My Mom was quite the packrat. In addition to the Life magazine that I quoted from in the two previous posts (here and here), which was published at the end of the War, my Mom also saved the June 16, 1967 edition of Life magazine, which was written within days of the War’s abrupt beginning and swift end. The news reports are pretty much the same as in the commemorative edition (sometimes verbatim), but there’s still something new and surprising, making it an enlightening glimpse at a different era of reporting. How’s this for unimaginable rhetoric, which appears in the magazine’s opening editorial?
The tremendous discrepancy between the competence of Israeli and Arab armies is the most obvious fact from which to start [in searching for meaning about the War]. The Israelis are very patriotic, brave and skillful soldiers, brilliantly led. But that only gives half an explanation of their huge — and mounting — military superiority. The other half may yield to an impolite but unavoidable question: what is the matter with the Arab armies? Was there ever a people so bellicose in politics, so reckless and raucous in hostility — and then so unpugnacious in pitched combat — as Nasser’s Egyptians?
The editors than take on what they perceive as the canard that the U.S. blindly allies itself with Israel. Au contraire, say the editors. The fact is that the U.S. allies itself with the moral side, and that side is Israel (can we find some editors to write this way now?):
The error [the belief that the U.S. unthinkingly supports Israel] arises out of the fact that in most disputes the U.S. has been found on Israel’s side. That’s because it is the Arabs who challenge the existence of Israel, and not vice versa.
There you have it, in a 1967 nutshell. The U.S. sides with Israel not because of any hostility to Arabs, but because it recognizes the right of a sovereign nation to defend itself against annihilation — a principle that should be as operative today as it was 40 years ago.