How would the American founders have responded to the creation of Israel?

This question will not resonate with critics of Israel on the far left, since for them the founders exemplify precisely the “settler colonialism” they see as Israel’s taproot.

For others, however, answering this question—as best a counterfactual can be answered—can provide a valuable lens through which to judge recent criticisms of Israel and America’s close connection with the Jewish state. Many of the founders—an admittedly loose term that will be used here as coextensive with leaders in political life from the 1770s until the early 1800s—would have supported the formation of Israel in roughly the sense envisaged by the United Nations’ Resolution 181 of November 1947, for at least three reasons.

The first is the manner in which the creation of Israel reflected key aspects of America’s own founding. The second is the significance of the pro-Jewish views circulating among many founders as a result of the considerable Jewish support for the revolutionary cause. The third relates to the especially strong personal support three major founders—Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and John Quincy Adams—extended to Judaism. The latter two even explicitly endorsed the reconstitution of a Jewish state in the Holy Land. 

Lastly, against the claim that the founders’ general prioritization of immediate national interest in foreign affairs would have ill-disposed them to support the creation of a state in the far recesses of the globe stands the example of Hamilton’s energetic commitment to assisting regimes and movements around the world that instantiate political and moral values consistent with America’s aims. Hamilton would likely have endorsed Israel’s foundation on this basis alone, and his endorsement would have influenced many others.