Freya Stark in America: Orientalism, antisemitism and political propaganda

Efraim Karsh, Rory Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Between November 1943 and May 1944, Freya Stark, the noted writer, Arabian adventurer and wartime propagandist, undertook a publicity tour of the United States on behalf of the British Ministry of Information. The objective of her trip was to defend Britain's wartime Palestine policy, especially the 1939 White Paper and its severe restriction on Jewish immigration into Palestine. Since its implementation, the White Paper had been subject to criticism and attack from the entire Jewish world, not only the Zionist movement. Indeed, Stark's trip was initiated, organized and sponsored by Whitehall as an attempt to counter anti-White Paper agitation in the United States which, by this time, was being blamed for strains on the Anglo-American alliance. Stark's dedication to her task of spreading pro-White Paper propaganda among the general public, the media and political élite highlights her fiercely anti-Zionist position as well as her negative attitude to Jews and Judaism in general. But her trip also clearly shows the determination of the British foreign policy élite to make the fight against Zionism a wartime priority, in stark contrast to its indifference and insensitivity towards the annihilation of Europe's Jewish populations that was occurring at the same time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-332+455
JournalJournal of Contemporary History
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

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