In November 1953, after he had left the presidency, Harry Truman traveled to New York to be feted at the Jewish Theological Seminary. When his old friend Eddie Jacobson introduced him as “the man who helped create the state of Israel,” Truman responded, “What do you mean ‘helped to create’? I am Cyrus.” Truman was referring to the Persian King who overthrew the Babylonians in 593 B.C.E. and helped the Jews, who had been held captive in Babylon, return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple.
In his Memoirs, published in 1956, Truman cast himself as a consistent proponent of the Jewish state, and some of his noted biographers have followed suit.
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