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Sir Winston Churchill and Israel

Oskar K. Rabinowicz

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Sir Winston Churchill and Israel* OSKAR K. RABINOWICZ, Ph.D. May I express my joy and pleasure at being again, after so many years, among good old friends and acquaintances? I am, of course, particularly delighted to speak under the auspices of the co-sponsor of this function, the Jewish Historical Society of England, the first society which I joined upon my arrival in this country from Czechoslovakia and of which I am still a proud member. At this point I should also like to offer my felicitations to the principal sponsor of this Chair in International Relations, the Friends of the Bar Ilan University. Bar Ilan University is a unique institute of higher learning, which embarked upon a rare experiment and succeeded, against all odds, in combining pure undiluted scholarship with deep-rooted Jewish tradition. Only out of such a courageous synthesis has it become possible to create this Chair and enable free and unbiased research into the relations between peoples and peoples. It is, and I say this with humility, a great honour to have been invited to open the series of these lectures, not only because of the University which has thus chosen me but to no less a degree because of the opportunity it gives to present an example of international relationships around the fascinating figure of Sir Winston Churchill. As you will remember, there were 112 nations represented at the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill in London. The majority among them did not exist at the time of Churchill's greatest triumphs. But more than with any other mortal, it was thanks to his now historic leadership against tyranny that they were able to emerge as independent nations. Their presence in London testified to that inner link which these people felt uniting them with this historic role. None, however, among these new nations was more justified at being repre sented in the forefront of the mourners, and none among these new States had more reason to honour his memory, than the State of Israel. That is because Churchill occupies an excep? tional place in the struggle for Jewish indepen? dence. He identified himself with the efforts to create a Jewish State almost from the be? ginnings of the Zionist Organisation. Churchill openly favoured the offer made in 1903 to Theodor Herzl by the then British Government headed by Arthur James Balfour, later the signatory of the famous Balfour Declaration, to establish a Jewish autonomous settlement in East Africa.1 The Zionists then rejected the offer. But this is of no consequence for an understanding of Churchill's stand pertaining to the future of the Jewish people, because the basic solution of the Jewish problem which he had accepted in those years of 1902 and 1903 still remained the same in subsequent years, namely, the necessity to establish a national autonomous territory, a Jewish State, for the Jewish people. It is for this reason that the title of my paper this evening is not Churchill and Zionism, but Churchill and Israel, because Zionism to him right from the start was nothing else but Jewish Statehood. By 1908 he no longer believed that a Jewish autonomy could emerge anywhere but in Palestine and he made his position clear in a letter written in that year, precisely 40 years ago, to a Zionist meeting in Manchester. He wrote therein, T am in full sympathy with the historical aspirations of the Jews' . . . 'The restoration to them of a centre of racial and political integrity would be a tremendous event in the history of the world.' Thus he became one of the few statesmen to grasp, at that early date, before World War I, the significance of the Zionist ideal. And with this letter he initi? ated a period of association with the Zionist Movement which was to last to the end of his * Paper delivered on 23 October 1968 under the joint auspices of the Society and the Committee for the Sir Winston Churchill Memorial Chair of International Relations and Political Science of Bar-Ilan University, Israel. 1 Jewish Chronicle, 5 January 1906, p. 16. See also Oskar K. Rabinowicz, Winston Churchill on Jewish Problems: A Half-Century Survey (London: Lincolns Prager, 1956), pp. 186-187. 67</page><page sequence="2">68 Oskar K. Rabinowicz days. In one of his last statements, made in 1954, looking back over the years, he stated: 'I am a Zionist since I made the acquaintance of Manchester Jewry forty-six years ago. I have been, am, and intend to remain an unfaltering Zionist.'2 At this point, so as to avoid any misunder? standing, I should like to emphasise very strongly that Churchill's pro-Zionism was not that straightforward undisturbed love affair which might be deduced from my introductory remarks. There were very bitter and sad moments in that relationship, and scholarship demands that we present the case truthfully; and in the course of my paper that truth will be brought to light. In order to understand Churchill's approach to Zionism and Jewish Statehood it is impor? tant to recall his social, cultural, and political background. He hailed from what we should call the aristocracy as understood in Britain