Churchill and the Jews

by Robert — Dec 8, 2013 (

In “Churchill and the Jews” (2007),  Martin Gilbert portrays Churchill as a kind of “Johnny-on-the-spot” whenever Zionist interests required defense or promotion.  His professed motivation was his conviction that advantaging “a superior people,” the Jews, must benefit not the world as a whole, not to mention the little weasel himself.
His father, Randolf Churchill, (left) was known for his connections to powerful bankers such as Nathan Rothschild and Sir Ernest Cassel. He introduced his son to these Jewish power-brokers with a view to finding him a good career.  They took young Winston under their wing.
When Winston was 20, Sir Ernest Cassel offered to “manage the young man’s finances” (i.e. put him on a retainer.)  For example, Cassel secured a £10,000 (today about £500,000) share of a  lucrative Japanese government loan for him, and bestowed a £25,000 (today’s money) wedding present on him.
In 1904, Churchill was elected as a Liberal in the riding of Manchester North-West, one-third of whose voters were Jewish, and promptly became an ardent opponent of the Aliens Bill, the purpose of which was to curb Jewish immigration from Russia.  When he was accused in the press of acting under orders from Lord Rothschild, he characterized the charge as a “foul slander”. Whatever the case, Churchill and a few allies stonewalled the bill until the government dropped it.
When Churchill holidayed on the continent in the summer of 1906, he had three prominent Jewish hosts:  Ernest Cassel in Switzerland, Lionel Rothschild in Italy and Baron de Forest in Moravia.
In 1910, as Home Secretary, Churchill sent the army to arrest people rioting against Jews in South Wales, in Gilbert’s words, “Britain’s only pogrom”. Jewish landlords were evicting impoverished miners from their homes.  Ignoring both Conservative and Labour critics, Churchill subsequently had the rioters arrested and sentenced to hard labour.
As the First Lord of the Admiralty, Churchill pushed for an attack on the Ottoman Empire (which encompassed Palestine), leading to the unsuccessful naval attack on the Dardanelles that caused him to resign. Coincidentally, the Jewish Cabinet member Sir Herbert Samuel opined that once the Turks were beaten, Britain should acquire Palestine so it could become a centre of Jewish self-government.
Gilbert says that the Balfour Declaration was calculated to prompt American Jewry to “accelerate the military participation of the United States” in the First World War.  Fulfilling the “pledge” (as Churchill insistently termed this nebulous document) became one of Churchill’s constant crusades.
After the end of the “Great War” Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann suggested to Churchill, then Secretary of State for War, to appoint General Wyndham Deedes, a proven Zionist sympathizer, to the post of chief administrator of the British military administration of Palestine.


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