The Finchley Factor

Geoffrey Wheatcroft

  • Margaret Thatcher and the Middle East by Azriel Bermant
    Cambridge, 274 pp, £22.99, September 2017, ISBN 978 1 316 60630 8

A short book could be written about British prime ministers and Zionism. It might begin in 1840, when Lord Palmerston, foreign secretary and prime minister-to-be, received a letter from his stepson-in-law Lord Ashley, an MP better known later as Lord Shaftesbury, the Tory philanthropist commemorated by the statue of Eros at Piccadilly Circus. Palmerston ‘had been chosen by God’, Ashley said, ‘to be an instrument to do good to his chosen people’. The time was ripe ‘for the return of the Jews to their inheritance in the Land of Promise’, and England might help ‘plant the Jewish people in the land of their fathers’.

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