On November 10, 1975, the General Assembly of United Nations passed Resolution 3379, which declared Zionism a form of racism. Afterward, a tall man with long, graying hair, horned-rim glasses, and a bowtie stood to speak. He pronounced his words with the rounded tones of a Harvard academic, but his voice shook with outrage: "The United States rises to declare, before the General Assembly of the United Nations, and before the world, that it does not acknowledge, it will not abide by, it will never acquiesce in this infamous act."
This speech made Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a celebrity, but as Gil Troy demonstrates in this compelling new book, it also marked the rise of neo-conservatism in American politics--the start of a more confrontational, national-interest-driven foreign policy that turned away from Kissinger's détente-driven approach to the Soviet Union--which was behind Resolution 3379. Moynihan recognized the resolution for what it was: an attack on Israel and a totalitarian assault against democracy, motivated by anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism. While Washington distanced itself from Moynihan, the public responded enthusiastically: American Jews rallied in support of Israel. Civil rights leaders cheered. The speech cost Moynihan his job--but soon won him a U.S. Senate seat. Troy examines the events leading up to the resolution, vividly recounts Moynihan's speech, and traces its impact in intellectual circles, policy making, international relations, and electoral politics in the ensuing decades.
The mid-1970s represent a low-water mark of American self-confidence, as the country, mired in an economic slump, struggled with the legacy of Watergate and the humiliation of Vietnam. Moynihan's Moment captures a turning point, when the rhetoric began to change and a more muscular foreign policy began to find expression, a policy that continues to shape international relations to this day.
Gil Troy is a leading political historian, and one of today's most prominent activists in the fight against the delegitimization of Israel. He is Professor of History at McGill University, and a Research Fellow in the Shalom Hartman Institute's Engaging Israel Program. Professor Troy's writings have appeared in The New York Times, The New Republic, and other major media outlets. He writes a weekly column for The Jerusalem Post, and is Editor-at-Large of The Daily Beast's Open Zion blog. Professor Troy is the author of eight books, including biographies of Ronald Reagan and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
"Gil is a solid scholar and a lucid writer. But never has he written a book like this. It is the passion, the outrage, that distinguishes Moynihan's Moment
in Gil's corpus. He has simply found the right subject. Few writers are this lucky." --Stephen H. Hess, Brookings Institution
"...meticulous, well-woven and readable...calls much-needed attention to an issue that reverberates still..." --Robert A. Peck, Jewish Book World
"Troy has written both a quasi-biography of Moynihan and a history of the evil resolution. Both are comprehensive, well integrated, and fluently narrated." --John Bolton, Commentary
"...the new book by the deep and graceful historian Gil Troy...[is] a highly sophisticated intellectual history of liberal America in the last decades of the 20th century..." --Marty Peretz, New York Observer
"Beautifully written, and rich in its insight and analysis, Gil Troy's compelling study of Moynihan's Moment
is the definitive account of this episode and of why its legacy is an enduring one." --David G. Dalin, National Review
"...Troy thinks the fight against Resolution 3379 was Moynihan's greatest moment, and it is hard to argue with him." --Suzanne Garment, Jewish Review of Books
"Gil Troy's volume on the late Daniel Moynihan is superb. It demonstrates his power of critical analysis as well as his commitment to what is eternal and noble in Jewishness."
"Gil Troy's book about Senator Patrick Moynihan's fight to rescind the UN resolution equating Zionism with racism reveals the full extent of Moynihan's leadership, intellect, and integrity. Those qualities are sorely missed in the ongoing battles to prevent the delegitimization of Israel being waged in the UN Assembly and elsewhere." --Edward I. Koch