|Churchill (right) and Samuel |
on Mt Scopus. Also pictured
with chief rabbis
|Fateful meeting. From the left, Churchill, |
Lawrence and Abdullah. Lawrence was
also a strong supporter of the Zionist
enterprise, according to historian
Sir Martin Gilbert
He also met with the Muslim, Christian and Jewish religious leadership of Jerusalem. In an incredible film clip, Churchill takes leave of the leading rabbis of the time, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, Chief Rabbi of the Ashkenazic community; Rabbi Joseph Chaim Zonnenfeld, Chief Rabbi of the ultra-Orthodox Eidah Charedis community; and Rabbi Jacob Meir, chief Rabbi of the Sephardi community.
To the left of the door is Emir Abdullah. Note the faint recognition Rabbi Kook gave him and Abdullah's lengthy gaze at the departing rabbi. What does it signify? We will probably never know.
In January 1925, Rabbi Zonnenfeld traveled to Amman to meet with Abdullah, his father King Hussein of the Hijaz and brother King Faisal of Iraq.
Churchill also met with a former mayor of Jerusalem and Arab leader, Musa Kazim el Husseini. Husseini was related to the Jew-hating Mufti Haj Amil el-Husseini and father of the notorious Arab militia fighter, Abdul Khadar el-Husseini. The Husseinis' hatred of Jews was only matched by their hatred for King Abdullah, and Husseini clan members were involved in Abdullah's assassination on the Temple Mount in 1951.
Musa Kazim el Husseini petitioned Churchill to stop the immigration of Jews into Palestine and claimed that life for the Arabs was better under the Ottomans. Churchill responded with his famous rhetorical brilliance, defending the Balfour Declaration and the reestablishment of the Jewish homeland.
|Churchill greets Husseini.|
Moreover, it is manifestly right that the Jews, who are scattered all over the world, should have a national centre and a National Home where some of them may be reunited. And where else could that be but in this land of Palestine, with which for more than 3,000 years they have been intimately and profoundly associated? We think it will be good for the world, good for the Jews and good for the British Empire. But we also think it will be good for the Arabs who dwell in Palestine, and we intend that it shall be good for them, and that they shall not be sufferers or supplanted in the country in which they dwell or denied their share in all that makes for its progress and prosperity. And here I would draw your attention to the second part of the Balfour Declaration, which solemnly and explicitly promises to the inhabitants of Palestine the fullest protection of their civil and political rights. I was sorry to hear in the paper which you have just read that you do not regard that promise as of value....
If a National Home for the Jews is to be established in Palestine, as we hope to see it established, it can only be by a process which at every stage wins its way on its merits and carries with it increasing benefits and prosperity and happiness to the people of the country as a whole. And why should this not be so? Why should this not be possible? You can see with your own eyes in many parts of this country the work which has already been done by Jewish colonies; how sandy wastes have been reclaimed and thriving farms and orangeries planted in their stead....