in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. He grew in that period from childhood to man? hood. The impact of this background on him was deep and lasting. Victorian Britain was at the zenith of imperial greatness, and Churchill to his last day, notwithstanding his growth with the times, remained a child of that epoch, which is symbolised by his first school, Harrow, in Middlesex. It was based on the education in the old tradition of England's power, great? ness, and political leadership and of the British Empire's world-wide influence. From this background Churchill saw in Zionism a national political movement, rooted in Jewish history and tradition and in the hope of the Jewish people that through the re-establish? ment of its own State in Palestine Jewry would enhance its greatness, restore its glory, and do this in close relationship with the British Em? pire. It was this relationship with the British Empire which he stressed time and again in his speeches and articles when touching upon the Zionist solution. 'Zionism is especially in harmony with the truest interests of the Empire', he wrote in 1920.3 And ten years later he made it quite clear that, and I quote: Tt would seem, therefore, that the task to which we are bound by the most notorious obligation in Palestine, is also one which is well within our compass, and upon entirely different grounds indispensable to our inter es ts.'4 This com? bination of Jewish and Empire interests in the establishment of a Jewish Palestine was thus not based solely on sympathy for the Jews and/or for the Zionist idea, but to an important degree on the harmony of interests to the advantage both of the Jews and of Britain. This concept is basically identical with the thoughts of Theodor Herzl and the subsequent Zionist leadership, and was the credo until almost the end of his life of Chaim Weizmann. But both, the Zionist leadership and Churchill, also understood that the realisation of the ideal could not remain confined to the interests of both peoples alone, for the solution of the Jewish problem would also render a great service to the rest of the world. I have already mentioned Churchill's words on the 'tremen? dous event in the history of the world' which he uttered in 1908. They sound almost identical with Herzl's own formulation in the Judenstaat, in which he wrote: 'The world will be liberated by our freedom, enriched by our wealth, magnified by our greatness.'5 Zionists thus regarded their aim not as some sort of temporary-help arrangement, a philan? thropic experiment, an effort to support needy Jews to find an asylum, but as a national political movement based on self-help and self-liberation. Churchill, too, did not regard his cooperation with Zionism as an effort to help or support needy Jews to obtain a refuge, and I cannot recall a single statement of his to that effect. For him, too, Zionism was a national-political movement for the re-estab? lishment of an independent nation in Palestine. This was in contrast, for instance, to the late President Roosevelt, who in his typical Ameri? can way of thinking regarded the Zionist efforts as attempts to improve the lot of the poor in the same way as the U.S.A. improved the lot of poor people by admitting them as 2 Jewish Chronicle, 26 November 1954, p. 19. 3 'Zionism versus Bolshevism. A Struggle for the Soul of the Jewish People', Illustrated Sunday Herald, 8 February 1920. 4 'Our Task for Peace in Palestine', Evening News, Glasgow, 28 February 1930. 5 Der Judenstaat, chapter VI. Conclusion.</page><page sequence="3">Sir Winston Churchill and Israel 69 immigrants into America. He, therefore, did not concern himself with the national or political aspect of the Jewish problem. Therefore, too, in my opinion, Roosevelt's humanitarian approach^ had an important influence on American Jews, who, hitherto apathetic and even anti-Zionist, now spoke openly of their adherence to the humanitarian effort to find in Palestine a refuge for the needy, because this officially became American policy thanks to the concept of the President. This was, of course, not national-political Zionism, but it helped to advance the cause. Churchill's speeches and writings on the subject were received with great admiration and listened to with deep appreciation, yet they did not move Jewish individual assimilationists nearer to Zionism. For he strictly adhered to the national political concept. Therefore, Churchill could say and did say repeatedly T am a Zionist',7 which Roosevelt could never say nor did he ever do so. Churchill's first encounter with Zionist reality occurred in 1921 when he became Colonial Secretary and the administration of Palestine was then transferred from the Foreign to the Colonial Office. During World War I and particularly in the negotiations and the Cabi? net's decision leading to the issue of the Balfour Declaration in 1917, Churchill played no active role. When four years later he took over the Colonial Office he had immediately to act in two most sensitive areas: in Ireland, where the struggle for independence had reached alarming proportions, and in the Near Eastern area, which at the time was experiencing no less alarming conditions. For our subject tonight it is, of course, this Near Eastern area which concerns us primarily. The whole