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London, March 30, 2007

Churchill was 'too fond of the Jews'

by Martin Gilbert

In a press release announcing a book by Richard Toye on Churchill and Lloyd George, Cambridge University Press put its main emphasis on the discovery of a previously unknown article written by Winston Churchill in 1937, containing considerable anti-Semitic imagery.

In fact, not one word of this article was written by Churchill. Nor did the article ever appear in print, either under his name or that of any other. The article was written in its entirety by a British journalist, Adam Marshall Diston.

Churchill, who was then writing on average an article a week, paid Diston, a journalist and would-be Labour party parliamentary candidate, to draft these articles. Some of Diston's drafts were amended by Churchill and published with his amendments; a few were published unamended.

The article in question, however, was never published. This was fortunate, as it was twice offered for publication. On the third occasion it was offered, in 1940, Churchill noted, 'I have forgotten all about it', and would not permit publication. Someone else's opinions, in an unpublished article, which never appeared in print under Churchill's name, cannot be laid at Churchill's door.

Added by this website:

"Churchill's War", vol. i: "Struggle for Power"

In "Churchill's War", vol. i: "The Struggle for Power" David Irving describes in detail (in the chapter "Paying the Piper", from pages 58 to 70) how Churchill had initially ignored Hitler entirely, concentrating instead on his journalism; in 1936 however the London Jews clubbed together to bankroll him into backing their anti-Hitler campaign. Here is an excerpt:

Playing rough in a speech at Horsham on July 23 [1936] he [Churchill] appealed over Attlee's head to trade unionists and Leftist intellectuals. "All the left wing intelligentsia," he would triumph four months later to his son Randolph, "are coming to look to me for protection, and I will give it wholeheartedly in return for their aid in the rearmament of Britain."

ON THE day after the Horsham speech the ten top members of the A.N.C. trooped into Morpeth Mansions, his London pied-à-terre, for a second conspiratorial luncheon. In response to Churchill's wishes for a less negative title, they now called themselves the Focus but, cat-like, this was a name known only to themselves.
   The main decisions this day were to set up a research section under Wickham Steed and to draft a manifesto. (According to Steed it was seen by "one American visitor" who insisted it be shown privately to certain associations, which he did not identify, in the United States.)
   There were embarrassed coughs when the organising secretary of the A.N.C., A. H. Richards, inquired where the money for all this was to come from; Mr Churchill appeared angry at the question. Richards was taken aside and asked to announce simply that all their requirements had already been met.
   Funds had been arranged two days earlier at a private dinner in North London, hosted by the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Its vice-president Sir Robert Waley-Cohen, chairman of British Shell, was a charismatic Zionist extrovert who would become, in the words of his authorised biographer Robert Henriques, the "veritable dynamic force of Focus."
   At a dinner on July 22 [1936] at his home, Caen Wood Towers, he launched the initial secret £50,000 fund for the Focus. His associates signed immediate cheques for £25,000 and pledged the rest.
   It was a colossal sum for such an organisation to butter around in 1936 - five times the annual budget of the British Council. Personally administered by Waley-Cohen, the fund was used to procure journalists like Times leader-writer Captain Colin Coote - who published for the Focus a series of "Vigilance" pamphlets - and for widespread slushing operations coordinated by H. T. Montague Bell.
   It was Waley-Cohen who ruled on what the Focus might say. According to Henriques he read all manuscripts and amended them profusely, explaining that they had to refute the growing belief among the British public that Nazism had "its legitimate aspects." Even Churchill's writings were not excepted from this editing. A year later he wrote an article entitled "The Better Way." Waley-Cohen made copious alterations on the draft, and Churchill meekly swallowed them.
   On July 28, 1936 Churchill took his parliamentary deputation to see Mr Baldwin. He based his case on Morton's and Anderson's data, and put forward what he called the latest French government estimate of a German first line of two thousand planes by the end of 1936. He talked of Germany's power to bomb Britain's major food-importation ports as well as London, and freely claimed that Hitler could already drop five hundred tons of bombs on London in one mission.
   The fallacies are now obvious…

Twenty-five years ago I published Churchill's written instructions to Diston on what this article should cover: 'Obviously there are four things. The first is to be a good citizen of the country to which he belongs. The second is to avoid too exclusive an association in ordinary matters of business and daily life, and to mingle as much as possible with non-Jews everywhere, apart from race and religion. The third is to keep the Jewish movement free from Communism. The fourth is a perfectly legitimate use by the Jews of their influence throughout the world to bring pressure, economic and financial, to bear upon the Governments which persecute them.'

