T.E. Lawrence, the renowned World War I-era Arabist, was also a devoted Zionist, historian Martin Gilbert said. Gilbert, whose upcoming book “Churchill and the Jews” touches on Lawrence’s wartime escapades as a trainer of Arab forces against the Ottomans, said in an interview published Thursday that the famed British army officer favored the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. “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,” Gilbert told The Jerusalem Post. Gilbert further posited that Lawrence, who became known as “Lawrence of Arabia” for his penchant for Arab custom, in fact “had a sort of contempt” for the people he fought alongside.”He felt that only with a Jewish presence and state would the Arabs ever make anything of themselves. And by a Jewish state he meant a Jewish state from the Mediterranean shore to the River Jordan,” Gilbert said.
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