On the eve of the war in Europe, Whitehall, as part of its effort to appease the Arab states, retreated from its support of Zionism. Among other acts, Britain restricted the immigration of Jews to Palestine, which was the main potential haven for Jewish refugees during and after the war. A serious conflict evolved between the Zionists and the British over the immigration issue. British officials who dealt with the Palestine problem tended to regard the Jewish refugees as soldiers in the Zionist battle, and the illegal Jewish immigration to be solely politically motivated. Geo-political priorities dominated the thinking of these officials, blinding them to the misery of the people involved and obstructing their consideration of the human consequences of their decisions. Anti-Semitism as such played no meaningful role in the decision-making process.
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