[Dr. Aaron Lerner:
"Max, if I had a Jewish advisor working for me, I doubt I would have handled
the situation the same way. I would not have forced the Israelis back."
Eisenhower to Max Fisher
Given the record of Jewish advisors, the more proper line would be "if I had
a good believing Christian advisor working for me"]
EISENHOWER REGRETTED HE PUSHED FOR SINAI WITHDRAWAL
Dr. Joseph Lerner Thursday, January 16, 1997 [redistributed 8 June 2007 ]
Dr. Joseph Lerner - Founder - IMRA - 1921 - 2006
When President Bill Clinton won his second term, Rowland Evans and Robert
Novak joined forces to put out a column urging him to follow the example of
President Dwight Eisenhower to "stand up to Bibi Netanyahu."When President
Bill Clinton won his second term, Rowland Evans and Robert Novak joined
forces to put out a column urging him to follow the example of President
Dwight Eisenhower to "stand up to Bibi Netanyahu."
"Remember what Eisenhower did to Israel in Sinai!" is embedded in American
middle east policy. For Zionists it is a reminder of the U.S. at its
roughest. For Israel's opponents, it is the optimal standard.
In Israel's 1956 joint military undertaking with Britain and France,
Eisenhower warned Israel of severe consequences were she not to withdraw
from the Gaza Strip and Sinai. All U.S. assistance would end and financial
contributions to Israeli institutions would lose their tax exempt status.
There would be serious U.N. declarations and the U.S.S.R. might intervene.
After only two days of these warnings Israel complied.
Peter Golden in his "authorized biography" of Max M. Fisher "Quiet Diplomat"
(1992) relates that in October 1965 Fisher met with President Eisenhower in
Gettysburg to get agreement to accept the U.J.A. medal for his role in the
liberation of the Nazi concentration camps twenty years earlier. French
General Pierre Keonig leader of the French Resistance and British Field
Marshall Alexander were also to be honored.
Golden reports that toward the end of the visit Eisenhower "wistfully
commented 'You know, Max, looking back at Suez, I regret what I did. I never
should have pressured Israel to evacuate the Sinai'" (all references are to
pages xvii and xvix). Eisenhower's remark astonished Fisher.
Fisher was not the only one who was told of Eisenhower's change of mind.
Nixon told Golden: "Eisenhower...in the 1960s told me -- and I am sure he
told others -- that he thought the action that was taken (at Suez) was one
he regretted. He thought it was a mistake."
Although Fisher knew this for 27 years before publication of his "authorized
biography" he evidently never sought to give it publicity beyond the
biography. It is still essentially unknown. Had Eisenhower's rethought
position been known in 1965, it might well have been helpful to Israel.
After reading the biography, I wrote Fisher asking why he hadn't publicized
this change in Eisenhower's thinking. Unfortunately, he canceled our
scheduled meeting in Jerusalem.
The Gettysburg visit brought a change in Fisher's life aspirations. Golden
relates that Eisenhower "almost as an afterthought" as they started to
depart said: "Max, if I had a Jewish advisor working for me, I doubt I would
have handled the situation the same way. I would not have forced the
Israelis back." Fisher was "struck...with the impact of epiphany. If Fisher
had been unsure of the of the extent of power an unofficial advisor could
wield with a president, he now had his answer, and from an unimpeachable
source: the influence exerted could be decisive. It was exactly the role
Fisher hoped to play."
Author Peter Golden regarded Fisher's 1965 Gettysburg visit with Eisenhower
so crucial that he related it in biography's introduction titled "Eisenhower
and the Revelation of Sinai". Yet, somehow that revelation escaped the
attention it deserved.