Did Zionists entangle the United States in World War I? How did American involvement (which caused over 100,000 American deaths) serve American interests? Did the Balfour Declaration motivate American Zionists to push Wilson into war?
Historian James Gelvin: Two of Wilson's closest advisors, Louis Brandeis and Felix Frankfurter, were avid Zionists. How better to shore up an uncertain ally than by endorsing Zionist aims?
Winston Churchill: Pledges and promises were made during the war, and they were made, not only on the merits, though I think the merits are considerable. They were made because it was considered they would be of value to us in our struggle to win the war. It was considered that the support which the Jews could give us all over the world, and particularly in the United States, and also in Russia, would be a definite palpable advantage. I was not responsible at that time for the giving of those pledges, nor for the conduct of the war of which they were, when given, an integral part. But like other members I supported the policy of the War Cabinet. Like other members, I accepted and was proud to accept a share in those great transactions, which left us with terrible losses, with formidable obligations, but nevertheless with unchallengeable victory.
Malcolm Thomson: When writing the official biography of Lloyd George, I was able to study the original documents bearing on this question. From these it was clear that although certain members of the Cabinets of 1916 and 1917 sympathized with Zionist aspirations, the efforts of Zionist leaders to win any promise of support from the British Government had proved quite ineffectual, and the secret Sykes-Picot agreement with the French for partition of spheres of interest in the Middle East seemed to doom Zionist aims. A change of attitude was, however, brought about through the initiative of Mr. James A. Malcolm, who pressed on Sir Mark Sykes, then Under-Secretary to the War Cabinet, the thesis that an allied offer to restore Palestine to the Jews would swing over from the German to the allied side the very powerful influence of American Jews, including Judge Brandeis, the friend and adviser of President Wilson. Sykes was interested, and at his request Malcolm introduced him to Dr. Weizmann and the other Zionist leaders, and negotiations were opened which culminated in the Balfour Declaration.