Lillehammer University College
John Quigley (Ohio State University School of Law) has produced an intriguing study of how the Zionist movement, and later Israel, utilized deception as a diplomatic tool to make gains on the international scene. While most of the focus is on how Israeli politicians manipulated the United Nations, large sections also detail how these leaders handled the Ottoman Empire, the British Mandate power and the United States leadership. The title is somewhat misleading – the book is not only restricted to deception at the United Nations, nor is it limited to the actions of Israel’s founders, since the timeline goes quite a bit further. Quigley makes no pretense to cover the entirety of Israel’s diplomacy, instead he focuses on instances where Israeli diplomats lied, told half-truths or manipulated facts to their benefit. This focus might make the book controversial. The political cynicism displayed by Israeli politicians in some of the historical cases presented is sometimes shocking. One of the most important contributions Quigley makes is his study of the short, but important, close relationship between the Soviet Union and the Zionist leadership/Israel in the last year before statehood and the first year of statehood. This relationship is commonly only mentioned in passing, but it had significant influence on the outcome of important votes in the United Nations. Quigley fleshes out and analyses this relationship, commenting also on how the Soviet Union tried to conceal this history as it became a potential embarrassment. In sum, Quigley’s book is well worth a read, providing a provocative, but insightful analysis of some of Israeli diplomacy’s darker sides.