Middle East was then in turmoil as a result of the unrest among the Arab peoples, who saw the promises given them during World War I in return for their support betrayed by both France and Britain. This applied particularly to Syria, where, according to the Arab agree merit with Britain, the centre of the about-to be-created Arab State was to emerge and where Feisal was proclaimed King of that new Arab State in Damascus in 1920. But the French regarded Syria as their area of influence and their army occupied Damascus and drove Feisal out of the land. The Arabs then deman? ded of Britain the fulfilment of the agreement, but this would have meant going to war with France, which the British Government did not even consider as an alternative. At that moment Churchill took charge of the situation and devised a plan for Britain to emerge from this crisis as a friend of the Arabs. He called a conference on Middle Eastern affairs in Cairo in the spring of 1921, where, as a result of negotiations with the British representatives in the area and with Arab leaders, Feisal was compensated for the loss of Syria with the Crown of Iraq, and his brother Abdullah received an emirate in Transjordan, which at the time still constituted part of Palestine. This eastern sector of Palestine was thus cut off administratively from the Palestine mandated area and later became independent. By this act, as it were, Churchill repaid to the Arabs a debt of Great Britain at the expense of Jewish territory.8 The principle of this first major partition of Palestine was laid down in the White Paper of 1922, which bears Churchill's name. There was bitter resentment in Zionist circles against the whittling down of the hopes which had accompanied the Balfour Declara? tion and, for the first time in his political career, Churchill had to hear strong words of reproach from Jewish spokesmen. Not less disappointing was the new immi? gration policy which Churchill had defined in the same White Paper. Up to that time the basis of Jewish immigration into Palestine was the need and the urgency arising out of the Jewish situation in the world. But from then on, not the need of the Jews but the economic capacity of Palestine to absorb immigrants became the new basis of Jewish immigration. 6 See, for example, his letter to Grover A. Whalen, 16 July 1936, reproduced in Franklin Delano Roosevelt: The Tribute of the Synagogue (New York: Bloch, 1946), p. 246. 7 See The New Tork Times, 15 January 1946, p. 13. 8 See the correspondence between Lord Syden ham and Churchill in The Times, London, August 1922. See, too, the account of the debates in the House of Commons in June and July 1922 in Hansard, vol. 156.</page><page sequence="4">70 Oskar K. Rabinowicz In his defence of these measures Churchill maintained that they were not dictated by any anti-Jewish spirit or by any device to prevent the emergence of the Jewish National Home, but by a necessity to pacify the area and by natural law, because, as he said, no other method could apply to any colonisation wherever it took place, whether in Palestine or elsewhere. Every new immigrant, he pointed out, creates new and further economic positions for further newcomers and thus enables new immigrants to settle there. In this way he maintained there was no reason why after a proper period of time a Jewish majority in Palestine could not emerge. To keep this possibility open, he defined the purpose of British policy in those days as one that would not set up a Jewish State right away, but, on the other hand, nothing in the White Paper was said that would prevent its final emergence.9 It depended on the Jews, and it was Dr. Weiz mann who, when accepting the White Paper on behalf of the Zionist Organisation with sorrow and regret, had stated that it was 'up to us to convert the White Paper into a Blue White Paper*.10 The most important clause in that document was the clear statement that the Balfour Declaration remained under all cir? cumstances the basis of British policy and that the Jews immigrated into Palestine and settled there 'as of right and not on sufferance'. Whatever our feelings in this connection and whatever we believe a full pro-Jewish policy at the beginning of the Palestine Mandate would have meant in preventing riots and Arab antagonism in later years, we must concede that, once the White Paper was issued by Churchill and accepted by the Zionist leader? ship, Churchill regarded it as a definite agree? ment between Britain and world Jewry for the purpose of implementing the establishment in Palestine of the Jewish National Home. It was, in his words, the final version of this agree? ment. He was aware of the sacrifice that he had demanded and received from the Zionists through its acceptance and he therefore in? sisted with all his force that it be carried out to the end whenever in subsequent years, long after leaving the Colonial Office, he dealt with the Palestine issue.11 How did he understand the work to com? mence and be carried out by the Jews? Basically he understood it to rest solely on the efforts of the Jews but with the active support of Britain. From the conference in Cairo to which I referred he went on his first visit to Palestine. On 27 March 1921 he was greeted by Jerusalem Jewry on Mount Scopus. The