Author: Gidon Ariel

Published Date: May 03, 2017

James G. McDonald, first US ambassador to Israel, in a 1952 interview on “Longines Chronoscope,” a CBS-network program. (Photo: screenshot)

An archived TV interview from 1952 provides a rare real-time glimpse into conditions surrounding the toddler Jewish state, as reported by James G. McDonald, America’s first ambassador to Israel.

Few Americans today will remember “Longines Chronoscope,” a CBS-network program sponsored by a watchmaking company that ran from 1951 to 1955. Billing itself as “a television journal of the important issues of the hour,” this prototype of today’s talk-show hosted political personalities ranging from Eleanor Roosevelt to (a very young) John F. Kennedy.

The Chronoscope episode on May 12, 1952 focused on the new “experiment” in the Middle East known as the State of Israel. Recorded shortly after Israel’s fourth Independence Day celebration, the questions the interviewers posed to former Ambassador James G. McDonald revealed open skepticism about the viability of this new country.

Read and watch this fascinating glimpse to the past here.

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