New York Post


Now is the Hour

President Truman Will Be Judged By His Actions
Toward Israel This Week–Not Yesterday’s Words


The President said: “It was one of the proudest moments of my life at 6:12 P.M.; Friday, May 14, when I announced the recognition of the new State of Israel by the Government of the United States.” This he wrote a few days ago, in a public message to the Zionist Convention in Pittsburgh.

If President Truman feels that way, he can treat himself to an even greater moment if he will declare, before the sun goes down today, that should the war in Palestine be resumed on Friday he will lift the embargo on arms for the State of Israel. Recognition of Israel is a pious declaration, the value of which depends upon whether or not the President takes the next step: Will he lift the blockade clamped down by the United States on the country invaded by Arab aggressor nations, or will he not?

The British, who keep vast stores of ammunition in the Middle East, have already announced that if fighting in Palestine is resumed they will go on supplying the Arab countries with arms of all descriptions. This, with the American embargo, and British money subsidies of Arab military establishments means simply that the aggressors are furnished arms on free delivery, while the defenders are denied arms even for cash. If this is the policy the President of the United States is inclined to follow, then he will lay himself open to the question whether he has acted in good faith in recognizing Israel.

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He will not be able to avoid the conclusion by all fellow Americans either that his acts are not sincerely motivated or that his power in office is restricted by his own subordinates in the Administration and that he is a weak-willed individual.

In order that his fellow Americans should not be faced with such a choice, the President should issue a declaration lifting the embargo on arms to the State of Israel. Such a declaration will have the immediate effect of deflating Arab arrogance.

The Arab states are arrogant and uncompromising because they believe–and are supported in their belief by members of the Washington Administration–that the embargo will not be lifted and that their status as offenders against peace will not be pressed before the Security Council. Thus they enjoy a situation in which America supports Great Britain financially and materially and the British divert this help to the Arabs. Sanctions are actually imposed, but on the wrong party.

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If the President really desires to help Israel, and yet allow his subordinates to thwart his will, he cannot escape the accusation that he is weak. This a President cannot afford to be. President Truman blasts Congress for acting on a number of occasions as it should not, but he has no power over the Republican Congress. On the other hand, he has presumptively full power over his Administration.

Tris Coffin has written in this paper from Washington that President Truman “works like a beaver” to straighten out the Palestinian problem and to defend the new-born State of Israel. Were you, the reader, the President of the United States for one single day, you could probably solve this problem that so wears down Mr. Truman. You would probably write a short note to your Secretary of State giving him a list of the names of a few gentlemen in his department who should be dismissed. You would also ask him to lunch that same noon, after that little task was done. You would not work like a beaver.

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When Joe Louis prepared himself to defend his heavyweight crown the other night, he was careful to be in such shape that he did not weigh a pound too much or too little. He would not go into a fight with a stone tied to his neck. But this is what President Truman is doing. The millstones around his neck are certain gentlemen in the State and Defense Depts. They may even want President Truman to fail. Their interests are associated with oil and with Wall St. It is no secret that traditionally Wall Street is conservatively Republican. Israel is only a part of the international problem that has become so vital under Truman. Involved also is the principle of the defense of justice; the authority and very existence of the United Nations; and the foreign policy of the United States, whether it is to be determined by and for the people of America or by and for the oil concerns and all their beneficiaries.