The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Archive/File: holocaust/england/churchill churchill.002
Last-Modified: 1994/02/20

   "Eden would not co-operate with Churchill on the anti-Nazi group
   known as Focus: Leo Amery was Churchill's most influential
   supporter in it; other MP members included General Spears, Brendan
   Bracken, Harold Macmilland and Harold Nicolson. Focus had been
   formed in 1936 with money from wealthy and influential British and
   American Jews as a counter-move to Hitler's persecution of German
   Jews. Churchill, who was quickly recruited, addressed mass rallies
   at the Albert Hall, spoke at lunches for important people and
   became its driving force. A manifesto was issued, with great
   publicity, and Focus developed into an important political pressure
   group opposing the Government's appeasement and calling for
   immediate rearmament, for which Churchill argued vehemently. Violet
   Bonham Carter, Sinclair, the Liberal leader, and the trade
   unionists Citrine and Bevin helped to give the group credibility.

   Once involved in Focus, Churchill became 100 per cent pro-Zionist.
   He testified to the Peel Commission on Palestine that all Palestine
   should be handed over to the Jews regardless of Arab interests,
   which was in sharp contrast with his views on Palestine when he had
   been Colonial Secretary in 1922. Then he had been parsimonious
   about the number of Jews to be admitted, and said that only 'good
   citizens' amongst the Jews should be allowed in: 'We cannot have a
   country inundated by bolshevik riff-raff who would seek to subvert
   institutions in Palestine as they have done in the land from which
   they came.' In office he had twice suspended Jewish immigration and
   favoured abandoning Britain's Palestine mandate from the League of
   Nations under which Britain garrisoned and governed Palestine in
   the 1920s and 30s.<10>

   The Peel Commission in 1937 recommended limitations on Jewish
   immigration; its report coincided with an escalation of Hitler's
   persecution of Jews inside Germany, which was creating an urgent
   demand for a vast increase in the number of Jews allowed to enter
   Palestine. Yet the Chamberlain Government imposed quotas on German
   Jewish immigration both to Palestine and to Britain. As the U.S.A.
   also restricted Jewish immigration, great numbers of fugitives from
   Nazi tyranny had nowhere to go, and after an abortive London
   Conference of Jews and Arabs, a White Paper in 1939 stated that no
   further Jewish immigration into Palestine should be allowed against
   Arab wishes. It was a British rejection of the Balfour Declaration
   of 1917 establishing Palestine as a national home for Jewish
   people, at a moment when European Jewry faced disaster. The
   Commons divided on non-party lines, with Churchill opposing the
   White Paper strongly; the Government majority sank to 89 against
   its normal 240.<11>" (Lamb, 7-8)
   <10> Cohen, Churchill and the Jews, pages 101, 147
   <11> Cmnd 6019, HMSO

                             Work Cited

   Lamb, Richard.  Churchill As War Leader.  New York: Carroll & Graf
   Publishers, Inc., 1991.

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