‘The Jews are a religion, not a nation or a race’

  • Robin Renwick


While the abrupt termination of Lend-Lease and difficulties over the exchange of atomic information imposed some strain on the relationship, by far the most serious dispute between the Attlee government and the Truman administration was over Palestine. To the Foreign Office, Britain’s interests in the Middle East dictated support for the Arabs. This was deemed necessary to secure vital oil supplies as well as to maintain the position of Britain as, still, the predominant external power in the region. The British Chiefs of Staff believed that, in the event of war, the Arabs would drive the Jews into the sea. In their view, to support Zionist ambitions would achieve nothing for Britain and put vital Western interests at stake. To some extent these views were shared by the State Department. But they were not shared by President Truman. He was sympathetic to Zionist aspirations partly, though not solely, because of his preoccupation with domestic politics and concern to win the Jewish vote.


Middle East Labour Party Domestic Politics Congressional Election Jewish Immigration 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Hugh Dalton, High Tide and After (Frederick Muller, 1962) p. 147; Acheson, Present at the Creation p. 169; Harris, Attlee p. 391.Google Scholar

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© Sir Robin Renwick 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin Renwick

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