late Rabbi Kook, then Chief Rabbi of Palestine, handed him a gift, a Sefer Torah, a Scroll of the Law. In the words of a contemporary correspondent, Churchill, holding the Torah in his arms, looking towards the west, where the beautiful sunset over Yerushalaim was just illuminating the roofs of the city and the towers of churches and mosques, said: 'This sacred book, which contains truth accepted by Jews and Christians alike, is very dear to me, and your gift will remain in my family as an imperishable souvenir. Yesterday I repeated Mr. Balfour's Declaration in the name of His Majesty's Government, which always keeps its promises and honours scraps of paper. We shall do all that is possible to fulfil the assurances which have been given to the Jewish people. Personally my heart has throbbed with Zionism since twelve years ago, when I made the acquaintance of Manchester Jewry. I believe that the building of the Jewish National Home will bring blessing to all. The realisation depends upon you. Upon you as representatives of world Jewry devolves a great responsibility. On your example depends the future of the Jewish people.'12 This dual basic principle?Jewish effort and Britain's active support?also came clearly to the fore when two days later he received a Jewish delegation in Jerusalem. At this point may I say a word about my quotations of Churchill's statements. He was one of the great stylists in the English language and one of the foremost orators of our time. 9 See note 8. 10 See Ghaim Weizmann, Trial and Error (Lon? don: Hamilton, 1949), pp. 360ff. 11 See, for example, the debate of 26 January 1949 in the House of Commons, reported in Hansard, vol. 460. 12 Jewish Chronicle, 27 May 1921, p. 21.</page><page sequence="5">Sir Winston Churchill and Israel 71 If I read his texts with my foreign accent I feel I have to stress that we concern ourselves in the first place with the contents and the ideas they convey, and as to myself, please bear in mind my apology by way of a paraphrase of the Biblical verse: The words are the words of Churchill, but the voice is the voice of Oskar Rabinowicz. And now I will quote what he said to that Jewish delegation in Jerusalem in March 1921: When I go back to London, I have no doubt I shall encounter opposition to our commitment and to the great expense involved in keeping a large British garrison in Palestine. You must provide me with the means, and the Jewish community must provide me with the means, of answering all adverse criticism. I wish to be able to say that a great event is taking place here, a great event in the world's destiny. It is taking place without prejudice or injustice to anyone. It is transforming waste places into fertile; . . . and the people of the country who are in the great majority [Arabs] are deriving great benefits, sharing in the general improvement and advance? ment. There is cooperation and fraternity between the religions and the races. ... If I did not believe that you were animated by the very highest spirits of justice and idealism, and that your work would in fact confer blessings upon the whole country, I should not have the high hopes which I have that eventually, in years to come, your work will be accomplished.13 Have the Jews lived up to his expectations ? He believed they did. For, in 1939, Churchill rose in Parliament and said: The Jews fulfilled their obligations. They have made the desert bloom, they have started a score of thriving industries, they have founded a great city on the barren shore. They have harnessed the Jordan and spread electricity throughout the land. So far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into Palestine and multiplied till their population has increased more than even all world Jewry could lift up the Jewish population. Well, the Jews have answered our call. They have fulfilled our hopes.14 What did occur in the years between 1922 and 1939, and subsequently? To understand Churchill's stand in these periods we must recall the statement that he regarded his White Paper of 1922 as a binding contract between Britain and world Jewry. There was not a single step taken in the following years by various British Governments, not a single suggestion or White Paper, that he would not scrutinise in the light of the question whether it was or was not in accord with that basic agreement of 1922. Mostly they were not. With all his powers of speech and his great personal influence, he did his utmost to prevent any? thing being done that might hinder the final emergence of the Jewish National Home in Palestine. In this spirit he stood up against the White Paper of 1930 which defined Britain's obligations towards Jews and Arabs as of'equal weight.' 