Ball Says Israel is an ‘inhibition’ Not a Strategic Asset to the U.S.
Menu JTA Search

Ball Says Israel is an ‘inhibition’ Not a Strategic Asset to the U.S.

Download PDF for this date

former Undersecretary of State George Ball, long regarded as on advocate of appeasing the Arab states with regard to Israel, said yesterday that Israel is “an enormous inhibition” and is no to “strategic asset” for the United States.

Appearing on ABC-TV’s Issues and Answers, Ball made his statements about Israel after disclosing that he is now supporting President Carter for reelection and has severed his support for independent candidate John Anderson, who is strongly pro-Israel.

Ball, who was a leading advisor on foreign affairs for Anderson, clashed on the ABC program with Richard Allen, Republican candidate Ronald, Reagan’s chief foreign policy advisor, who said “Governor Reagan proceeds to on appreciation of Israel because he believes it is a strategic asset for the United States.”

The differences between Allen and Ball, who was the chairman of a study of American policy on Iran and the Persian Gulf for President Carter last year, came of the close of their discussion on the U.S. role in the Iran-Iraq conflict and the Middle East in general.

The Israeli matter arose when Barrie Dunsmore, ABC diplomatic correspondent, asked Allen whether the U.S. “is properly using one of its key allies in the Middle East right now, Israel, in this situation? Do you think there is a role far Israel to play that we are not using?”


Allen replied: “I don’t think so. In this particular situation I don’t know what that role might be. Of course, we are well aware of the endemic conflict, of the latent conflict between Arabs and Jews. Governor Reagan proceeds to on appreciation of Israel because he believes it is a strategic asset for the United States. It represent an offsetting power It’s a stable democracy. It’s one to which we are committed over the long term.

“We’re committed not only on the basis of our strategic interests in maintaining the territorial integrity of Israel and its light to exist, but also based on a deep moral commitment that we have to the State of Israel. Israel is an important ally. It must continue to grow. It must continue to exist. It must continue to be able to defend itself against any possible threat to its existence.”

Bob Clark, chief correspondent for the ABC program, then said to Ball, “I know you disagree to some degree on this. You feel much more strongly about resolution of the Palestinian problem.”


Ball replied: “Well I think unless we resolve it Israel simply remains for us on enormous inhibition to our achieving any kind of decent political relations in the areas, the countries that count most in the areas, which are the oil-producing areas. I don’t see Israel as a strategic asset. I am certainly committed to the security of the State of Israel. But I think we delude ourselves when we talk in those terms.”


Earlier in the broadcast, Ball said he sees better opportunity of improving key U.S. relationships in the Middle East under Carter than Reagan.

He said Carter has “in the course of the Camp David negotiations shown some appreciation of the necessity to come to grips, say, with the Palestinian issue, which I think is a key festering issue. I think he has shown a certain sensitivity to the main political interests that we have in the area. And I hope that more and more we’re going to think of the Middle East in terms of on overall United States policy and not be deflected by a lot of pressures that we get from special interests in the area.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund