S. foreign aid budget, but with its high level of militarization, it must sell weapons to survive, note the authors. Israel's dubious armaments customers include South Africa, Iran, Latin American and African dictatorships. George Ball, former undersecretary of State, and his son Douglas ( Financial Failure and Confederate Defeat ) argue that Israel is no longer an indispensable protective shield for America's Middle East interests. Sharply curtailing U.S. aid, they suggest, would force Israel to get its house in order. The Israeli economy, they point out, is smothered with state-owned, incompetent, unprofitable industries and stifling bureaucracy plus the staggering costs of its military and its colonization program in the Occupied Territories. From Eisenhower to Bush, the Balls trace a shift in U.S. policy toward an accommodation to what they see as Israel's obstruction of the peace process. They advocate Palestinian self-determination with limitations on the arms permitted in an independent Palestinian state. An important, powerful book.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Writing with his son Douglas, the former undersecretary of state takes as his thesis George Washington's warning that America avoid becoming entangled with any single nation. Ball alludes to this reference, although never made specific, in discussing the "special relationship" the United States has with Israel. Ball provides a trenchant analysis of U.S. policy toward the Middle East and Israel especially, beginning with its creation in 1948 up through the Bush administration. He focuses heavily upon foreign aid and the failure of Israeli policy to live up to traditional American ideals. For the relationship to improve, Ball argues, Israel must move to a market economy, make peace with its neighbors, and give up any ideas of expanding its borders. Ball's solid and hard-hitting work fits neatly between Cheryl Rubenberg's Israel and the American National Interest ( LJ 11/15/86) and Seth Tillman's The United States in the Middle East ( LJ 6/1/82). Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/92.
-Sanford R. Silverburg, Catawba Coll., Salisbury, N.C.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 382 pages
  • Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc; First Edition edition (October 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393029336
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393029338
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #225,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful By James Gallen VINE VOICE on February 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"The Passionate Attachment" is an in depth study of the relationship between the United States and Israel. The title is derived from George Washington's warning against "Passionate attachments" with foreign nations. Such attachments result in:
"Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists...It leads also to concession to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt...to injure the nation making the concessions...by exciting jealousy, ill will, and disposition to retaliate in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld...It gives to...citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation) facility...to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils."
The authors then proceed to explain how the relationship between the United States and Israel violates Washington's warning and proves all his predictions of the consequences of a "Passionate attachment."
The first section of the book covers the history of the relationship from the foundation of Israel in 1947 to the date of writing in 1992. The Balls explain how the inordinate influence of Israel began when a politically weak Harry S Truman capitulated to Israeli pressures to ensure Jewish support in the crucial 1948 election.
The only President who seems to have earned the respect of the authors is Dwight D. Eisenhower who, unlike Truman, owed no political debt to Jewish voters and who was sufficiently rich in political capital to permit an adherence to a principled policy.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Armen Pandola on February 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This excellent review of our relationship with Israel explains a great deal about how and why we find ourselves the enemy of so many people in the Middle East. Our unqualified backing of Israel has led to disaster.
Sadly, support for Israel is seen by many Jews as a litmus test for a person's views on Jews - and is the reason why so many Jews who oppose Israel's policies have been called "self-hating" Jews. There is little doubt that the organizations that Israel has set up to influence American policy has fostered this idea. All too many American Jews have bought into this propaganda.
The other reviewers have told you what this book is about so I won't repeat what they have said.
What fascinates me is that you cannot find this book - copies of it are more rare that first editions of "Light In August". Why is that? Why hasn't this book been read, reviewed and studied as should be? Written by one of the few heroes of the Vietnam era who were part of the State Dept, this book has been "suppressed" in the way that almost all books or writers who question our policy toward Israel have been. How can that happen, and why has it happened?
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By MSupra@aol.com on September 3, 1997
Format: Hardcover
The Passionate Attachment, though I read it a few years ago, is a book I often refer back to when haveing any discussion about the middle east. George Ball was a talented and eloquent civil servant who thoroughly researched and understood his topic. Anyone who wants to know more about the US involvement in Israel should read this book.

Mr. Ball draws on personal contacts and experience to point out America's failure to admonish the State of Israel when it blatantly violates international law, US law (regarding foreign military sales) and partipates in acts of aggression. His primary conclusions are that the United States is the loser in its middle east policy and that since Israel is the benefactor, it has no interest in changing its policies (why should it?) since the US is not forcing it to.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
George Ball, with his son, does another heroic service to the USA and all persons interested in understanding USA foreign relations. His analysis and recommendations to President Johnson against early USA involvement in VietNam, considered by itself, would support his stature as statesman. In this book, the authors review and analyze events leading up to and following the origin of Israel with particular attention to USA policies, foreign aid, changing Israeli political constituencies, the Israeli economy, aims of Israel and connections with the American Jewish lobby.
Readers may learn about respected USA statesmen advising President Truman against supporting partitioning of Palestine to create the state of Israel, the jewish terrorist organizations and acts created before the state of Israel was formed, as well as after, Israeli policies regarding expelling Palestinians, fear by USA politicians of the American Jewish lobby, the trend of Israeli politics toward control and manipulation by the religious right (some of these organizations make the Taliban look like the PTA) and the sad state of the Israeli economy.
The basic message of the book is taken from George Washington's farewill address: America should avoid passionate attachments to other countries, as well as passionate hatreds, since such emotions do not lead to clear-thinking about the country's interests with respect to the rest of the world. Reading this book will help you understand and evaluate our current policies and actions with respect to Israel and the formation of a new Palestinian state.
This book, although written in the early 1990's, is more timely than ever given events of the last six months. It should be reprinted and read by anyone expressing or evaluating opinions on USA policy towards the Israeli / Palestinian conflict and our subsequent policies should that conflict ever terminate.
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