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The Passionate Attachment: America's Involvement With Israel, 1947 to the Present Hardcover – October 1, 1992
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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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This book provides an important assessment of US foreign policy in the Middle East. The study is comprehensive and illuminates deep, albeit unpleasant, truths about the failure of U.S. foreign policy with regard to this ongoing conflict. The book exemplifies how U.S. foreign policy is formulated and further illustrates areas where reforms must be made. U.S. policies in the Middle East have been a dismal failure because domestic politics have commanded a distorted policy that departs from a principled and detached position. The conflicts and regional instability will continue unless and until the U.S. adopts a new position. This book provides a framework for formulating such a position.
In a day when wise and honorable statesmen are in short supply and when global challenges are increasing in number and complexity, I commend the late George Ball for his contribution to my understanding of this complex conflict. I highly recommend all of his books, which are in my view "rare national treasures."
"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.
Beginning with the Kennedy administration, the Balls indicate that American administrations have repeatedly sacrificed American interests on the altar of Israeli demands. Among the low points of the relationship was the 1967 attack by Israeli forces on the USS Liberty, a U. S. Navy intelligence ship whose existence threatened Israeli plans to occupy the Golan Heights before international pressure could force a cease-fire. Rather than responding to this attack on the U.S. Navy as it would if directed from any other quarter, the Johnson administration wrote it off as a case of mistaken identity. In subsequent administrations the retreat from principle has continued.
The authors illustrate how, as the relationship developed, supporters of Israel were able to create the illusion that Israel served as a valuable American asset the Cold War struggle against Soviet expansionism. The authors explain how the Coalition which won the Gulf War proved that Israel's days as a strategic American asset, if they ever existed, were over.
Much attention is devoted to the relationship between Israel and its Arab neighbors. It is refreshing to read an analysis of the recent history of the Middle East which is not filtered through Israeli apologists. The authors explain the background of developments in Israel and the Arab portions of Palestine. The Israeli policy of national expansion of military conquest, the expulsion of Arabs from conquered land and the colonization of those who have remained under the Israeli yoke are explained in detail. Acts of Israeli terrorism against Arabs are given due attention, despite the record of Israeli denials which are routinely accepted in American circles.
An eye-opening chapter is devoted to the strong influence of Jewish pressure on American politics and how it is reflected in American foreign policy toward Israel and the Arabs.
Particularly timely chapters are the ones on the neglected American-Arab relations and "Terror and Reprisal" against America and Israel. The moral and financial costs of the Passionate attachment are followed by recommendations directed to both the United States and Israel on ways to advance the interests of each in the Middle East.
This book is both edifying and shocking. It is edifying in that it presents a different views of the state of America's role in Middle eastern affairs that that to which we are normally exposed. This book is shocking in that it shows millions of Americans and several administrations as subordinating American interests to those of Israeli in the determination of American policy. This book is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the truth about American Middle Eastern policy.