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Editorial

The Pure Patriot T. Zambas and Greek-American Relations

On May 14, 1948, President Harry Truman recognized Israel.

Two days earlier, then-Secretary of State George W. Marshall had warned Truman at a meeting in the Oval Office that if he did that, he would vote against him in the next election.

Marshall feared that if this happened, the Arabs, in the midst of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, would cut off oil to America.

Truman listened intently, but did not answer.

Two days later he announced his decision.

What happened?

Truman, born in Independence, Missouri, had a very good childhood friend of Jewish descent.

He learned from his friend about their history and traditions. And, of course, the Jewish Holocaust was very fresh in his memory.

Truman recognized the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, eleven minutes after it declared itself a nation. Of his decision to recognize the Israeli state, Truman wrote in his memoirs: "Hitler had been murdering Jews right and left. I saw it, and I dream about it even to this day. The Jews needed some place where they could go. It is my attitude that the American government couldn't stand idly by while the victims [of] Hitler's madness are not allowed to build new lives."

History unfolds in different, sometimes strange, ways that no one expects.

Not on the basis of harsh geopolitical calculations, but on the basis of feelings and emotions generated in the context of friendships with trusted people.

This has been proven in practice many times, with big and small decisions in America which are called upon by the Jewish community.

Less well known are the numerous cases of Greek-Americans who opened important doors to leaders of Greece and Cyprus, but who did not follow up and take advantage of the opportunities.

Why? Often due to a lack of a clear national strategy.

It goes without saying that in order for someone to help you, he must know what you want.

Generalities of the type "do what you can" do not work.

I refer to the above in order to pay tribute to a pure patriot in our Community, a refugee from Turkish-occupied Cyprus, an activist who has been fighting day and night for decades for the liberation of his homeland and his village, which was occupied by the Turks during the illegal invasion in 1974 and which remains in the hands of the Turks.

An expatriate who is moved by everything Greek.

I am referring to Tassos Zambas, who has built a close friendship with Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the state in which he lives, whom he has supported through both his good and bad days.

Zambas certainly could not have imagined that the day would come when his friend would become chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

And yet it happened.

In an interview given to us by Zambas, he also said this: "Menendez is an American politician. He will think of the interest of his country. The issue is, when we have a philhellene like Menendez, how will the [Greek and Cypriot] governments use him for our national interests, which coincide with the American ones."

In this case, both Mitsotakis and Anastasiadis immediately did what they had to do: they called Menendez to congratulate him, to show him their appreciation, but also their interest in the new position he holds.

Menendez is certainly not the president of the United States, as Truman was.

However, his position is important, his desire to stand by us, and his ability to help us, to the extent that this also serves the interests of the United States, is great.

As long as we use it.

 

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