Was it a mistake for Israel to ally with UK/France on Suez?

A BBC article revisiting the 1956 Suez Canal crisis contends

Was there really a chance for Israel to cozy up to Egypt and its other Arab neighbors? Or was there little to lose by supporting the Anglo-French position on this issue?

Eh ?

1956 - the old Suez Canal problem.

The Israelis just trusted the French and the British

  • nobody realized that the USA would pull the rug from under them

Actually the Israelis probably had a good idea, the British were not entirely dumb and the French were a bit pre-De Gaulle, it was a test case

Personally I would not have sent out conscripts, I would also be wary of the USA, their help in the Falklands fiasco was interesting.

While personally I like many Americans, I doubt that their foreign policy has changed much since 1945 - when to put it crudely it was F*ck the Europeans

  • for a cite dis-inter my uncle and a load of others

Possibly why we watched the mess in Vietnam

Controversially, I believe the line my uncle told me, that USA foreign policy has been aimed at shafting Europe - and he was a tolerant old bastard, he never let on about his views - especially in an embassy.

When you are given a model, and it keeps fitting, it is irrational to change ones view.

Fortunately very few people in the UK hold a similar view

  • but 97% are brain dead anyway

Yeah, I remember hearing about all those little fuck yous the United States sent to Europe in the form of the Marshal Plan starting in 1947 to aid in economic recovery. I think it was 12-13 billion fuck yous spent and it was quite helpful to those European nations that took part.

It made some sense from Israel’s standpoint. The nationalization of the canal had stopped Israeli shipping through it (and the Egyptians were also blocking the Straits of Tiran(, and Israel also wanted to stop Egyptian raids from the Gaza Strip and the Sinai. I don’t think there was really any way Israel could have patched up their relationship with Egypt, so long as Nasser was in power.

God DAMN that INF treaty pushed by the United States that went so far in eliminating the threat of nuclear war in Europe! We really screwed you guys on that one.

Anywho, I was under the impression that Egypt and Israel were well on their way to trading blows over Gaza well before the who Suez thing hatched. The Palestinian problem would have existed whether or not the Suez Crisis ever occured. Saying that Suez was the source of Israel’s problem in relations with its neighbors is just ignoring the Palestinian elephant in the room.

Now, the real question is whether the elephant is a genuine partner for peace…

Many things were going on. The Americans were ticked off at Nasser over his recognition of ‘Red China.’ As a result. they pulled their funding of the Aswan Dam project in a rather sudden way. This seemed to indicate that the Americans would overlook their traditional anti-colonial stance.

The Europeans guessed wrong.

As for the Israelis, the invasion was part of a long-running fight with Egypt. They secured strategic depth, I cannot believe that they would have had better relations with Egypt had they sat that one out.

It was an interesting conflict. It seems to me that in different ways both the Egyptians and the Israelis “won” - the Egyptians gained great prestige from having fought off the colonialists, the Israelis demonstrated an ability to trash the Egyptian army.

The big losers were France & UK.

The notion that this conflict was a major factor in Arab-Israeli relations is nonsense. They were in the pits anyway.

Recently I learnt about a similar event which took place in 1882

The British and French ganged up to take over Egypt, it involved a few gunboats shelling Alexandria. At the time Egypt was run by someone a bit like Nasser.

The reason was, as can be predicted, the Suez Canal.

I guess that in 1956, we had not realized that gunboat diplomacy was no longer in the rule book - of course there are parallels to Panama …

MGibson wrote:
Yeah, I remember hearing about all those little fuck yous the United States sent to Europe in the form of the Marshal Plan starting in 1947 to aid in economic recovery. I think it was 12-13 billion fuck yous spent and it was quite helpful to those European nations that took part.

I think you’ll find that the UK did not benefit from the Marshal Plan, in fact you’ll find that the UK /paid/ the US for arms and supplies, and continued paying for rather a long time.

Possibly you have also forgotten that it was Germany that declared war on the USA

Probably the US was correct in foreseeing that ‘Colonialism’ was not the path of the future, but over rapid dismantling had unpleasant side effects.

Last time I checked the UK was not the whole of Western Europe and so far as I know everyone who participated in the plan was suppose to pay us back. Germany paid off their debt in 1970 or 1971.

Nah, those 12-13 billion “fuck yous” I was talking about were yankee dollars. I don’t think U.S. policy post 1945 was predicated on screwing Europe as much as possible like you seem to think.


Interesting. Leaving aside all the OTHER aid we gave the UK during the war, are you sure about the ‘fact’ that the UK didn’t benifit from the Marshal Plan? Because the way I’m reading table under Expenditures in this Wiki article about the Marshal Plan, it seems that, contrary to your assertion, no only did the UK benifit from it, they received the lions share of the funds.

Here is an interesting snippet:

Yeah…we really fucked you Europeans over there. Damn those Americans for giving Western Europe ‘unprecedented growth and prosperity’. :mad:

Yes? And? Do you recall that the UK tried to drag us in long before Germany declaired war? Not that it makes much difference to your assertion that we ‘when to put it crudely it was F*ck the Europeans’ according to you. Why do you think we were under any kind of obligation to put your fucking worlds back together…it was YOUR war after all, one we just got dragged into. And yet we fucked you Europeans by, well, giving you the funds to rebuild your nations and have that ‘unprecedented growth and prosperity’ thingy. Yeah…thats us. Always out the fuck over the nice friendly and peace lovin Euro’s.

:rolleyes: Bummer about all those colonial possessions dude. I really sympathize that you and the French et al had to give em up, and that it was so painful to you doing so…


You did not get ‘dragged into’ WWII

The USA was attacked by the Japanese - Germany then declared war on the USA
Actually the USA precipitated the Japanese going to war, they cut off their supply of oil, which left the Japs in a bit of a dilemma.

The Marshall Plan was a great idea, it certainly jump started Europe, it did it so effectively that within little time the UK was actually a lot worse off than France and Germany, rationing in the UK continued far longer.

It was not just the UK and France that had ‘colonial’ territory, the Belgians had the Congo, and the Dutch had Indonesia. The neutral Portuguese had a number of places and the Spanish had some of Morrocco.

Mixing up Lend-Lease, the Marshall Plan and pressure to break up ‘colonies’ just confuses the issue, they were three totally separate things.

In 1945 the USA had emerged as the sole World power, and was the most powerful economy by far. However until then it had been comparatively isolationist, and was not really aware of the problems of being the one big player.

Sure we did…kicking and screaming. As you pointed out, Japan attacked us and Germany declared war on us. Otherwise we may have remained neutral…despite the pressures from the UK and others to jump into your mess.

Um…quite. So, I assume this means you withdraw your statement about the UK getting nothing out of the Marshall Plan? If so, fair enough.

Yes, I know.

Yes, I know. I was responding to your appearent attempt to do just this…since I was responding to YOUR statements.

Yes…I know. Whats your point?


I think his point could be paraphrased as being ‘everything the US has done in terms of foreign policy has been driven by self-interest and the desire to increase its power’.
I think he’s broadly correct in that, but since every other country on the planet behaves in pretty much the same way I fail to see why it’s an issue.

Personally I’m inclined to think Israel should have kept its head down and tried not to antagonise the neigbours unless totally necessary, but I don’t know enough about the period to have an properly informed opinion.