Martin Gilbert: Arabs' hero 'should be Lawrence of Judea'





T E Lawrence could in future be known as "Lawrence of Judea" instead of "Lawrence of Arabia" after a distinguished British historian claimed that he privately supported the idea of a Jewish state in the Holy Land.

While feted as an Arabist who supported independence of Arab states, Lawrence in fact regarded Arabs with a "sort of contempt", said Sir Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Churchill.

Sir Martin said Lawrence believed fully in the Zionist project of creating a Jewish state in the Holy Land.

"He believed that the only hope for the Arabs of Palestine and the rest of the region was Jewish statehood — that if the Jews had a state here, they would provide the modernity, the 'leaven,' as he put it, with which to enable the Arabs to move into the 20th century."

In a Jerusalem Post, interview, Sir Martin did not cite sources for this unorthodox view of Lawrence, who created a swash-buckling image during the First World War as a supporter of all things Arab.


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