Churchill and the Jews

Churchill and the Jews

Paperback

By (author) Martin Gilbert

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  • Publisher: POCKET BOOKS
  • Format: Paperback | 352 pages
  • Dimensions: 129mm x 198mm x 26mm | 286g
  • Publication date: 4 July 2008
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 1416522573
  • ISBN 13: 9781416522577
  • Illustrations note: maps, ports.
  • Sales rank: 152,564

Product description

CHURCHILL AND THE JEWS covers the whole life of this greatest of Britons -- from his youth, when he was shocked by the anti-Semitism displayed during the Dreyfus Affair, to his last meeting with David Ben-Gurion in 1960, when he gave Ben-Gurion an article he had written about Moses. In the intervening years, during which Churchill cemented his place in history, his affinity with the Jews remained undimmed, even though his championing of Zionist issues and interests was often like a red rag to the bull of the British Establishment. One of those closest to Churchill once confided to the author that "Winston had one fault -- he was too fond of Jews." What does this mean? How did this fondness manifest itself? Exploring all aspects of his life and career, CHURCHILL AND THE JEWS sheds new light on a key figure of the twentieth century and how his attitudes affected not just the prosecution of the Second World War but the establishment of a Jewish state that followed it.

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Author information

Sir Martin Gilbert is one of our most distinguished historians. Born in 1936, he was appointed Churchill's official biographer in 1968. Since then he has written numerous bestselling works of biography and history, including his seminal six-volume life of Winston Churchill. For more information visit www.martingilbert.com

Editorial reviews

British historian and Churchill biographer Gilbert (Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction, 2006, etc.) explores the great statesman's early, fervent support of Zionism and wartime pleas to save the Jews from Nazi persecution. Churchill believed the Jews, thanks to Moses and the code of conduct he received at Mt. Sinai, "grasped and proclaimed an idea of which all the genius of Greece and all the power of Rome were incapable." Continuing his father Randolph's friendship with prominent British Jews such as Lord Rothschild, Churchill, as a young MP in 1904, became a vocal critic of the Aliens Bill restricting Jewish immigration from Tsarist Russia. As Home Secretary, he dispatched troops to restore order after the pogrom at Tredegar, South Wales. Early on, he became friendly with the one who would most shape Zionist policy, Chaim Weizmann, the Manchester chemist whom he enlisted during World War I to manufacture explosives for British ammunition. While supporting the Balfour Declaration, Churchill was deeply wary of Bolshevism as representing the "bad" Jews. Indeed, he hoped that Zionism would work to counterbalance Jewish Bolshevik sympathies. Churchill visited the Holy Land, excoriated Islam as a "retrograde force" and lobbied against restricting Jewish immigration to Palestine, especially as Arab resistance grew and Nazi persecution of the Jews gained force. Regarding the rise of the Nazis, Churchill demonstrated extraordinary prescience as early as 1933 and continually warned in speeches and writings of the impending menace. He led the debate against Partition and called the MacDonald White Paper (devising a policy in Palestine of permanent Arab majority) a "shameful act of appeasement." Gilbert diligently pursues Churchill's attempts to save Jews throughout the war, his disillusionment with Jewish terrorism and failure to bring up the future of Palestine at Potsdam. The author masterfully sketches the evolution of Israel through a long, difficult British Jewish process of conception.Gilbert's deep, lifelong scholarship and knowledge of his subject lend his book both authority and accessibility. (Kirkus Reviews)