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The Partition Plan in Perspective

18 3 7

Seventy-three years ago Sunday, the UN voted to split Palestine between the Jews and the Arabs. Here is what I wrote in my new book, “Saving Israel” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020), about the days leading up to this historical decision from the perspectives of members of a secret, illegal operation to provide the Jewish state with an air force and arms:

Flying one of Schwimmer Aviation’s just-released C-46s from a US airbase in Panama to Burbank, Calif., the secret operation’s chief pilot, Sam Lewis, and his best friend, co-pilot Leo Gardner, get into a rare argument: Whether the United States will vote for or against the UN committee’s partition recommendation in a few days. Radio operator Eddie Styrak stays out of it, for now.

Leo predicts the US will vote no. He notes that the US State Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff have increasingly opposed the idea of a Jewish state. He also notes that the British effort to paint the Palestinian-Jews “red” has started to color the way some Americans feel about the issue. Secretary of State George Marshall just wrote a memo to Congress repeating what he heard from the UK’s foreign secretary, Ernest Bevin: Many of the Jews trying to illegally immigrate to Palestine are “communists.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Sam says. “Truman loves the Jews. He’ll vote yes.”

Sam and Leo turn to Eddie to break the stalemate. “What do you think?”

“I don’t know,” Eddie says. “It’s presidential elections season and Truman does need the Jewish vote.”

“I’m sure he’s getting a ton of pressure from the Jewish community,” Sam says.

American Jews have sent Truman 35,000 letters urging him to support the creation of a Jewish state. By his own admittance, he’s read none of them. He told Senator Claude Pepper (D-Florida): “I put it all in a pile and struck a match to it—I never looked at a single one.”

But Truman’s decision making is far more complicated than his missive bonfire makes it seem. The president is caught between his best friend and his most valued........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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