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Moynihan's Moment: America's Fight Against Zionism as Racismby Gil Troy
Synopses & Reviews
On November 10, 1975, the General Assembly of United Nations passed Resolution 3379, which declared Zionism a form of racism. Afterward, a tall man with long, graying hair, horned-rim glasses, and a bowtie stood to speak. He pronounced his words with the rounded tones of a Harvard academic, but his voice shook with outrage: "The United States rises to declare, before the General Assembly of the United Nations, and before the world, that it does not acknowledge, it will not abide by, it will never acquiesce in this infamous act."
This speech made Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a celebrity, but as Gil Troy demonstrates in this compelling new book, it also marked the rise of neo-conservatism in American politics--the start of a more confrontational, national-interest-driven foreign policy that turned away from Kissinger's détente-driven approach to the Soviet Union--which was behind Resolution 3379. Moynihan recognized the resolution for what it was: an attack on Israel and a totalitarian assault against democracy, motivated by anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism. While Washington distanced itself from Moynihan, the public responded enthusiastically: American Jews rallied in support of Israel. Civil rights leaders cheered. The speech cost Moynihan his job--but soon won him a U.S. Senate seat. Troy examines the events leading up to the resolution, vividly recounts Moynihan's speech, and traces its impact in intellectual circles, policy making, international relations, and electoral politics in the ensuing decades.
The mid-1970s represent a low-water mark of American self-confidence, as the country, mired in an economic slump, struggled with the legacy of Watergate and the humiliation of Vietnam. Moynihan's Moment captures a turning point, when the rhetoric began to change and a more muscular foreign policy began to find expression, a policy that continues to shape international relations to this day.
On November 10, 1975, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution declaring Zionism a form of racism. The move shocked millions, especially in the United States-- the country largely responsible for founding the UN. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the American Ambassador to the UN, denounced this attack on Israel as an anti-Semitic assault on democracy and stood up to the Soviet-backed alliance of Communist dictatorships and Third World autocracies that supported the resolution. His eloquent stand brought him celebrity in the U.S., but ultimately shortened his tenure at the UN by alienating American allies, adversaries, and much of the foreign policy establishment--including Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Nevertheless, Moynihan's moment was a turning point: a harbinger of a shift in American culture and politics that would culminate in the Reagan Revolution.
Moynihan paved the way for a more muscular, idealistic, neoconservative foreign policy and for a new style of defiant "cowboy" diplomacy. In this book, Gil Troy argues that America's idea of itself--still torn, in the mid-'70s, between post-Vietnam and -Watergate defeatism and a growing sense of optimism--changed with Moynihan, altering both the left and the right in ways that continue to play out in the 21st century. Much of the rhetoric of this era survives in domestic foreign policy debates and the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine, suggesting that Moynihan's struggle has much to reveal about American politics and its position on the world stage.
About the Author
Gil Troy is Professor of History at McGill University, a Visiting Scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, DC and a Shalom Hartman Research Fellow in Jerusalem. He is the author of six books on American history, including See How They Ran: The Changing Role of Presidential Candidates, Morning in America: How Ronald Reagan Invented the 1980s, Leading from the Center: Why Moderates Make the Best Presidents, and The Reagan Revolution: A Very Short Introduction
Table of Contents
Introduction: Raising Hell: Moynihan's Moment
Prelude: 1945: "We the Peoples of the United Nations"
1. 1975: "The United States in Opposition" or the New World Disorder
2. The Making of a Warrior-Diplomat: Pat Moynihan as Insider and Outsider
3. The Sixties' "False Lexicon of Political Cliches" : Racializing Conflict and anti-Zionism with White Guilt
4. "Scary Doings at Mexico City": The International Women's Year Debacle and the Third World World's Che Guevara Rules
5. "We've Got to Stop This" Moynihan on the Move: October, 1975
6. Oom, Shmoom: "Where are your bloody Jews?"
7. "The United States does not acknowledge, it will not abide by, it will never acquiesce in this infamous act." November, 1975
8. "I AM A ZIONIST": The Liberal Backlash - Against the UN
9. This is "not the OK Corral and I am hardly Wyatt Earp": The Diplomatic Backlash - Against Moynihan
Epilogue 1: "A Resolution Born out of Bitter Ideological Confrontation among the Nations of the World"
Epilogue 2: Durban 2001: "The Terrible Lie" with "Terrible Consequences": The Return of Zionism Is Racism in the Delegitmization Derby, the Destruction Dysfunction, and the New Anti-Semitism
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History and Social Science » Middle East » General History