On Oct. 29, 1956, Israeli troops took control of the Sinai Peninsula. United States President Eisenhower pressured Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to withdraw Israeli troops on March 16, 1957, in order to bring “peace” to the Middle East.
The first attempt at land-for-peace was short-lived. Instead of peace, on June 5, 1967, Egypt sent 80,000 troops and 900 tanks to attack Israel. It was the beginning of the Six-Day War.
Jordan and Syria used Soviet-made weapons to violently shelled Jerusalem and Israeli villages. Cairo radio announced: “The hour has come in which we shall destroy Israel.”
The hot line between Washington and Moscow was used for the first time.
In a surprise move, Israeli Air Force destroyed 400 Egyptian planes, courageously drove Syria from the Golan Heights, retook the Sinai Peninsula and captured all of Jerusalem.
In a CBS-TV interview, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion stated: “In Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles.”
Having taken complete control of Jerusalem, Israeli soldiers possessed the Temple Mount. In another act of land-for-peace, Israel quickly gave control of it back to Muslims.
Seven months after the War, on Jan. 7, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson toasted Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, saying: “Welcome to our family table. … All Americans – and all Israelis – know … that none … can ever live by bread alone. … One of your ancestors said it for all men almost 2,000 years ago … for peace it is written, ‘pursue it.’ That is our intention in the Middle East. … To pursue peace. …”
LBJ continued: “… If we are wise, if we are fortunate, if we work together – perhaps our nation and all nations may know the joys of that promise God once made about the children of Israel: ‘I will make a covenant of peace with them … it shall be an everlasting covenant.'”
During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in 1973, Egypt and Syria launched attacks on Israel in what became the Yom Kippur War. President Jimmy Carter brokered the 1978 Camp David Accords, in which Israel agreed to withdraw from the Sinai in another promise of land-for-peace.
On Feb. 5, 1996, Margaret Thatcher stated: “We have to remember that the Jewish people never, ever lost their faith in the face of all the persecution and as a result have come to have their own promised land and to have Jerusalem as a capital city again.”
In April 3, 2002, while serving as House Majority Whip, Tom DeLay stated in a speech at Westminster College, titled “The Bonds of Freedom”: “The State of Israel has fought five major wars to defend its right to exist since 1948. … Israel and America are kindred nations. The founders of both countries were profoundly influenced by faith. Both countries drafted governments that practice religious tolerance. Both countries are filled with immigrants summoned by dreams. … Freedom is alive in Israel today. We can’t allow the lone light of democracy to be extinguished by a wave of hatred.”
Many U.S. presidents expressed support of Israel, even as far back as John Adams, who wrote to Thomas Jefferson: “I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize man than any other nation.”
President John Adams stated: “I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation for, as I believe, the most enlightened men of it have participated in the amelioration of the philosophy of the age.”
President John Quincy Adams wrote to Major Mordecai Manuel Noah that he believed in: “rebuilding of Judea as an independent nation.”
President Abraham Lincoln met a Canadian Christian Zionist, Henry Wentworth Monk, who expressed hope that Jews who were suffering oppression in Russia and Turkey be emancipated “by restoring them to their national home in Palestine.”
Lincoln said this was “a noble dream and one shared by many Americans.”
In 1891, pogroms incited by Czar Alexander III provoked an outcry by many prominent Americans, including the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and Speaker of the House.
Rev. William E. Blackstone and Cardinal Gibbons presented a petition signed by those who were concerned about the fate of the Jews in Russia to President Benjamin Harrison and Secretary of State James Blaine. They called for the first international conference “to consider the Israelite claim to Palestine as their ancient home, and to promote in any other just and proper way the alleviation of their suffering condition.”
In 1917, Lord Balfour sent a letter to Lord Rothschild, president of the British Zionist Federation, stating that the British government would facilitate the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.
President Woodrow Wilson stated March 3, 1919: “The allied nations with the fullest concurrence of our government and people are agreed that in Palestine shall be laid the foundations of a Jewish Commonwealth.”
