American Foreign Policy and the Crisis Between the U.S. and Israel
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 Arens, a former Israeli foreign minister, has written an embittered but insightful and illuminating book about what he, as a conservative, sees as a severe breach of faith. The party that broke its covenant with Israel, according to Arens, wasn't a jealous and capricious Yahweh: It was the current protector of the Jewish state, the United States. When Arens arrived in Washington in 1981 as the Likud party's newly appointed ambassador to the US, he was determined to communicate the Begin government's message with conviction. Upon meeting President Reagan, he felt like he was with an old friend. But Reagan's foreign policy counselors--notably James Baker and George Bush-- were another matter. When Israel bombed Iraq's reactor in 1981, Baker and Bush contemplated punitive measures, and did likewise when Israel invaded Lebanon a year later. And so the stage was set for what Arens feels was a radical deterioration in relations when Bush became president and Baker secretary of state. Arens writes that the Bush administration tried to muscle the Likud government, in which Arens now was serving as foreign minister, into concessions to the Palestinians. As Arens sees it, this amounted to unprecedented interference in Israeli domestic affairs and was responsible for Labor's victory over Likud in 1992--but also, ironically, for Clinton's victory over Bush the same year, because of defections among US Jews from the Republican camp. While his take on the 1988 US elections is wrong, Arens provides much more than a bitter tirade toward Bush and Baker. A former engineer who was largely responsible for the creation of Israel's formidable aerospace industry and who served as a technical adviser to several Labor governments even as he was rising in Likud, Arens is as good a guide as any to the small, often claustrophobic world of Israeli politics. Animated by a sense of betrayal, Arens makes penetrating observations about political leaders and situations, and historical conundrums.

Pub Date: Feb. 13th, 1995
ISBN: 0-671-86964-7
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1994


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