8 February 1920
On 8 February 1920, writing in the Illustrated Sunday Herald, Secretary of State for War Winston Churchill alleged that Jews could neatly be divided into ‘good and bad Jews.’ On the one hand, the ‘honourable’ Zionist and also ‘national Jews,’ who were loyal to their home countries, and on the other, the far less worthy ‘communist’ or ‘international Jews,’ who were central to a ‘sinister confederacy’ and ‘world-wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilisation.’
‘With the notable exception of Lenin,’ he wrote, ‘the majority of the leading (Bolshevik) figures are Jews. Moreover, the principal inspiration and driving power comes from the Jewish leaders.’ He listed a number of prominent Jewish Bolsheviks, who’s influence supposedly eclipsed those of the ‘pure Russians’. As for ‘the Soviet insututions,’ he continued, ‘the predominance of Jews is even more astonishing. And the prominent, if not indeed the principal, part in the system of terrorism applied by the Extraordinary Commissions for Combating Counter-Revolution has been taken by Jews, and in some notable cases by Jewesses.’1 He also singled out the ‘evil prominence’ of Jews during the Bela Kun ‘period of (communist) terror’ in Hungary and what he termed ‘the same phenomenon’ in Bavaria (where the Nazi party gained its first adherents), and in words which would have delighted Hitler’s propaganda guru, Joseph Goebbels, he denounced the ‘madness’ which had ‘been allowed to prey upon the temporary prostration of the German people.’2
The only criticism in the British press of this Judeo-Bolshevik conspiracy theory came from the Jewish Chronicle. It reported that ‘the Secretary of War charges Jews with originating the gospel of Antichrist and with engineering a “worldwide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilisation.”’ The newspaper condemned Churchill’s attempt to characterise Jews as somehow naturally pro-Bolshevik, at a time when hundreds of Jews were being murdered on the slightest suspicion of communist sympathies in the Ukraine, as ‘the most reckless and scandalous campaign in which even the most discredited politicians have ever engaged.’3
- Winston Churchill ‘Bolshevism versus Zionism; a struggle for the soul of the Jewish people’ in the Illustrated Sunday Herald, 8 February 1920.
- Sharman Kadish, Bolsheviks and British Jews: The Anglo-Jewish community, Britain and the Russian Revolution, University of London, Frank Cass and Co Ltd., London 1992 p137, Amy Iggulden, ‘The Churchill you didn’t know,’ The Guardian 28 November 2002, accessed online at https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2002/nov/28/features11.g21 see also https://rosaluxemburgblog.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/churchill-on-rosa-luxemburg-2/ and https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Winston_Churchill
- Cited in Michael J. Cohen, Britain’s Moment in Palestine: Retrospect and Perspectives, 1917-48, Routledge, London 2014, p28.
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