Abba Eban and the Development of American–Israeli Relations, 1950–1959

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Abstract

Abba Eban, Israel’s ambassador in Washington and representative at the United Nations from 1950 to 1959, had a central role in the transformation of American–Israeli relations during a period of frequent discord over key strategic issues. This analysis examines the influence of one prominent actor upon bilateral ties that would eventually become the American–Israeli “special relationship.” Eban’s oratory talent, linguistic skills, and effective style of diplomacy augmented both Israel’s image in the view of the American public and relations with official Washington. The article explores several critical elements of these relations during the 1950s, re-examining both Eban’s involvement in events such as Israel’s approach toward the problem of borders, its policy of military retaliation, and the response to severe American pressure following the 1956 Sinai campaign. Whilst not attributing the development of close relations between the two Powers solely to the works of a single individual, evidence suggests that Eban was the right man in the right place and time to provide the necessary foundations for the elevation of American–Israeli relations to “special” in the following decade.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Pages (from-to)65-83
Number of pages19
JournalDiplomacy and Statecraft
Volume26
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2015