laura robson on british imperial policy and palestine


Laura Robson, ‘Church, State, and the Holy Land: British Protestant Approaches to Imperial Policy in Palestine, 1917–1948’, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 39, 3 (2011).

British Protestants had long held to the notion of a legitimate Protestant interest in the Christian ‘Holy Land’, a concept that helped bolster Britain’s political claim to Palestine in the aftermath of the First World War. Evangelical Protestant visions of the return of the Jews to their biblical homeland encouraged imperial support for Zionism and helped define the unique conditions of British mandate rule. But once the British actually assumed power over Palestine, British Protestants began to find themselves seriously at odds over their moral and political obligations in the new possession their interests had helped to shape. This article explores three broad Protestant attitudes towards the question of Britain’s policy towards Palestine during the mandate period, demonstrating the ways in which Lambeth Palace, Protestant metropolitan mission institutions, and Protestant church workers in Palestine itself developed radically different conceptions of their religious and political responsibilities in what they regarded as their ‘Holy Land’.

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