Israel's Moment: International Support for and Opposition to Establishing the Jewish State, 1945-1949

Backorder (temporarily out of stock)
1 other format in stock!

Product Details

$39.99  $37.19
Cambridge University Press
Publish Date
6.2 X 9.19 X 1.3 inches | 1.9 pounds
BISAC Categories:

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Jeffrey Herf is a Distinguished University Professor of Modern European history at the University of Maryland. He is the author of Undeclared Wars with Israel: East Germany and the West German Far Left, 1967-1989 (2016). He is a member of the American Historical Association and the German Studies Association.


'One of the prominent themes of this engaging and tightly argued book is the contrast between the later romanticized version of support for the founding of the State of Israel and the reality of opposition from the State Department's Arabists as well as leading military and other officials in the Pentagon and CIA. No other work connects so persuasively the beginning of the Cold War and the Zionist and anti-Zionist ideological currents of thought in the Middle East as well as Europe and especially Britain. Israel's Moment is based on wide-ranging research. It reveals in an original way how the intensity of the opposition to the plans for the new state came close to preventing its creation.' Wm. Roger Louis, author of The British Empire in the Middle East
'Israel's Moment is a fine and highly persuasive history of how the anti-Communist mandarins of the US State and Defense Departments and the imperialist bureaucracies of the British and French foreign ministries - unintelligibly ignoring the Holocaust that had just ended - tried and failed to prevent the creation of Israel and its victory over the Arab states in 1948.' Benny Morris, author of The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited
'Politics makes strange bedfellows. A pro-Zionist but anti-communist American president, a Soviet Bloc intent on rolling back British imperialism, and a mix of liberals and leftists still fired up by the anti-fascist élan born of the war: such was the international coalition that helped shepherd the State of Israel into existence. Jeffrey Herf 's lucid and well-researched new book provides a vivid account of how this coalition came to be. It is a story full of ironies and surprises.' Philip Nord, author of After the Deportation: Memory Battles in Postwar France
'Israel's Moment is a fine work of history it also makes a rich contribution to contemporary debates. Anyone concerned with the Middle East will need Herf's book on their shelves.' John Strawson, FATHOM Journal
'Herf has again written a standard work that significantly expands and deepens our knowledge of the early phase of the Middle East conflict. It appears at the right time when, in the wake of the Abraham Accords, Arab politicians and commentators are more interested than ever in the causes of the failure of their all-or-nothing strategy but also at a time when much of the western academic left is increasingly focusing its 'anti-capitalist' hatred towards Israel. It is to be hoped that not only the professional world, but also the general public will take notice of Herf's new book and that it will soon be published in German.' Matthias Küntzel,
'A comprehensive study by historian Jeffrey Herf, based on hundreds of memos, postcards, situation assessments, confidential protocols and personal correspondence, reveals how profound the US administration's opposition to the Zionist enterprise was.' Tzach Yoked, Haaretz
'Many of Herf's previous works are dedicated to exploring the history of Holocaust memory during the Cold War, both in the West and the East. Unsurprisingly, he uses his expertise to weave the early history of Holocaust memory into the broader political discussions at the time. Herf devotes large sections of the book to analyzing how the events of the Holocaust and its recent memory were politically used, neglected, or downright ignored in the international political arena in the time leading to Israel's establishment.' Tom Eshed, Mosse Blog
'... the author of several esteemed works of modern German history, presents a vivid portrait of this dramatic period and a trenchant analysis of the forces at work. Along the way, he reminds us of how contentious the debate was-within the UN itself and within the most powerful governments of the time.' Joshua Rubenstein, Wall Street Journal
'Herf uses a wide lens. He covers topics like the state of the Zionist movement in the immediate aftermath of World War II; attitudes on the American left toward the Zionist project; the role of the French, British, and Russian governments in the critical periods; the politics of the post-World War II refugee crisis; and, of course, the complex inner workings of the US government, in which President Harry Truman's sympathetic view of the Jewish cause was fiercely contested by underlings in the Departments of State and Defense and the fledgling Central Intelligence Agency. ... but despite the breadth of this picture, Herf zooms in closely. He has combed the relevant archives both in the United States and abroad and pieced together in vivid detail the operations of the most important institutions involved in the great internal battles surrounding Israel's establishment.' Gabriel Schoenfeld, American Purpose Magazine
'Israel's Moment is an absorbing new study of a familiar historical topic - the disarray in US Middle East policy in the wake of World War II caused by conflicts between the White House and many members of Congress, on one side, and career officials at State, the Pentagon, and the CIA, on the other.' Bob Rackmales, Foreign Service Journal
'Jeffrey Herf provides a very fresh look at the foundations of modern Israel in the international arena. Using previously unexamined sources, he situates Israel's oft-misunderstood beginnings squarely within the context of contemporary understandings of the Holocaust and the Cold War, while also showing that for much of the world, Zionism was a worthy national liberation movement deserving of fulfilment. There are also numerous surprises concerning the thinking of American officials and intellectuals, the reasoning and discourse of the Communist world, and the baleful efforts of Palestine's Arab leaders. A necessary book and a terrific read.' Norman J. W. Goda, lead editor of Envoy to the Promised Land: The Diaries and Papers of James G. McDonald, 1948-1951
'... a fascinating exploration of the unlikely players that helped to secure Israel's place in the community of nations.' Jonathan Schanzer, Jerusalem Post
'Israel's Moment is an excellent account of how the State Department and its allies lost the battle over whether the US would support the 1947 United Nations (UN) Partition Plan for Palestine ...' Robert Satloff, Jewish Review of Books
'None dared recall that, only a few years before, [I. F.] Stone and [Freda Kirchwey], the editor of the Nation [magazine] had forensically documented the collaboration between the Palestinian Arab leadership and the Nazis, nor that these left-wing journalists had once argued passionately that the birth of Israel was one of the great moral triumphs of the 20th century. It is to Jeffrey Herf's credit as an historian and scholar that he has provided this important reminder of who actually defended and opposed international justice for the Jewish people 75 years ago.' Sol Stern, Israel's Perilous Moment, Then and Now
'In an era when book after book by credentialed frauds flush with jargon and making spurious claims cross this reviewer's transom, Herf's study is a relief: true scholarship, with extensive research, clear prose, and sensible, convincing arguments.' Daniel Pipes, Middle East Quarterly