The Year The President Defied The Israeli Lobby - And Won
by
Michael Hoffman
7.07.2011
 
Ronald Reagan is in the news again, this time in connection with a statue the British have erected in his honor, but actually for services rendered to the financial system of usury which Britain helped to perfect in the eighteenth century, with the ascendance of the Bank of England and London's own version of Wall Street, the financial district known as The City.
 
How could super-conservative Reagan, the alleged paladin of Christian Civilization, have merited laurels from the utopia of usurers? Reagan's free trade doctrine and open borders disguised as the 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli Act, which granted amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, neutralized authentic conservative Christian principles and policy initiatives in the decade of the 1980s. Reagan became the agent of the Money-Power, justified by his image as poster boy for anti-communism.
 
Americans have a bad habit of adoring their executioners while turning a cold shoulder toward their statesmen. In the latter case we are reminded of Dwight Eisenhower, who is only taken out of mothballs nowadays when there is a World War II commemoration. His eight years as President of the United States during the fabulous Fifties are as obscure as the hula-hoop.
 
Eisenhower's finest hour was the Suez Canal crisis, when he faced down Britain, the Israelis and their lobby in the U.S.
 
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir declared Reagan to be the greatest friend of "Israel" ever to occupy the presidency. He could not say the same about Dwight David Eisenhower. Ike headed a Republican Party which for most of the twentieth century, until 1968, had been the party of peace and non-intervention.
 
Much of this revisionist history is recounted in a new book by David A. Nichols, Eisenhower 1956: The President's Year of Crisis Suez and the Brink of War (Simon and Schuster, 346 pages).
 
Andrew Bacevich, in his review of Eisenhower 1956, reminds us of how different was the people's attitude toward foreign wars in the mid-20th century: "That somewhere like Afghanistan might be worth the life of even a single American would have struck residents of Des Moines in the 1950s as preposterous."
 
The cast of villains which Eisenhower faced in 1956 was similar to the dramatis personae of 2011. Fifty-five years ago the president was hard-pressed to beat back "demands from Congress to give Israel whatever it wanted."
 
Bacevich: "If Eisenhower continued to deny Israeli arms requests, Ben-Gurion told one American diplomat, the US would be 'guilty of the greatest crime in our history.' Eleanor Roosevelt and Adlai Stevenson and other leading Democrats, along with Republicans such as Jacob Javits, concurred, denouncing Eisenhower for his refusal to supply Israel's army.
 
"Eisenhower's medical problems provided (Secretary of State John Foster) Dulles with his opening. After suffering a serious heart attack in September 1955, the president underwent surgery the following June to remove an obstruction in his small intestine...By the time of the second medical crisis, Dulles had persuaded the president to abandon Alpha for a new plan, codename Omega. Rather than expend political capital on attempting to satisfy Egypt, the US would tilt towards Saudi Arabia. Egypt possessed next to no oil; Saudi Arabia had oil in abundance. Egypt appeared to threaten Israel's existence; the militarily weak Saudis did not. Omega aimed at ensuring US access to oil, the lifeblood of Western prosperity, while insulating Eisenhower from election-year attacks by the domestic pro-Israel lobby.
 
"...The secretary of state fancied that he had maneuvered (President Gamal Abdel) Nasser into 'a hell of a spot'. He miscalculated. A week later, to cheering crowds in Alexandria, the Egyptian president announced his intention to nationalize the Suez Canal, with construction of the Aswan Dam to be financed by profits from the canal's operation. 'The money is ours and the Suez Canal belongs to us,' he declared. 'We shall build the High Dam our own way.' This caught Washington totally by surprise. Yet it was Britain and France, not the United States, that were most affected by Dulles's failed gambit. In Israel, meanwhile, opportunists glimpsed an opening.
 
"London and Paris viewed seizure of the canal as cause for war. Anthony Eden, another ailing politician, saw it as 1938 all over again: a new Hitler was on the march. This time, though, there would be no appeasement. Preserving Britain's claim to Great Power status required Nasser's elimination, even if that meant using force. An Anglo-French invasion force assembled in the Mediterranean, disregarding concerns expressed by Eisenhower, who was now back in command of US policy. Judging the Egyptian action (by Nasser) to be perfectly legal, the president chided Eden for 'making of Nasser a much more important figure than he is'. Eden was undeterred. Although professing that he was willing to resolve the crisis peacefully, he remained adamant for war.
 
"Military intervention in Egypt would constitute an act of naked aggression, violating the United Nations Charter and recalling the worst days of 19th-century European imperialism. It would also hand a propaganda victory to the Soviet Union, self-professed supporter of Third World countries aspiring to throw off the yoke of colonialism. To create a veneer of legitimacy for the planned invasion, Britain and France invited Israel to join their conspiracy. The proposition was audacious: in return for the promise of French armaments and while claiming to act in self-defense, Israel would launch a surprise attack against Egyptian forces in the Sinai Peninsula and punch through towards the canal. Under the pretext of defending a waterway of crucial importance to the international community, British and French forces would then enter Egypt proper. Once established on the ground, the invaders would accomplish the operation's real purpose, which Eden privately described as 'the removal of Nasser and the installation in Egypt of a regime less hostile to the West.' Within a day of receiving this proposal on 1 September, (Israeli Prime Minister David) Ben-Gurion accepted it enthusiastically. The countdown to war had begun.
 
"...British, French and Israeli officials blatantly lied to their gullible American counterparts in the best diplomatic tradition. As a result, the beginning of hostilities on 29 October one week before the American elections again caught the administration completely by surprise. Eisenhower was outraged and directed particular anger at Eden, now castigated as a feckless double-crosser...
 
"Wasting no time...[P]resident (Eisenhower) impressed on his former allies the price to be paid for acting without Washington's assent... To block the canal, Nasser had ordered the sinking of ships filled with rock and cement, thereby cutting Europe's oil lifeline. Eisenhower now refused to draw on (then plentiful) US domestic reserves to make up the difference. He also put the squeeze on the British economy, declining to prop up the pound, which had come under assault. And when France and Britain vetoed a Security Council resolution condemning their actions, the president threatened to take the issue to the General Assembly.
 
"In the midst of this commotion, Eisenhower angrily declared his intention to do the right thing, the implications for his re-election be damned...the president repeatedly asserted his commitment to equality before the law as the basis of peace. 'We cannot,' he insisted, 'subscribe to one law for the weak, another law for the strong; one law for those opposing us, another for those allied with us'...
 
"Faced with American displeasure, the British and French quickly caved in. Declaring a ceasefire and promising to withdraw their forces...
 
"When their partners in crime folded, the Israelis had little choice but to do the same...With the inadequacy of Britain and France as patrons now evident, Israel turned again to courting the Americans, an effort that paid off handsomely in the following decade, when the Democrats regained control of the White House."
 
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