Churchill article well-known, not representative of his views, some historians say

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LONDON -- An article from 1937 under the name of Winston Churchill that blamed Jews for their own persecution has ruffled a long-held view among Britons of their wartime leader's pro-Jewish sentiments.

Some experts on the history of British Jews dismissed the article, saying its existence has been well-known and it had never been published because Churchill rejected the views of the ghost-writer who composed it...Accounts of the article were reported Sunday in several British newspapers, triggering a modest debate over the extent to which it broke new ground in explaining Churchill's feelings about Jews...

Geoffrey Alderman, a British historian who is a columnist for The Jewish Chronicle in London, said in an interview Sunday that "we have known about this for some time" because the article appears in a collection of Churchill's writings compiled by Martin Gilbert, Churchill's official biographer, that was published in the 1980s.

Alderman added: "It does not challenge" the prevailing view of Churchill as supportive of the Jews. "I think it's a flash in the pan."

But [historian Richard] Toye said Churchill had sought to publish the article in 1937 in Britain and the United States. Churchill "was apparently happy to put his name to this article in 1937" and was "happy to endorse sentiments contained in articles that were written for him," Toye said.

Gilbert said Churchill had refused to permit the article to be published. He identified the ghost-writer as Adam Marshall Diston, a member of Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists. It was not clear why Churchill commissioned him to write an article in his name. Both Toye and Gilbert are planning to publish new books about Churchill in the next few weeks or months.

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