Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Churchill Series - Jan. 8, 2009

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

The following post, first published in Feb. 2006, is very timely today.

Historian David Hurwitz wrote (excerpts):

Appointed Colonial Secretary in February 1921, Churchill had long supported a Jewish state. His early experience came from prominent Jewish leaders in Manchester, one of his early constituencies.


In a letter written in 1908, he expressed "full sympathy...with their aspirations of establishing a Jewish homeland....The restoration to them of a centre of true racial and political integrity would be a tremendous event in the history of the world....Jerusalem must be the only goal."


Churchill played an important part in determining the boundaries of Palestine. A natural Arab-Jewish boundary was the River Jordan, with Jewish settlements permitted west of the river and Arabs to the east.


Militant Arabs argued that Jewish immigration should be stopped and support for a national home for the Jews should be ended.

Churchill flatly refused, stating that it was not within his authority as Colonial Secretary, and that he would not block Jewish settlements in the area even if he could. He insisted that Arabs "...must live on terms of cordiality and fraternity."

Just 12 years from now, in 2021, we’ll mark a century since Churchill tried to settle differences and assure peace in Palestine between Arabs and Jews.


David Hurwitz, "Churchill and Palestine," Judaism, 44(1): 3-32.