Rothschild, James Armand de

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ROTHSCHILD, JAMES ARMAND DE (1878–1957), British politician, Zionist and philanthropist. Born in Paris, the son of Baron Edmond de *Rothschild, he was taken to England at an early age and became a British subject. Rothschild served with distinction in France during World War i and was then transferred with the rank of major to General *Allenby's staff in the Middle East. He was sent to Palestine to recruit volunteers for the Palestinian battalion of the *Jewish Legion (the Royal Fusiliers). When the *Zionist Commission arrived in Palestine (1918), he was seconded to it as liaison officer, and from that time on his interest in Palestine never flagged. In 1924 he was appointed president for life of the newly-founded Palestine Jewish Colonization Association (*pica), which was largely financed by his father. He also took an active interest in other enterprises in Palestine, including the Palestine Electric Corporation, the Hebrew University, and excavations at *Hazor, which he sponsored.

In 1929 Rothschild was elected to Parliament (as Liberal member for the Isle of Ely), and he held this seat until 1945. Although he generally did not take a very active part in parliamentary debates, he participated vigorously in the debates on both the Passfield and MacDonald White Papers (see *White Papers). On both occasions, he attacked British policy, accusing it of failing to fulfill the terms of the Mandate. In a speech on the MacDonald White Paper, Rothschild proposed that Palestine be made into a British colony, claiming that this was the only way to preserve the rights of both Jews and Arabs and prevent domination of one part of the population by the other. His effectiveness as a member of Parliament was probably hampered by the fact that he was a Liberal, the party having only a handful of members in Parliament. After his death, his widow informed the Israeli prime minister of the termination of the work of pica (which was taken over by the Israel government). At the same time, the sum of il6,000,000 was donated for the construction of a new Knesset building in Jerusalem.


E. Corti, Die Rothschilds (1962), passim; Exchange of Letters Between Mr. James A. de Rothschild, President of Pica, and Mr. David Ben-Gurion, Prime Minister of Israel (1957). add. bibliography: C. Bermant, The Cousinhood (1961), index.

[Israel Philipp]

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Rothschild, James Armand de

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Rothschild, James Armand de