President Woodrow Wilson wrote: “Recalling the previous experiences of the colonists in applying the Mosaic Code to the order of their internal life, it is not to be wondered at that the various passages in the Bible that serve to undermine royal authority, stripping the Crown of its cloak of divinity, held up before the pioneer Americans the Hebrew Commonwealth as a model government. In the spirit and essence of our Constitution, the influence of the Hebrew Commonwealth was paramount in that it was not only the highest authority for the principle, ‘that rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God,’ but also because it was in itself a divine precedent for a pure democracy, as distinguished from monarchy, aristocracy or any other form of government.”
President Warren G. Harding stated: “It is impossible for one who has studied at all the services of the Hebrew people to avoid the faith that they will one day be restored to their historic national home and there enter on a new and yet greater phase of their contribution to the advance of humanity.”
President Calvin Coolidge stated: “The Jews themselves, of whom a considerable number were already scattered throughout the colonies, were true to the teachings of their prophets. The Jewish faith is predominantly the faith of liberty.”
President Calvin Coolidge expressed: “Sympathy with the deep and intense longing which finds such fine expression in the Jewish National Homeland in Palestine.”
President Herbert Hoover stated: “Palestine which, desolate for centuries, is now renewing its youth and vitality through enthusiasm, hard work, and self-sacrifice of the Jewish pioneers who toil there in a spirit of peace and social justice.”
The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee stated in 1922: “The Jews of America are profoundly interested in establishing a National Home in the ancient land for their race. Indeed, this is the ideal of the Jewish people, everywhere, for, despite their dispersion, Palestine has been the object of their veneration since they were expelled by the Romans. For generations they have prayed for the return to Zion. During the past century this prayer has assumed practical form.”
President Harry S. Truman stated May 26, 1952: “I had faith in Israel before it was established, I have faith in it now. … I believe it has a glorious future before it – not just another sovereign nation, but as an embodiment of the great ideals of our civilization.”
President John F. Kennedy stated: “This nation, from the time of President Woodrow Wilson, has established and continued a tradition of friendship with Israel because we are committed to all free societies that seek a path to peace and honor individual right. In the prophetic spirit of Zionism all free men today look to a better world and in the experience of Zionism we know that it takes courage and perseverance and dedication to achieve it.”
President Lyndon B. Johnson stated: “The United States and Israel share many common objectives … chief of which is the building of a better world in which every nation can develop its resources and develop them in freedom and peace.”
President Lyndon B. Johnson stated before the B’nai B’rith organization: “Most if not all of you have very deep ties with the land and with the people of Israel, as I do, for my Christian faith sprang from yours. … The Bible stories are woven into my childhood memories as the gallant struggle of modern Jews to be free of persecution is also woven into our souls.”
President Richard M. Nixon spoke of America, stating: “Israel is one of its friends.”
President Gerald Ford reaffirmed America’s: “Commitment to the security and future of Israel is based upon basic morality as well as enlightened self-interest. Our role in supporting Israel honors our own heritage.”
President Jimmy Carter stated: “The United States has a warm and a unique relationship of friendship with Israel that is morally right. It is compatible with our deepest religious convictions, and it is right in terms of America’s own strategic interests. We are committed to Israel’s security, prosperity, and future as a land that has so much to offer the world.”
President Ronald Reagan stated: “Only by full appreciation of the critical role the State of Israel plays in our strategic calculus can we build the foundation for thwarting Moscow’s designs on territories and resources vital to our security and our national well-being.”
President Reagan stated: “Since the rebirth of the State of Israel, there has been an ironclad bond between that democracy and this one.”
President George H.W. Bush stated: “The friendship, the alliance between the United States and Israel is strong and solid, built upon a foundation of shared democratic values, of shared history and heritage, that sustains the life of our two countries. The emotional bond of our people transcends politics. Our strategic cooperation – and I renew today our determination that that go forward – is a source of mutual security. And the United States’ commitment to the security of Israel remains unshakeable. We may differ over some policies from time to time, individual policies, but never over the principle.”
President Bill Clinton stated: “Our relationship would never vary from its allegiance to the shared values, the shared religious heritage, the shared democratic politics which have made the relationship between the United States and Israel a special – even on occasion a wonderful – relationship.”
President George W. Bush stated: “We will speak up for our principles and we will stand up for our friends in the world. … And one of our most important friends in the world is the State of Israel.”
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