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Vietnam, Jews and the Middle East: Unintended Consequences Hardcover – July 30, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0312218416 ISBN-10: 0312218419

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Editorial Reviews


Judith Klinghoffer has written a provocative, wide-ranging study of the Six Day War and its relationship to broader currents of international, Israeli and American politics in the years 1966-68. David Kaiser for H-Diplo, H-Net Reviews important work.
-MESA Bulletin, Anthony O. Edmonds

About the Author

Judith A. Klinghoffer has taught at Rowan University and was a visiting lecturer at the Foreign Affairs College in Beijing and a Fulbright professor at Aarhus University in Denmark.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (July 30, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312218419
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312218416
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,447,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jazz It Up Baby on October 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Baltimore Hebrew University's Robert O. Freedman said: Klinghoffer offers a very useful resource for anyone interested in how Vietnam affected U.S. Middle East policy in the Johnson era. She draws some interesting and important connections between Vietnam and Israel in Lyndon B. Johnson's administration in her well-researched and well-written study. Vietnam, Jews, and the Middle East makes a very persuasive case that his focus on Vietnam not only brought him into frequent conflict with many Jewish anti-Vietnam activists but also left him with few military and political resources to devote to an increasingly aggressive Soviet Union active in the Middle East.

Klinghoffer criticizes Johnson's policy, especially his rather heavy-handed, even crude statements to get Israeli support for U.S. policy in Vietnam (without success). For example, in a speech to B'nai B'rith in 1966, he sought unconvincingly to show he was not linking the two: "I never said that. I never meant that. I think the United States ought to defend Israel, period . . . I hope you'll help me get off this, because I don't want it thought that my support for Israel is conditioned on their support for Vietnam." Klinghoffer also contends that Johnson, after Israel's victory in the Six-Day war of 1967, was willing to trade off Israeli interests for a settlement in Vietnam favorable to the United States. This is a central theme in the book

The book is accurate, with a few exceptions. The Warsaw Pact was not unified in opposing Israel after the 1967 war, for Rumania conspicuously supported Israel. She also attributes a little too much power and influence to the Soviet Union in the Middle East during the 1965-1967 period.
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20 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Eric H. Roth on June 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This scholarly, yet accessible, book argues that Israel was forced to fight for its survival in 1967 because the Soviet Union wanted a second front against the United States. Written by a Rutgers history professor and filled with detailed chapter notes, Klinghoffer makes a compelling argument that both superpowers treated Vietnam and Israel as mere pawns in a global struggle for power.
In the Spring of 1967, many liberal American Jewish leaders found themselves in the odd position of oppossing American military intervention in Vietnam - and urging President Johnson to deploy the American Navy to the Mideast. The Soviet Union's support for the Arab cause pushed Israel's Socialist Zionist leadership to relucantly shift from neutrality to become a strong American ally.
This work details how the distinct possibility of a second Holocaust in the Mideast woke up many idealistic Israelis and American Jews to see the dangers of third world revolutionary movements. Klinghoffer also effectively links domestic political concerns with international policies in Vietnam and the Middle East with wit and confidence. An insightful work that seems quite plausible - and helped me understand a confusing part of the world.
An excellent primer on Mideast politics that unintentionally illuminates the problems facing peace negotiators today.
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2 of 14 people found the following review helpful By MJ Rosenberg on July 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The author clearly is no student of Middle East history. Her thesis: the June 1967 war was not a product of 19 years of Arab-Israeli tensions but was rather cooked up by Moscow!

Interesting only as a relic of the type of cold war thinking that has been thoroughly discredited by events,

Rather silly.
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10 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence Dunn on June 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is one of a legion written to support the increasingly-ludicrous argument that Israel is an embattled democracy in the Middle East surrounded by savage Arabs. It's unique twist is that it also attempts to explain why the neo-conservative movement is so heavily Jewish.

The book should be dismissed out-of-hand, however, because its foundations are built on the carefully constructed fantasy that the 1967 war was a "pre-emptive strike" by Israel against its deadly Arab neighbors.

In fact, Likkud PM Menachim Begin and Air Force General Ezer Weitzman themselves admit that there was no credible threat from the Arabs, and that it was a purely-discretionary war on the part of the Israelis to expand their territory. Weitzman said there was "no threat of destruction" and that the attack was carried out so that Israel could "exist according the scale, spirit, and quality she now embodies." Begin said "In June 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him."

Klinghoffer's diatribe flies in the face of the assertions of the top men in Israel, the architects of the war.

Against the assertions by American Zionists that Israel is the embattled defender is the truth that Israel has been the aggressor in every war but one in the Middle East, including 1948 (it's a little known fact, but true, that the Arab League attacked in 1948 only when the Zionists crossed over into the territory set aside by the UN for the Palestinians). The only exception is 1973, when the Arabs attacked to regain the territory seized from them in 1967.
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