Chamberlain, Joseph°

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CHAMBERLAIN, JOSEPH ° (1836–1914), British statesman. Chamberlain, as secretary of state for the colonies, twice negotiated with Theodor *Herzl on territories for Jewish settlement. He first met Herzl on October 22, 1902, to consider the latter's proposal that a Jewish autonomous settlement be established in *El-Arish on the Sinai Peninsula. Chamberlain agreed, but the project was later abandoned because of Egypt's refusal to allow Nile River water to be used for irrigation necessary to the settlement. Chamberlain, after visiting Africa during 1902–03, received Herzl again and suggested a self-governing Jewish settlement in the uninhabited Uasin Gishu plateau of East Africa (Uganda, now Kenya). The proposal became the basis of the much-debated *Uganda Scheme (1903–04). Chamberlain's negotiations marked the first official recognition of the president of the Zionist Organization as the representative of the Jewish people. His son, neville chamberlain (1869–1940), was prime minister when the British government issued the anti-Zionist White Paper (May 17, 1939) which severely limited Jewish immigration and land acquisition in Palestine, and envisaged an independent Palestine with an Arab majority, while at the same time increasing Jewish refugee immigration to Britain.


T. Herzl, Complete Diaries, 5 (1960), index; O. Rabinowicz, in: Herzl Yearbook, 3 (1960), 37–47; J. Amery, Life of Joseph Chamberlain, 4 (1951), ch. 87; R.G. Weisbord, African Zion (1968). add. bibliography: R.V. Kubicek, The Administration of Imperialism: Joseph Chamberlain at the Colonial Office (1969); D. Judd, Radical Joe: A Life of Joseph Chamberlain (1993); odnb online; D. Stewart, Theodor Herzl: Artist and Politician (1974), 303–16.

[Josef Fraenkel]