Graduate Student News 2014-2015
Amber Taylor's article (Ph.D Candidate) will be published in June 2015 in the journal: Israelis
Before It Was Special: The Gradual Shift in U.S.-Israel Relations in the Final Years of Eisenhower's Presidency
Abstract: Many observers of American Middle East policy have looked to 1962 and America’s sale of Hawk missiles to Israel and Kennedy’s subsequent pronouncement of a “special relationship” with the Jewish State as marking a turning point in U.S.-Israel relations, one that meant the beginning of a friendship that would last until the present. The topic is one of great interest to a wide array of scholars, who seek to locate and describe the origins of that relationship. This article uses various secondary and primary sources to argue that the relationship finds its roots in the Eisenhower administration of the 1950s. Despite the President’s determination to foster closer relations with the Arabs in a bid to curb Soviet influence in the Middle East, and a turbulent first term in which Israel’s efforts at strengthening ties with the U.S. brought little more than frustration, the reality of Israel’s strategic importance soon became apparent to Washington, and a closer relationship began to develop between the two. Emphasizing the importance of Eisenhower’s insistence on strategic versus cultural appreciation for Israel, this article will consider the events and motivations that opened the way for the development of the “special relationship” before it was officially special.