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Great Men

15 May 2015

On April 14, Vision TV aired “A Magnificent Obsession”. The title suggested Winston Churchill’s admiration for, and helpfulness to, the Jewish people. Even from a pro-capitalist point of view, it was a very unbalanced program, all praise and no criticism. Many who had known the so-called great man raved about him. The main interviewees were Sir Martin Gilbert, who has authored books on Churchill and clearly suffers a ‘he can do no wrong’ fixation, and Harvard law professor, Alan Hershowitz. The latter said, “There should be a statue of Sir Winston right in the heart of Tel Aviv.”

Various events in Jewish history were mentioned including Churchill’s reaction to them. He opposed the British Aliens Act of 1905, for example. This was in response to the fear of British businessmen that Jews, fleeing from the pogroms of eastern Europe, would open businesses that would rival theirs. Curiously, no mention was made of Churchill’s suppression of the anti-Semitic riots in South Wales in 1910. As commendable as Churchill’s actions here may have been to many, it should be borne in mind that he represented a riding in Manchester with a large Jewish population. In 1910, as Interior Minister, it was his job to maintain order.

As expected, mention was made of the Balfour Declaration in which Churchill persuaded Prime Minister Balfour, in 1917, to be supportive of efforts to create a Jewish home in Palestine, This was nothing but a bribe to persuade Jewish chemist and factory owner, Chaim Weissman, to produce cordite for the British war effort. In keeping with the general trend of the program, no mention was made of Churchill’s comment that, “Bolshevism was a Jewish invention.” In 1922, when Colonial Secretary, Churchill gave up two thirds of the territory promised to the Jews under the Balfour Declaration to the Arab King Feisal to found the Palestinian state of Jordan. This was decided during a thirty minute lunch in which Feisal agreed if he got all the land east of the Jordan river, the Jews could keep the land west of it.

As wartime Prime Minister, he made no attempt to repeal the British Government’s White Paper that restricted Jewish immigration to Palestine, thereby condemning millions of Jews to die in the Nazi death camps. The defence of his non-action was that he could not go against an act of parliament - as if governments had never repealed acts that were against the interests of the capitalist class. Nor did this great lover of humanity order the Royal Air Force to bomb the crematoria in the death camps.

Though during the war Churchill spoke of his support for the Jewish state, he was quick to desert the Zionist cause in 1944 when his friend, Lord Moyne, British Commissioner for the Middle East, was assassinated by Zionist extremists. If anyone has illusions about the ‘great man’s’ love of humanity, one need only recall that it was Churchill, as Naval Minister in 1915, who ordered 30,000 young men to die a senseless death in Gallipoli. This was a reckless venture that Lord Kitchener, the War Minister, and Jack Fisher, head of the navy, both said had no chance of success.

The number one priority in Churchill’s life was his career as he acknowledged in his early days. This amounted to serving the upper crust of society into which he was born, i.e. serving himself and his class. Many may rave about how he stood up to the Jews’ worst enemy in WWII. Many do not realise how he praised Hitler in parliamentary debates before the war, going so far as to say, “If Britain ever loses her rightful place as the nation among nations, God send us a man like Hitler to restore us to our rightful place.”

No matter how much Churchill growled during WWII (while there was a plan to fly him to the US in case of surrender), it doesn’t obscure the fact that it was a choice between rival capitalist powers. Socialists quite correctly held that it was no choice at all because no type of capitalist administration is worth fighting for. The most pathetic comment in the whole program was Dershowitz’s “It would be great to have a leader like Churchill today.”

Socialism does not require leaders as this implies followers, but would rather have decisions made in a collegial manner with input from all through elected councils and other methods. Leaders have led the working class into fighting and dying in wars to allow one capitalist group or another to have unfettered control of resources and markets for hundreds of years, and have not advanced the cause of the working class one iota. Better we get rid of such leaders and work for a society that is communally administered and everyone is great.

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