'They are, of course, of equal weight', he said, 'But they are different in character. The first obligation [the establishment of the Jewish National Home] is positive and creative, the second obligation [safeguarding the civilian and religious rights of the Arabs] is safeguarding and conciliatory. . . . The primary object of the Mandate and of Britain's obligation is the creation of a national home for the Jews.' With no less vigour did he oppose the sug? gestion of the British Government in 1936 to create a Legislative Council, a sort of Parlia? ment, in Palestine which would have practically given the Arabs, because of their numerical strength, an instrument to block further Jewish immigration. He fought it in the name of the 1922 agreement, and repudiated it as incon? sistent with the Palestine Mandate. On the basis of the British-Jewish agreement in 1922 he also fought the partition of Palestine suggested by a Royal Commission in 1937. He advanced two basic arguments against it which are of interest to us today because of the particu? lar new situation created in Israel after last year's Six-Days' War. He then, in 1937, main 13 Ibid. F n Debate of May 1939 in the House of Com? mons, reported in Hansard, vol. 347.</page><page sequence="6">72 Oskar K. Rabinowicz tained that in accordance with the 1922 White Paper there was still time to continue the experiment of retaining a united Palestine, where Arabs and Jews could live together and where there was still ample room for further Jewish immigration thanks to the new econo? mic development by the Jews, which thus had enlarged the capacity of the land to absorb people. And his second argument was not derived from his White Paper but was based on a long conversation which he then had with the late Vladimir Jabotinsky, as a result of which Churchill emphasised the necessity to consider in any suggested partition the strategic position of the proposed Jewish State. There must be safe borders, he said, borders that meant a safeguard for the new State, which in the suggested form of partition in 1937 was, of course, not taken into consideration at all.15 It was then thanks to Churchill's Parliamentary strategy that the Government were finally led to abandon that scheme. His struggle for Britain's adherence to the agreement of 1922 reached its climax when the Government in 1939 issued the notorious White Paper. This foresaw the prohibition of land purchases in Palestine by Jews from Arabs and it set a final limitation to Jewish immigration: 75,000 within five years and then no more without the consent of the Arabs. In one of the greatest speeches in his career Churchill stood up against his own Conserva? tive Government and hurled grave accusations at it. He said, among other things: When grievous and painful words like 'breach of pledge', 'repudiation', and 'de? fault' are used in respect of the public action of men and Ministers?who in private life observe a stainless honour?it is necessary to be precise and to do them justice. His Majesty's Government has been brutally precise. On page 11 of the White Paper, in subsection 3 of paragraph 14, there is this provision: 'After the period of five years no further Jewish immigration will be per? mitted unless the Arabs of Palestine are prepared to acquiesce in it*. Now, there is the breach; there is the violation of the pledge; there is the abandonment of the Balfour Declaration; there is the end of the vision, of the hope, of the dream. If you leave out those words, this White Paper is no more than one of the several experiments and essays in Palestinian constitution-making which we have had of recent years. But put in these lines and there is the crux, the peccant point, the breach, and we must have an answer to it.'i? But the White Paper was adopted as Britain's new policy. A year later Churchill was to lead Britain and the free world against Hitler and the Third Reich. Now began another, a different en? counter with Jewish reality. Many a book and article has been written and will, no doubt, be written in years to come about European Jewry's destruction while the world looked on, the world in which Churchill became the in? carnation of liberty, freedom, and human dignity. As Jews we cannot and never will accept his post-war statement that, to quote his words, he 'had no idea, when the war came to an end, of the horrible massacres which had occurred, the millions and millions that have been slaughtered'.1? For even if a tenth of the six million had fallen victims, this should have aroused every responsible leader, Jew and non Jew alike, to extraordinary efforts. They all failed. The Jewish leadership also failed, as only recently was tragically confessed by Dr. Nahum Goldmann, then still President of the World Zionist Organisation.18 Churchill him? self was troubled by this tragedy and he justified his attitude with an emphasis on his general position and strategy in the war. From a host of his statements on this issue, I have formu? lated his position as follows (these are my words, not his): Here I am involved in the biggest war in is See Winston S. Churchill, Step By Step, 1936 1939 (London: Macmillan, 1942), pp. 143-146; and the debate of 21 July 1937 in the House of Commons, reported in Hansard, vol. 326. 16 Debate of 23 May 1939 in the House of Commons, reported in Hansard, vol. 347. 17 See Hansard (Parliamentary Debates), Vol. 426, No. 189, col. 1258, Thursday, 1 August 1946. 18 See Oskar K. Rabinowicz, 'Churchill's Place in Jewish History,' The Reconstructionist, XXI, No. 3 (1965), pp. 28-30, especially p. 30.