How British spies ruled Mandatory Palestine

03 June 2020

This talk surveys the first two decades of British rule in Palestine through the eyes of its intelligence services. Who were Britain’s spymasters in Palestine? How did they try to reconcile Britain’s conflicting promises to Zionists and Palestinians? Did they understand the country and its people, or did they get it wrong? This talk shows the moments where intelligence officers influenced British policy in Palestine, but also, how the now-declassified records they left behind help us understand the early years of the conflict.

About the speakers:

Steven Wagner is Lecturer in International Security at Brunel University London. His book, Statecraft by Stealth: Secret Intelligence and British Rule in Palestine, (Cornell University Press, 2019) examines the relationship between intelligence, policy, and armed conflict in Mandatory Palestine. His past research focused on British intelligence on Jewish illegal immigration and terrorism in Palestine. More broadly, his research examines multilingual and declassified records which shed new light on the story of intelligence and British imperialism in the Middle East. The CBRL centennial grant provided vital support for his new project, which examines the long-lost archive of the controversial Palestinian leader, Hajj Amin al-Husayni. This will tie into a new book project on Britain’s decision to quit Palestine.

Andrew Patrick is an Associate Professor of History at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee (USA). His research focuses on American involvement in the Middle East, particularly during the World War I era. Patrick’s publications include America’s Forgotten Middle East Initiative: The King-Crane Commission of 1919 (London: IB Tauris, 2015) and “Woodrow Wilson, the Ottomans, and World War I” Diplomatic History (v. 42 no. 5, 2018). His articles have also appeared in Middle Eastern Studies, First World War Studies, and the Jerusalem Quarterly. Patrick’s current research involves the 19th and early 20th century entry of American oil companies into the region, as well as the American role in the post-war negotiations at Lausanne. He received his PhD in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Manchester in 2011, and has also taught in Turkey and Abu Dhabi.

Webinar recordings

Watch the webinar on our YouTube channel or listen to the podcast.