Churchill had always urged the Jews to be good citizens, while retaining their faith and culture. His advice to his Manchester Jewish constituents in 1907 was: 'Be good Jews.' He explained that he did not believe a Jew could be 'a good Englishman unless he is a good Jew'. A year later, at the first public meeting he attended with his wife Clementine, a few weeks after their marriage, he told those gathered to open a new wing of the Manchester Jewish Hospital that he was 'very glad to have the experience of watching the life and work of the Jewish community in England; there was a high sense of the corporate responsibility in the community; there was a great sense of duty as fostered on every possible occasion by their leaders'.

Avoiding 'too exclusive' an all-Jewish association was another consistent theme. Churchill welcomed Jews as part of the wider British community, and was impressed by how many accepted that challenge. His friend Rufus Isaacs became (as Lord Reading) both viceroy of India and foreign secretary. But he was worried when Lloyd George wanted to include three Jewish Cabinet ministers among the seven Liberals in his 1918 administration, writing to the prime minister: 'There is a point about Jews which occurs to me -- you must not have too many of them. Three Jews among only seven Liberal Cabinet ministers might I fear give rise to comment.'

Keeping 'the Jewish movement' free from Communism was another consistent theme. The prominence of individual Jews in senior positions in the Communist revolutions in Russia, Bavaria and Hungary had alarmed Churchill since the 1917 Bolshevik revolution. Writing about this in 1920, he urged the Jews to abandon Communism, and either enter into the national life of their own countries, as in Britain -- 'while adhering faithfully to their own religion' -- or opt for Zionism.

Churchill regarded Zionism as 'a very great ideal', writing in 1920: 'If as may well happen, there should be created in our own lifetime by the banks of the Jordan a Jewish State under the protection of the British Crown, which might comprise three or four millions of Jews, an event would have occurred in the history of the world which would, from every point of view, be beneficial.' [Website comment: The world has had ample opportrunity to see how beneficial the creation of the state of Israel has been]

Churchill's 1922 White Paper established that the Jews were in Palestine 'of right, and not on sufferance'. During the second world war he suggested appointing the Zionist leader, Dr Chaim Weizmann, as British high commissioner for Palestine (in 1910, as home secretary, Churchill had signed Weizmann's naturalisation papers).

Fighting persecution was also Churchill's consistent advice to the Jews, at a time when he himself was being abused by Nazi newspapers in Germany for his outspoken criticism of Nazi racial policy. Some of his most powerful words in the House of Commons after Hitler came to power were denunciations of the cruelty of Nazi anti-Semitic policies.

Anti-Semitism was anathema to Churchill. In a letter to his mother he described the French anti-Semitic campaign against Dreyfus as 'a monstrous conspiracy'. His main criticism of the Conservative government's Aliens Bill in 1904 was that the proposed immigration controls could be abused by an 'anti-Semitic Home Secretary'.

When, in the House of Commons in 1921, Churchill spoke in favour of Jewish land purchase in Palestine, a fellow Member of Parliament warned him that, as a result of his advocacy, he would find himself up 'against the hereditary antipathy which exists all over the world to the Jewish race'. This was indeed so: in 1940 a senior Conservative gave as one reason for Churchill's unsuitability to be prime minister his 'pro-Zionist' stance in Cabinet, protesting against the Chamberlain government's restrictions on Jewish land purchase.

During the second world war, Churchill suggested the removal of 'anti-Semitic officers' from high positions in the Middle East. This led one of those officers, his friend General Sir Edward Spears, a Liberal MP, to warn me, as Churchill biographer, that 'Churchill was too fond of Jews'.

Following the Jewish terrorist bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946, at a time of strong anti-Jewish feeling in Britain, Churchill told the House of Commons: 'I am against preventing Jews from doing anything which other people are allowed to do. I am against that, and I have the strongest abhorrence of the idea of an'ti-Semitic lines of prejudice.'

These were Churchill's consistent and persistent beliefs. As he remarked when his criticisms of Jewish terrorism in Palestine were being discussed: 'The Jewish people know well enough that I am their friend.' This was indeed so.

Sir Martin Gilbert's book Churchill and the Jews is being published in Britain in June by Simon & Schuster, and in the United States in October by Holt.

Free download: David Irving, "Churchill's War", vol. i: "The Struggle for Power"
The origins of antisemitism
Other examples
Mustn't say that: Churchill's 1937 warnings about the 'Hebrew bloodsuckers' revealed: "the Jew is 'different'. He looks different. He thinks differently" | "... they are inviting persecution ... partly responsible" for their sufferings | British politicians denied Jews special treatment - and 'antisemitic' Churchill claims rebuffed | Churchill was accused of being 'too fond of the Jews' says Martin Gilbert | David Irving's biography explains the fondness (a large sum of money having changed hands in 1936) | Author contradicts Gilbert's claim that Churchill disowned Diston's article
Commentary: Was Churchill Anti-Semitic- And Does It Matter? Churchill exonerated By: Rafael Medoff in The Bulletin
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Flashback: Churchill's 1920 article on Stalin's Jewish torturers
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