</page><page sequence="7">Sir Winston Churchill and Israel 73 history, the outcome of which means life or death for mankind. I am and must remain single-mindedly concerned with winning the war. Nothing must divert my interest from this single aim. The loss of the war would mean the end of civilisation, the end of the English, the Americans, and the Jews alike. If in the course of the war (so the argument continues) nations and peoples all over the world had to suffer and incur greater and greater sacrifices, I cannot be deterred from my single and principal aim? to win the war?even if, to quote his words, 'half of London and a million Londoners' were to be destroyed by Nazi bombers.!9 There was an added reason for Churchill's inactivity during the war in the matter of saving Jews. The only actual outlet would have been Palestine, because of its vicinity to Europe. From the documents it now appears that he refused to decide upon the issue of Palestine's present and future without a Cabinet decision. His Cabinet was split on the issue, the anti-Zionists, with Anthony Eden, Clement Attlee, and Ernest Bevin, probably in the majority or at least in a very strong position, which would have meant an internal struggle with a possible split of forces. As Churchill wrote to Eden during the war: such a controversy must be prevented and therefore any decision regarding Palestine left until after the war. Neither of these arguments, logical as they may sound, is acceptable to us, because ours is an exceptional case and not one of routine. All other nations, however much oppressed by Hitler, lived on their own soil. Only the Jews had no land of their own, and above all, they were selected as the only people on earth for total annihilation. There was no necessity to decide upon the future, just open a lid, a window of escape, send a call to those who could rescue themselves. Therein, I feel, lies the tragedy of the Jewish people and also the tragedy of that great man, Winston Chur? chill. A not uninteresting and not uncharacteristic thing in this connection is the fact that, not? withstanding this position, Churchill did take some steps during the war pertaining to Pales? tine's future, probably the only land which he had thus selected for his interest during the fateful years. Although the official archives are still closed for the period, we know from the scarce sources available that Churchill inter? nally and in interdepartmental correspondence stood up for the Zionist cause. He repudiated anti-Zionist sentiments in the Colonial and War Departments, insisted on the recognition of the Jewish Brigade, and refused to consider anything that he would regard as hurting the Zionist cause. Moreover, he set up during the war a special committee to prepare a scheme for the emergence of a Jewish State after the war in a partitioned Palestine, thus reverting to the 1943 position which he had taken against the Palestine partition suggested by the Royal Commission in 1937. But, as he put it, he had no chance of carrying out his plan.20 He was in 1945, just after the conclusion of the Euro? pean war, replaced as a result of the general election by Clement Attlee and a Labour Government. From then onwards he again assumed his pre-1939 role of public watchman over Jewish rights and Zionist fulfilment in Palestine. He was the first in Parliament to demand, in 1947, a clear decision, either fulfilment of the agreement (with the Jews) or abandonment of the Mandate, as he was the first to demand recognition of the State of Israel when it came into existence in 1948. He lent his enormous prestige to repudiating Bevin's attempts at destroying the Jewish National Home, calling his acts the result of Bevin's prejudice against the Jews, and did not hesitate to give it publicly its proper name: outright antisemitism.2i Between 1945 and 1955 he made a number of important speeches in the frequent debates on Palestine. From the contents of these speeches we can construe a scheme or outline of a Churchill plan for the establishment of the State of Israel and the principal conditions for its existence. This was not a proposed plan elaborated by Churchill himself, but is the 20 See note 16, above. See also Churchill's The Second World War (London: Cassell, 1948 1954), passim, especially vol. V (1952), p. 602, and vol. VI (1954), p. 583; and Weizmann's Trial and Error, p. 427. 19 Ibid. 2i Debate of 26 January 1949 in the House of Commons, reported in Hansard, vol. 460.</page><page sequence="8">74 Oskar K. Rabinowicz result of my reading of his many speeches and writings uttered during that first post-war decade. I have collected the interspersed ideas and put them into the following form: In the first place, he thought in terms of a partition of Palestine into two States. While not defining the precise borders of the Arab and Jewish States he insisted that the Negev, the southern part of the land, would under all circumstances become the core of the new Jewish State. 