16 DECEMBER

CHURCHILL ON EGYPT – ‘WE WILL SET THE JEWS ON THEM’

Prime Minister Winston Churchill in Paris, 1951.
Public domain via L. Ramishvili, Flickr.

[ 16 December 1951 ]

On 16 December 1951, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, dining at the British ambassador’s residence in Paris, was enraged by a simple question from Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden. What to do about the unwillingness of the Egyptian government to cooperate with British counter-insurgency operations ? The Egyptians were hesitating because Britain’s counter-insurgency campaign had killed 117 civilians in the previous six weeks. In an outburst, which was almost as anti-Semitic as it was anti-Arab, Churchill rose from his chair with clenched fists. ‘Tell them if we have any more of their cheek we will set the Jews on them and drive them into the gutter, from which they should never have emerged.’1

FOOTNOTE

  1. Cited in James Barr, Lords of the Desert: Britain’s Struggle with America to Dominate the Middle East, Simon and Schuster, London 2018 p. 143.

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