Churchill and the Jews by Martin Gilbert
Churchil's Promised Land by Michael Makovsky
In the upscale Jerusalem neighborhood known as the German Colony, several small side streets are named for Gentile supporters of Zionism and the Jewish people. Apart from the French author Emile Zola, the Czech president Tomas Masaryk, and the South African prime minister Jan Smuts, the names they bear are those of Englishmen. There is the Tory prime minister David Lloyd George, a chief architect of the Balfour Declaration; the early 20th-century British Labor-party leader Josiah Wedgewood; Colonel John Henry Patterson, commander of the Jewish Legion that fought in World War I; the pro-Zionist British general Wyndham Deedes, and so on. Missing from the list, though he more than once proudly proclaimed that “I am a Zionist,” and called Jews “the most formidable and remarkable race which has ever appeared in the world,” is Winston Churchill.
To the best of my knowledge, indeed, there is no street, road, place, or square named for Churchill anywhere in Israel. While this reflects no animus toward him in Israeli historical consciousness, it indicates no special place of honor, either. Why this should be so, when no other ranking 20th-century politician was more outspoken in his support of Jewish causes, is an interesting question. Two new books, Martin Gilbert’s Churchill and the Jews: A Lifelong Friendship, and David Makovsky’s Churchill’s Promised Land: Zionism and Statecraft, help provide an answer.
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