'I have always felt', he said, 'that the Negev should afford a means of expansion to the Jewish settlers in Palestine and offer future prospects to Zionist movements.'22 He stressed in this connection the natural wealth of the area and in particular the fact that there would be no Arab problem in this sector of Palestine because it was empty land. He added that, in his opinion, both Jews and Arabs must have access to the Gulf of Aqaba as a sort of door to the world. This outlet should not be monopolised by either race because both needed it for their vast hinterland.23 It is worth recalling in this connection the many statements by David Ben Gurion, who, too, regards the reclamation of the Negev and the upbuilding of Aqaba as of the utmost importance for the Jewish State's future. Churchill also thought in terms of including western and northern Palestine areas in the Jewish State but he refused to draw clear borders, believing this to be a matter of negotiation between the Jews and the Arabs. If the area thus selected for the Jewish State were accepted, the problem of further Jewish immigration, he maintained, would cause no difficulty, because there is ample room in the Negev for millions of new settlers. A country of this size with a population of the talents which the Jews possess would develop an economy and industry, and introduce modern methods and means of progress which, there was no doubt in his mind, would be a blessing not only to the Jewish State but to the entire Middle Eastern area.24 He saw, of course, the difficulties, particu? larly the still acute problem of Arab refugees who in 1948, after the emergence of the State of Israel, had escaped into the neighbouring Arab lands. But he maintained that in the 25 years of British Mandatory rule not only had the Jewish population of Palestine doubled or more than doubled, to quote his words, 'but so did also the Arab population of the same areas of Palestine'. 'As the Jews continued to reclaim the country', he said, '400,000 or 500,000 or more Arabs from abroad found their living there, and they lived in tolerable con? ditions in spite of external influences. They thus were not old Palestine natives but recent newcomers. However, when Britain quitted the scene and the Arab Armies from Syria, Trans jordan, and Egypt rolled forward to extinguish the Jewish National Home, all the Arab population fled in terror to behind the advanc? ing forces of their own religion. Their condition is most grievous and I agree that it should certainly not be neglected by the Government. The one great remedial measure is peace and a lasting settlement. The Jews need the Arabs. If we can get peace, and this should be our main objective, the problem of the refugees will be reduced to one-third, possibly to one quarter, perhaps it will disappear altogether.'25 I am sure, ladies and gentlemen, that, like myself, you immediately recognise in this con? ception the policy which the State of Israel has pursued ever since 1948 when the Arab refugee problem arose. Peace is thus Churchill's strong advice to Jews and Arabs alike. But, as I have said, he also saw the difficulties and, therefore, believed that Israel's existence could not be based solely on economic and industrial strength, but he stressed with every emphasis the necessity and the importance of strategic safety based on military strength. Throughout World War II he was convinced, as he wrote in 1944, that, 'left to themselves, the Jews would beat the Arabs'.26 Looking at the military aspect of the Arab Israeli relationship down to this day one is astonished to notice Churchill's realistic appraisal and admirable foresight long before the liberation war of 1948. 22 See note 21. ? Ibid. 24 Ibid. 25 Ibid. 26 Churchill, Second World War, vol. V, p. 602.</page><page sequence="9">Sir Winston Churchill and Israel 75 But in his hopes and vision for the future he went further. 'Long ago', he said in 1946, 'did I champion a wider union?an Arab-Jewish federal system of four or five States in the Middle East*. This was to be based on the fact that each State would remain completely independent but they would by agreement with each other form a Federation for clearly defined purposes such as economic development, the scientific pursuit of harnessing natural water reserves, the creation of electric power, and so on, and thus, to quote him again, 'a powerful block would emerge in the area, with Jew and Arab combined together to share the glory, and mutually respect and help each other\27 This was not only a Churchill dream of an Arab-Jewish alliance in the form of a federa? tion, but I believe that it can also be regarded as a sort of blueprint for peoples in other areas, as an example of international relationship for which this Chair at Bar Ilan, bearing his name, was created. I hope that the results of the research work in this Chair will bring to light the wealth of ideas which in the course of his stormy but impressive life Sir Winston Churchill has left for us to discover in his published and unpublished papers. %* Since this lecture was delivered, the death of the author has occurred, to the deep regret of the Society and all his friends. Dr. Rabinowicz was in process of supplying the footnotes when he was stricken down by his final illness, and the task of completing them was undertaken by his son, Professor Theodore Rabb. As consideration of press times made the time at Mr. Rabb's disposal very short, he has been unable to check the sources of two or three quotations employed by his father, but, as the late Dr. Rabinowicz was always very careful to be accurate in such matters, it may be taken that the quotations are authentic.?Editor, Transactions. 27 Debate of 1 August 1946 in the House of Commons, reported in Hansard, vol. 426.</page></plain_text>

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