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Weeks before he became prime minister in 1940, Winston Churchill stopped publication of an article he had written in which he suggested that the Jews were partially responsible for "the antagonism from which they suffer," according to a paper published by a Cambridge University researcher.
The Churchill article, titled "How The Jews Can Combat Persecution," was written in 1937. It argued that "the wickedness of the persecutors" was not the sole reason for the ill-treatment of Jews over the ages.
While Churchill described Jews as "sober, industrious and law-abiding," and praised their willingness to fight and, if necessary, die for the country they lived in, he added: "Yet there are times when one feels instinctively that all this is only another manifestation of the difference, the separateness of the Jew."
Further, Churchill criticized the Jewish refugee's willingness to work for low wages as "bad citizenship," and suggested that it created anti-Semitism because it forced English workers out of jobs.
"While most people would accept that Churchill was no anti-Semite, this sheds fascinating new light on his views about Jews, which were very inconsistent," said Dr. Richard Toye, the historian responsible for discovering the document.
The article was originally intended for publication in 1937, but was only accepted by the Sunday Dispatch three years later. However, by 1940 Churchill had backtracked on his desire to publish the article and refused to allow it to go to print.
"At the time publication was attempted, he was trying to keep his head down, in political terms, and avoid controversy," Toye said. "It is quite possible that he had second thoughts about what he had written three years earlier."
"It was perverse to argue that low-paid Jewish workers were the victims of their Jewish bosses and, at the same time, that they were acting unfairly by taking employment from 'English people.'"
Debate over Dr. Toye's findings have been quick to follow the publication of his paper, with at least one expert questioning the authenticity of the Churchill article.
According to a report by The Observer, Sir Martin Gilbert, an eminent historian and Churchill biographer, said the article was not written by Churchill at all, but rather his ghost writer, Adam Marshall Diston. He said Churchill's instructions for the article were different in both tone and content from what Diston eventually wrote, adding that Diston was a supporter of Oswald Mosley, the notorious fascist and anti-Semite.