Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Real Reason Harry Truman Backed a Jewish State

By Michael Rozeff
A recent article in New Republic goes into some detail about Harry Truman’s preferences concerning Palestine and a Jewish state. The article provides quite a bit of evidence that Truman didn’t want a Jewish state. He preferred other setups like a federated or binational Palestine. Truman told one delegation of Jews that “the government of Palestine should be a government of the people of Palestine irrespective of race, creed, or color.” He recognized the dangers of a religious state and he recognized the severe shortcomings of Israel’s leadership. Why then did Truman end up recognizing Israel? It was because of the Jewish vote in critical states and the capacity of American Jews to launch a campaign against him if he did not recognize Israel.
Politics constantly produces dysfunctional outcomes on any issues that enter the political arena. This story of Israel’s recognition by Truman is an example. Politics doesn’t produce “solutions” to any issues or problems. It produces winners and losers, impositions, edicts backed up by force, stupid outcomes, folly, deadweight losses, frictions, battles, wars, destruction of markets, cultural hatreds, widespread unhappiness, wealth destruction, and irrational outcomes. These often go on for generations, with one injustice creating further injustices. The politics exemplified by the behavior of states is a real bummer.
Minarchists and anarchists agree on one thing, which is that the state’s capacity to rule on “issues” and “problems” should be vastly reduced. Peoples everywhere, in their own interests, should be actively seeking to remove issues from the political arena, not introduce issues and problems to that arena. They should be actively seeking to reduce the state’s powers.
The above originally appeared at


  1. "Peoples everywhere, in their own interests, should be actively seeking to remove issues from the political arena" This wouldn't have helped the jews who wanted a jewish state. And despite the destruction, losses and injustices, I'm sure they would have done it again. Because its the life they wanted. The state and its politics are just tools, people cause the injustice. The drive to eliminate the state, although not yet overtly coercive, sounds a little like the drive to eliminate guns. Mr. Rozeff, I sympathize with your position as I consider myself an anarchist. But the more I look at human nature the less confidence I have that they can somehow do without politics and the state. People seem compelled to use force and coercion to advance their own life and politics is a great way to get away with it.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. The whole "libertarian" / anarchist argument against Israel's right to use military force to defend itself is revealing of how impractical a dogmatic approach to every issue is. A country that is being attacked and defends itself with the use of force through overwhelming support is "in the wrong" in this view because of the short-sighted approach that ANY defense of a state gives legitimacy to the state and that just cannot be because the state is bad and the source of all evils.

    Now I suggest it is ok to be a libertarian/anarchist AND realize the current state of affairs - that supporting a state that is under attack by a terrorist regime that targets civilians is OK. Genocide is a worse outcome than supporting a state acting in self-defense.

    Being morally pure is extremely important. However, when 80%+ of Israelis voluntarily agree to stop living in terror and take out terror tunnels and rocket batteries, that is justified even if it means that the state is acting.

    There are many wrongs in US/Israel relations - US welfare to both sides that fund Hamas and pretty much every party, US condemnation of Israel building on its own land and defending itself.

    But saying Israel is wrong for defending itself is incredibly dogmatic and short-sighted. I'm curious as to what solutions these purists have to end the violence that does not involve the massacre of Jews and overtaking of Israel, and creation of another state - but a Muslim one. Is a backwards Muslim state with no human rights better somehow than Israel that has more political parties that the US? This purist approach goes too far, is anti-Semitic in practical effect - and is coming from a lot of smart Jewish libertarians, which is really mind boggling.