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Alex Burden, Truman Library Institute Director, (left) with Israel's ambassador to the U.S. Michael Herzog.

Israel’s Ambassador speaks at Truman Presidential Library

Speaking at the Truman Presidential Library May 11, Michael Herzog, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, shared the crucial role the 33rd president played in the formation of modern-day Israel.

“I think we can safely say that if there had been no Harry S. Truman, there would be no Israel today,” Herzog stated in Independence, Mo.

The event, which also featured Truman’s grandson, was one of many around the world this week celebrating Israel’s 75th anniversary.

Just 11 minutes after its founding on May 14, 1948, President Harry S. Truman recognized the new state of Israel providing the endorsement the fledgling nation needed to legitimize its existence. Truman’s action came against advice of the U.S. State Department at the time.

truman library

President Harry S Truman (left) meets with Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion (right) and the Ambassador of Israel to the United States, Abba Eban (standing) in a gift ceremony in the Oval Office on May 8, 1951. (Abbie Rowe/Harry S. Truman Library & Museum)

Israel’s declaration came almost 2,000 years after the Roman Empire destroyed the ancient capital of Jerusalem, killing an estimated one million Jews and early Christian believers. Rome renamed Israel “Palestine.” It would take 1,878 years before Jews regained sovereignty over their ancient homeland. Immediately after the Israeli declaration, all of the surrounding Arab nations attacked the reborn state.

Truman stated years later what the reformation of a Jewish state meant. “I had faith in Israel before it was established. I knew it was based on a love of freedom which has been the guiding star of the Jewish people since the days of Moses,” Truman said. “I believe that it has a glorious future ahead of it, not just as a sovereign nation, but as an embodiment of the great ideals of our civilization.”

As the world marks the anniversary, historians, journalists and humanitarian organizations are sounding the alarm at rising antisemitism in the United States and around the world. The event asked “What can Harry Truman’s decision in 1948 teach us today? What lessons can be gleaned from his principled leadership and his unwavering commitment to democratic ideals?”

Also speaking at the event was Clifton Truman Daniel, eldest grandson of Harry S. Truman.

“My grandfather considered his decision to recognize Israel of the proudest of his life,” Daniel shared.

This library’s anniversary event hosted Herzog in a sold-out symposium where he talked about Israel’s founding, Truman and why it matters in the 21st Century (see video below). The formal program will officially air on C-SPAN.

Full remarks of Clifton Truman Daniel:

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice

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