OVERRIDE

Churchill and the Jews

A Lifelong Friendship

Martin Gilbert

Holt Paperbacks

Winston Churchill was a young man in 1894 when Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French army, was convicted of treason and sent to Devil’s Island. Despite the prevailing anti-Semitism in England as well as on the Continent, Churchill’s position was clear: he supported Dreyfus, and condemned the prejudices that had led to his conviction.

Churchill’s commitment to Jewish rights, to Zionism—and ultimately to the State of Israel—never wavered. In 1922, he established on the bedrock of international law the right of Jews to emigrate to Palestine. Nearly 40 years later, during his meeting with David Ben-Gurion in 1960, Churchill presented the Israeli prime minister with an article he had written about Moses, praising the father of the Jewish people.

Drawing on a wide range of archives and private papers, speeches, newspaper coverage, and wartime correspondence, Churchill’s official biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert, explores the origins, implications, and results of Churchill’s determined commitment to Jewish rights, opening a window on an underappreciated and heroic aspect of the politician’s life and career.

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Chapter One 

EARLY YEARS: ‘THIS MONSTROUS CONSPIRACY’

Churchill had no Jewish ancestry; his claim to an exotic origin came from a possible American Indian ancestor. But from his early years the Jews held a fascination for him. As a schoolboy at Harrow, the stories of the Old Testament were an integral part of his education and imagination. One of his earliest surviving essays was ‘Palestine in the time of John the Baptist’. Writing about the Pharisees, Churchill asked his reader – in this case his teacher – not to be too censorious about
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REVIEWS

Praise for Churchill and the Jews

“Gilbert’s deep, lifelong scholarship and knowledge of his subject lend his book both authority and accessibility.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A must-read for those interested in Churchill and in Jewish history.”—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Martin Gilbert

  • Sir Martin Gilbert was knighted in 1995 “for services to British history and international relations.” The author of an eight-volume biography of Winston Churchill, among his other books are Churchill: A Life, The First World War, The Second World War, and most recently The Somme. He lives in London, England.

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    Churchill and the Jews

    A Lifelong Friendship

    Martin Gilbert

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