1st Edition

Britain's Naval and Political Reaction to the Illegal Immigration of Jews to Palestine, 1945-1949

By Freddy Liebreich Copyright 2005
    410 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    412 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides an important shift in the analysis of Britain's policy towards the illegal postwar Jewish immigration into Palestine. It charts the development of Britain's response to Zionist immigration, from the initial sympathy, as embodied in the Balfour Declaration, through attempts at blockade, refoulement and finally disengagement.
    The book exposes differences in policy pursued by the great departments of state like the Foreign, Colonial and War Offices and their legal advisors, and those implemented by the Admiralty. The book argues that the eventual failure of Britain's immigration policy was inevitable in view of the hostility shown by many European nations, and America, towards Britain's ambition to retain her position in the Middle East.

    List of figures, Foreword, Preface, Acknowledgements, List of abbreviations and acronyms, 1. Introduction, 2. The determinants of British policy towards Jewish immigration into Palestine, from the Balfour Declaration via the Royal Commissions to the 1939 White Book and to the final abandonment of the ‘national home’ commitment, 3. The British preoccupation with the perceived danger of communist infiltration and subversion, 4. Britain’s fight against the sources of illegal immigration beyond the borders of Palestine and her confrontation with the financial, logistic and moral supporters in Europe and North America, 5. The legal issues involved, 6. Detention in Palestine—the deportation of illegal Jewish immigrants to Cyprus and their detention/ imprisonment: the legal base constructed by Britain, 7. The rules of engagement adopted by the adversaries, 8. The British forces engaged in anti-immigration patrols and the confronting Jewish adversaries, 9. The physical confrontation: interception and diversion policies in theory and practice, 10. Refoulement and abandonment of the boarding policy, 11. Conclusion: conduct and effects of the British policy and the final failure of the blockade, Appendix 1: List of RN and PP vessels engaged in the ‘Palestine Patrol’, Appendix 2: List of deportation and prison ships, Appendix 3: Details of Jewish illegal ships which landed immigrants on the Palestinian coast or were intercepted by British Armed Forces or Palestine Police, Appendix 4: Crew members of HM ships interviewed by the author, Appendix 5: Crew members of IJI ships interviewed by the author, Appendix 6: Biographical glossary, Notes, Bibliography, Index


    Freddy Libreich was born in Vienna in 1927, who went to Palestine illegally in 1939. He is an avid historian and expert on the British navy's attempts to stop illegal jewish immigrants from reaching Palestine up to 1948. He left school at 14 to become a mechanic, and engineer; and started his studies again on retirement at 62. He has completed his Masters, and PhD at Kings College London.