Saturday, March 10, 2007

Churchill: Jews 'partly responsible' for their troubles (a misleading headline)

Much Hoopla about a Winston Churchill article recently discovered but never published, entitled "How The Jews Can Combat Persecution" written in 1937, Winston Churchill outlined his views of a new wave of anti-Semitisim sweeping across Europe and the United States before WWII, in the mid 1930's:

"It would be easy to ascribe it to the wickedness of the persecutors, but that does not fit all the facts," the article read.

"It exists even in lands, like Great Britain and the United States, where Jew and Gentile are equal in the eyes of the law and where large numbers of Jews have found not only asylum, but opportunity. These facts must be faced in any analysis of anti-Semitism. They should be pondered especially by the Jews themselves. For it may be that, unwittingly, they are inviting persecution -- that they have been partly responsible for the antagonism from which they suffer." The article adds: "The central fact which dominates the relations of Jew and non-Jew is that the Jew is 'different'. He looks different. He thinks differently. He has a different tradition and background. He refuses to be absorbed."

Elsewhere, Churchill praised Jews as "sober, industrious, law-abiding" and urged Britons to stand up for the Jewish race against persecution. "There is no virtue in a tame acquiescence in evil. To protest against cruelty and wrong, and to strive to end them, is the mark of a man," he wrote.

I fail to see why the hoopla surrounding this unpublished article. It was written by a man whose observations were those of a life-long friend of the Jews not an antagonist. Winston Churchill was the foremost British Zionist, one of the few who openly supported the creation of the State of Israel, despite the ridicule of many of England's upper crust snobs. "There goes Winnie with his Jewish friends" was uttered more the once. This article was written without the hindsight of the Holocaust that would occur a few years later. I also tend to agree with some of the sentiment of the article in that he expresses that Jews should make a conscious effort to assimilate culturally in their adopted lands. That is not a particularly controversial sentiment though it may have been expressed in a more politically correct manner by todays standards. Churchill was not known for being politically correct even in his own time.

UPDATE: As it turns out, the British leader did not write the alleged article, nor did he publish it. Churchill Center responds

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