Commentary on “The Devil You Know”
by Paul Kahan, Ph.D. Student.

David Zierler very competently summarizes my thesis in “The Devil You Know,” and then poses a basic question regarding the essay, first writing, “That the postwar Zionists possessed [agency], there can be little doubt,” then asking: Why emphasize this point?

I emphasize this point for a number of reasons: first, there is some debate as to the degree that Harry Truman was influenced by the American Zionist movement, and to say “there can be little doubt” minimizes this important (and ongoing) discussion. Second, even with freshly available documents from Soviet, American, and Israeli sources, there is no consensus on why Stalin chose to support the partition plan and then to recognize Israeli statehood.

Zierler’s critique about the lack of historiographical information in my essay is a point well taken, but one he answers himself when he cites that space and word limitations. I would direct anyone interested in my sources to consult my footnotes. I think anyone familiar with the historiography (as Zierler clearly is) would have little problem locating my imperative within the sources I cite.

I appreciate Zierler’s thoughtful and accurate reading of my piece, and thank him for his constructive critique.