Passfield, Lord (Sidney Webb)

   British socialist politician and writer. Webb was an early member of the Fabian Society, which rejected revolutionary Marxism in favour of what he called ‘the inevitability of gradualness’. As colonial secretary in the second Labour government, he was responsible for Palestine. When murder-ous anti-Jewish riots took place there in 1929, Passfield sent Sir John Hope Simpson out to investigate, and received from him a report concluding that there was little land available for Jewish settlement. On this basis Passfield issued a White Paper in October 1930, which seemed to the Zionists to be a watering-down of British pledges to them. The government was taken aback by the violence of the protests. After lengthy Anglo-Zionist talks the prime minister, Ramsay MACDONALD, wrote a public letter to WEIZMANN ‘explaining’ the White Paper in terms more favourable to the Zionists.
   Passfield’s wife, Beatrice (Potter), who was a close partner in nearly all his activities, shared his anti-Zionism. In her diary she called Zionism ‘hypocritical nonsense’.

Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. . 2012.

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