This First World War recruiting poster was a part of the British government’s effort to convince Jews around the world that it was in their interest to join the Allied cause. The Library of Congress says that the poster was in use from the beginning of the war, but by 1917 many in the British government had become convinced that they needed more from the Jews than service at the front. To win the war, they were going to need the assistance of the vast resources and reach of the international Jewish conspiracy.

No, seriously. This is an aspect of the star-crossed British affair with Zionism that doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves. Jonathan Schneer’s book on the Balfour Declaration was a worthy addition to the literature, but it got the most attention for the time it spent on this issue. From his article in Foreign Policy magazine:

“After three and a half terrible years of war, Britain’s allies were shaky: French armies had mutinied, Italian armies had been catastrophically defeated, and the Russian Army stood upon the brink of total collapse. The United States had joined the conflict the previous June, but U.S. soldiers had not yet arrived in Europe in numbers sufficient to make much difference. Meanwhile, Germany was preparing to launch another great offensive on the Western Front…

The British… sought new allies. In particular, they hoped to successfully attract to their side the one great power, as they mistakenly referred to it, that had remained on the sidelines: the forces of what they called “international Jewry.”

If you’re a reasonable person and didn’t get to this website from a David Icke blog, you might be wondering what the mighty British Empire of the early 20th century could possibly need from the scattered and harassed Jewish diaspora. I’ll let Mark Sykes, prominent British diplomat during this time, explain:

“To my mind, the Zionists are now the key to the situation – the problem is how are they to be satisfied? – with ‘Great Jewry’ against us, there is no possible chance of getting the thing through – it means optimism in Berlin, dumps in London, unease in Paris, resistance to the last ditch in Constantinople, dissension in Cairo, Arabs all squabbling among themselves. As Shakespeare says, ‘Untune that string and mark what discord follows.”

Many people tend to have the understanding that while this thing might have been common in eastern Europe, Russia, and Germany, in the sophisticated western countries it was limited to a few kooks and hardly taken seriously. Henry Ford’s The International Jew made the rounds, but who doesn’t have a crazy uncle or two? Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. In Britain during the First World War, views which would have been at home in Ford’s Dearborn Independent – or in Mein Kampf, for that matter – were not only held by men like Winston Churchill, Arthur Balfour, David Lloyd George, and the aforementioned Sykes, but also shaped the policies these men endorsed.

The most important British Zionist, Chaim Weizmann, encouraged them in their belief that the Jews were a powerful, united force, and that the Zionists could speak for them. It was nonsense, of course, but Weizmann had been working Balfour for years. Back in 1906, he assured Balfour that he spoke for millions of Jews around the world, and the idea had been sloshing around in Lord Balfour’s mind for 11 years by 1917. Balfour believed that a gesture to please the Zionists would lead the cabal of international Jews to pull the strings of Russia and the United States to keep the pressure on against Germany. I hate to let Sykes do all the talking, but he has a flair for the dramatic that gentlemen like Balfour lack:

“I am afraid this sounds rather odd and fantastic, but when we bump into a thing like Zionism, which is atmospheric, international, cosmopolitan, subconscious, and unwritten, nay, often unspoken; it is not possible to work and think on ordinary lines.”

The circuitous route through this anti-Semitic canard that led British leaders to favor Zionism is probably best expressed by the man himself, Winston Churchill, in his paper “Zionism versus Bolshevism“, written a few years after the war:

“In violent opposition to all this sphere of Jewish effort rise the schemes of the International Jews. The adherents of this sinister confederacy are mostly men reared up among the unhappy populations of countries where Jews are persecuted on account of their race… this world-wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilisation and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality, has been steadily growing. It played, as a modern writer, Mrs. Webster…”

I’ll stop there, with Mrs. Webster. The Right Honorable Sir Winston Churchill is referring to Mrs. Nesta Helen Webster, author of several works claiming that the Illuminati had been responsible for the French Revolution, the 1848 revolutions, the First World War, and the Russian Revolution, but was using the international Jewish cabal merely as a front to disguise its plan to impose communism on the world.  By the time Churchill cited her in his paper, she had also written a series of articles for, wait for it… The Jewish Peril, a commentary of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. When you get right down to it, you almost wonder how Churchill and Hitler ended up having such a kerfuffle two decades later.

Speaking of the Nazis, they flirted with Zionism as well, in case this post isn’t ridiculous enough for you yet. But we’ll leave that for next time. (I’ll try to avoid Rothschild lizard aliens and Knights Templar.)