The British Labour Party and Palestine, 1917-1948

Until just after its victory at the 1945 general election, the British Labour Party was regarded as being supportive of Zionist ambitions for a national home for Jews in Palestine, and many Party conferences from 1921 onwards passed resolutions in favour of such a home. Not that all leading Labour politicians were sympathetic to Zionism, and there were pro-Zionist Conservatives and Liberals, but prior to 1945-6 the Labour Party more than any other political party in Britain favoured a Jewish national home in the Land of Israel and was sympathetic to the aspirations of halutzim (‘pioneers’) in villages and towns there. The Labour Party was a coalition of trade unionists, many of whose leaders had little interest in left-wing ideology, with moderate socialists and social democrats. The Yishuv (the Jewish population of Palestine) was based primarily on a socialist/social-democratic system, and only in the kibbutzim (collective settlements) was true socialism

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