This is the seventh installment of Ralph Buntyn’s ongoing series “Remembering David Horowitz.” We are publishing it, appropriately on David’s birthday. He was born on April 9, 1903 so he would have turned 112 today! For those unfamiliar with David’s long life here is a biographical sketch of some of the highlights with photos.
Building off the previous year’s success and momentum, United Israel World Union continued to expand.
Newlywed President David Horowitz sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion regarding the establishment of colonies in Israel.
UIWU also announced the formation in Greater New York City of a Young Men’s and Young Women’s Anti-Discrimination Auxiliary under the name B’nai Sinai. It was a program designed to unify and strengthen the ranks of an Israeli youth of a new age, one born out of the Hitlerian holocaust. It would offer renewed hope and faith in the eternal ideals of their heritage born at Sinai. Response and growth was widespread among the young men and women of the Empire City and the organization would soon have its own officers and committee heads.
On April 22, 1951, UIWU held it’s eighth Annual Meeting and announced plans for the building of the organization’s second Hebrew Altar to serve a growing congregation in West Virginia. The dedication was scheduled to take place in the town of Wilbur during the Feast of Tabernacles in October.
The Korean War had intensified. China had intervened and two hundred thousand Chinese troops had entered North Korea. On April 11, US President Harry Truman relieved General Douglas MacArthur of his Far Eastern command.
May 1951 marked a new chapter in American Zionism and David Horowitz would witness firsthand many of the new developments.
The Zionist Organization of America’s Salute to Israel Rally was held at New York’s Madison Square Garden on the evening of May 13-commemorating the Third Anniversary of the State of Israel. The pageant entitled “Twin Flames of Freedom” was presented at the rally before over 20,000 spectators. The marvelous pageant-conceived by Israeli Ben Aronim and produced by Isaac Van Grove-linked the destinies of the oldest and youngest world democracies. It drew a sharp parallel in the struggle of the United States and Israel to achieve independence. The very nature of this unique pageant symbolized the link that would bind the two democracies into a bond of eternal friendship involving ongoing cooperation and co-ordination of action and activities.
The celebration continued as two warships of the Israeli Navy arrived in New York harbor on a goodwill tour of American ports. It marked the first visit of any unit of Israel’s armed forces. Representing the world’s youngest navy, the warships (frigates) named “Misgav” (Secure Haven) and “Haganah” (Defense) were veterans of Israel’s War of Independence. Members of the crew were from over 30 different countries. Many bore the brand of Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps and had personal, dramatic stories to share of survival and migration to Israel. Mrs. Nan Reilly, new UIWU associate editor and David’s new wife, interviewed Israeli sailors during the warship’s NY visit for United Israel World Union.
An announced Israeli bond drive of one half billion dollars opened in the US. Following an extensive tour of leading American cities on behalf of the bond issue drive, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion left New York on the afternoon of May 31st aboard the Queen Mary. At Paris, he would board an El Al Israeli National plane for the return trip to Israel. On the eve of his departure, Mr. Ben Gurion made the following statement at a meeting with the representatives of the press: “I am returning to Israel profoundly moved by the warmth and cordiality of the reception which Mrs. Ben Gurion and I have experienced on all sides during our stay in this country. In Washington, I twice had the opportunity of meeting with President Truman and of learning firsthand of his deep personal interest in the welfare and development of Israel.”
David Horowitz personally met and interviewed several members of Hollywood’s leading personalities appearing in NY for the festivities. Peter Hanson, Joan Taylor and Nancy Hale were among Paramount’s Golden Circle who spent time with David at a luncheon held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel on May 15th.
Israel and the United States-it was a golden celebration.
On July 20, 1951, King Abdullah Ibn Hussein of Jordan is assassinated as he leaves the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. His murder is attributed to his willingness to negotiate with Israel. David Horowitz, who had carried on a written dialogue with the King in the mid 1940’s, was deeply saddened. An account of this dialogue was covered in a previous release entitled “Dialogue with an Arab King.”
In late August 1951, David was back in Israel. He was fortunate to have arranged a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion. The occasion of the visit marked the presentation to the State of Israel of United Israel’s first symbolic flag at the behest of the West Olive unit in Michigan. The Premier accepted the flag enthusiastically and would later convey his appreciation. Dated August 29, 1951, the Prime Minister wrote:
“Your kind letter of August 20th was conveyed to me by Mr. David Horowitz. I was deeply moved by its contents and by your fine gesture in sending us your symbolic flag. I have told my colleagues in the Government of Israel of your letter and of your gift. The flag I will hand over to the State of Israel and, in accordance with your wishes, it will be kept in Jerusalem, the Holy City, the capital of our State.”
On October 14, 1951, the second UIWU Altar was dedicated at Wilbur, West Virginia. The Clarksburg Telegram of October 15 carried a full report of the dedication in a front-page story.
Yasser Arafat of the Husseini clan begins organizing Palestinian radicals in Cairo and recruits Abu Iyad, Abu Jihad, and other future leaders of the PLO.
In early 1952, UIWU began experiencing financial difficulties and announced they were no longer able to have the United Israel Bulletin published. It was replaced by a number of “Personal Letters” consisting of several legal sized pages with a bulletin-like format. The last magazine style bulletin appeared in March 1952. It was not until April 1957 that the bulletin reappeared, this time in a tabloid form.
In Personal Letter #5 of July 1952, David reported that he has a new column entitled “Behind the Scenes at the United Nations” which the Western Jewish News of Winnipeg, Canada, had assigned to him to write for the publication. A leading magazine in Bombay, India and the “Jewish Herald” in Johannesburg, South Africa soon picked up the column as a regular feature. In the first few columns, David referred to Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt’s participation at the UN in connection with her deep understanding of Israel. Upon reading the columns, Mrs. Roosevelt wrote David a nice note of appreciation.
During July 1952, King Farouk of Egypt is dethroned by a bloodless coup led by Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar al-Sadat and others. Israeli Prime Minister Ben-Gurion, in a Knesset speech, extends the “hand of friendship” to the new Egyptian regime and privately offers economic and political assistance, which Egypt responds to favorably. Private conversations would continue until December 1954.
Returning from a trip to Spokane, Washington in October, David stopped over in Kansas City, Missouri and had a long visit with one of President Truman’s closest friends, Eddie Jacobson. Jacobson and Truman were once business partners and were also buddies during World War I. It was felt that Jacobson also had influenced Truman on the matter of the recognition of the State of Israel. David later received a letter from Jacobson telling him that he had finished reading David’s autobiography “33 Candles” and that he planned to visit David at the UN in November.
On November 9, 1952, the first President of Israel, Chaim Weizmann, died while in office. In a little known fact, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion offered Albert Einstein the position of President. Einstein declined the honor, saying he was “deeply moved by the offer, but didn’t consider himself suited for the position.” Yitzhak Ben-Zvi would succeed Chaim Weizmann as president. The office of the President of Israel is a largely ceremonial position with the real executive power lying in the hands of the Prime Minister.
In the November 1952 Presidential election, former five-star general and Columbia University President, Dwight David Eisenhower defeated Adlai Stevenson, becoming the 34th President of the United States.
Under the new US administration, Israel would soon learn just how much they missed President Harry Truman.
This is the seventh in the ongoing series “Remembering David Horowitz.” Be sure to read any posts you have missed at our archive here.
Ralph Buntyn is executive vice president and associate editor of United Israel World Union. A historian and researcher, his many articles and essays have appeared in various media outlets.