Decision Points

The Nadir of U.S.-Israel Relations: Between Eisenhower and Nasser

Nov. 13, 2019

This episode focuses on one of the lowest points in the U.S.-Israel relationship: the 1956 Suez Crisis. At the time, President Eisenhower felt betrayed by Israel, France, and Britain for initiating war after Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal. The episode highlights ties with allies alongside his desire to win support for Arab nationalist champion Gamal Abdul Nasser, the Egyptian leader whom the White House hoped in vain would be a bulwark against the Soviets in the Cold War. How did Eisenhower balance these conflicting impulses? What impact did his decisions have on the future of Nasserism, U.S.-Israel relations, and the American role in the Middle East? What was Eisenhower’s dramatic gamble?

Host David Makovsky discusses these and other questions with Michael Doran, a former Princeton University professor, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, and author of Ike’s Gamble: America’s Rise to Dominance in the Middle East.

Audio Clips Used:

"1956 - Suez Crisis"

"U.N. Meeting on Suez Canal and Israel - Egyptian War Reel 1 (1956)" - British Pathé

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