Winston Churchill: Greatest Briton Ever? Nov 12, 2015 11:23:56 GMT
Post by Admin on Nov 12, 2015 11:23:56 GMT
“One of the most amazing things about Winston Churchill was his ability to drink – I mean to drink enough alcohol to fell an ox and to continue to function,” – so began visiting London Mayor Boris Johnson's talk Tuesday evening, speaking on the occasion of the inaugural Winston Churchill lecture in Jerusalem.
Johnson, author of The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History, went on to tell the packed audience at Mishkenot Shaananim that while Britain’s greatest wartime leader “started the day with a weak whisky and water – which he used as a kind of mouthwash,” the suggestion that the “famous triangular kink in the border between Jordan and Saudi Arabia –known as Winston’s hiccup,” was the result of a “post-prandial slip of the ruler,” when he was Colonial Secretary - was, promised Johnson to much laughter, nothing but myth.
“What is certainly not a myth is that Churchill drew that map…and that he was one of the fathers of the modern Middle East,” said Johnson. “He even coined the term Middle East, or helped to popularize it.” “He drew the boundaries of Syria, he put the three vilayets of Baghdad and Mosul and Basra together to create modern Iraq…He put the Hashemites on the throne of Jordan, where they still are, and he was absolutely indispensable to the foundation of modern Israel.” Johnson talked of how Churchill came to Israel in 1922 as Colonial Secretary, and spent time listening to the case of both the Jewish community and the Palestinian Arabs. This, quipped Johnson, “….because it was his job to give effect to that masterpiece of Foreign Office Janus facing doublespeak and equivocation, the Balfour Declaration.
“If Balfour had been responsible for His Majesty’s government’s policy on cake, he would have been pro-having it and pro-eating it,” added the mayor, with a cheeky smile, to great applause. Churchill’s belief that the area to the west of the Jordan was the place where a homeland could be created for the Jewish people was a reflection, stressed Johnson, of Churchill’s “deepest personal sympathies.” All his life, said Johnson, Churchill “followed his father in being pro-Jewish and if he was not Zionist….he was ‘wedded to Zionism,’’
Moreover, continued Johnson, Churchill attested on many occasions that admired the Jewish people – probably, noted Johnson, “for qualities that he evidently shared himself: energy, self-reliance, hard work, family life.” "If we look at the history of modern Israel there is no doubt that the comparison can be extended – and that there is something Churchillian about the country he helped to create. There is the audacity, the bravery, the willingness to take risks with feats of outrageous derring-do."