by Aaron Eitan Meyer
2nd part of 2
Wingate and the Underdog
From his early years, Wingate felt himself to be up against significant odds, and that this self-perception played a role in his world view is scarcely questionable. While serving in Ethiopia after being banished from the Mandate, he exhorted that "The right of the individual to liberty of conscience, the right of the small nation to a just decision at the tribunal of nations, these are the causes for which we fight."
However, it is by no means a simple matter to state that Wingate's affinity for the weaker side compelled him to the cause of the Yishuv, much less Zionism itself. Again, Tulloch provided the key element. "Had he found the Arabs were being oppressed and considered their cause to be just, he might well have directed his energies on their behalf."
Far from Wingate's motivation being a case of perception feeding his underlying inclination for an underdog, it was through his intensive study of "the history of Palestine and the yishuv" that he would emerge as a committed Zionist.
As Wingate wrote in a letter to Sir Reginald Wingate in early 1937:
We are in for a war sooner or later – no hope now of avoiding that after the Abyssinian fiasco – for pitys [sic] sake let us do something just and honourable before it comes. Let us redeem our promises to Jewry and shame the devil of Nazism, Fascism, and our own prejudices.
The preceding is particularly illuminating for two reasons. First, in contrast to his official and semi-official communications, Wingate's letters to his cousin were not intended to be left for posterity. Second, and perhaps more importantly, is the global reach of the forces Wingate presented as arrayed against the Jews. The rising powers of Nazism and Fascism, coupled with his perception of British prejudice against the Jews represented considerable opponents indeed. Coupled with this was his deeply held conviction that Islam itself in fact cared "little for the Arabs of Palestine" and "would be prepared to accept a fait accompli."
However one may wish to question the accuracy of Wingate's view on the matter, the fact is that his view of the Jews as not only the weaker party, but deserving of justice on their own merits, is clear. Indeed, he would later frame the issue by praying that, "God give it to us to slay the enemies of the Jews, for the enemies of the Jews are the enemies of all mankind."
Wingate's identification of the Yishuv (and Jewry in general) as the weaker side was made on the basis of his direct observations and study of the situation, including widespread, and indeed institutionalized, British antipathy towards the Jews in the Mandate. When combined with the innate justice of the Zionist Dream, it may be said that the Jews became in a sense the underdog incarnate for Wingate.
And yet the matter cannot rest there. Though Wingate would find himself drawn to another powerless individual in Haile Selassie, when he later found fame and glory in Burma there is no evidence of a similar attachment to the downtrodden Burmese. And so we must turn to the third part of Tulloch's analysis, Wingate's need for a destiny.
Wingate and the Need to Find His Destiny
As previously stated, Derek Tulloch identified the components that comprised Wingate's need for destiny, a driving need to justify his existence and a means to fulfill the destiny demanded by that justification. As Sykes put it, "He was convinced he was a dedicated being, though dedicated to what he did not know, and he lived in continual fear that he never would know."
Rex King-Clark, who served under Wingate in the Special Night Squads, was of the belief that, "it seems to me that his destiny, in truth, was to burn himself out for a cause – even, with Scottish perverseness, for a lost cause."
In combining the need to attain one's destiny with the will to act on it, Wingate may firmly be linked to Theodore Herzl's immortal declaration that "if you will it, it is no dream." As Wingate put it to a prominent Jew, "I count it as my privilege to help you fight your battle. To that purpose I want to devote my life."
Nor was Wingate's pondering a shallow or single-track thing. Colonel Philip Cochrane, co-leader of the First Air Commando, who supplied Wingate's Chindits with transportation and supplies during the second Chindit expedition, explained that, "He made you feel that here was a man who could look into the future and tell what was going to happen tomorrow."
In short, Wingate found his destiny in Zionism at just the time he needed it most, and based on many of the same factual reasons that he was able to see the Jews as worthy underdogs. It is no secret that to the end of his days, he firmly believed that his destiny was to see a Jewish state arise, and that he would lead it in its battle for existence. Even though he died in a plane crash in Burma on a clear night in March of 1944, it can easily be argued that his destiny continued to be attained when the Haganah utilized his military doctrines in 1948.
The sub-heading for this section is somewhat misleading. Indeed, if this paper has demonstrated anything, it is that the complexity of Wingate's psyche makes it utterly impossible to state a conclusion with certainty as to why he truly became a Zionist. His mother-in-law, Alice Ivy Hay, was convinced that his only reason was that he believed it right for the Jews to have a homeland, and that that would bring about the fulfillment of biblical prophecies. Rex King-Clark highlighted Wingate's need to find destiny in a cause. Still others have stressed his affinity for the weak and the powerless.
In the end, one must turn once more to the observation of Derek Tulloch. After appreciating the complexity of a man such as Wingate, the combination of various facets of his mind must be found to have led to his passionate Zionism. Wingate identified the Jews as the underdog, was convinced of the essential rightness of the Zionist cause, found it supported by the Bible, and foresaw his own destiny intermingled with the Jewish State. One cannot eliminate any link in that chain and still hope to even begin to comprehend why Wingate embraced Zionism. And yet, by attempting to encompass the totality of Wingate's Zionism one may indeed begin to understand the multifaceted and deep conviction that Wingate felt, despite the knowledge that a precise and limited answer isn't possible.
Aaron Eitan Meyer recently received his Juris Doctor degree from Touro Law Center, and is currently assistant director of the Legal Project at the Middle East Forum, legal correspondent to the Terror Finance Blog, and a member of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa. His interest in Wingate began while he was an undergraduate studying Middle East Politics and History, and has led to over six years of research on Wingate's life and work. He maintains Orde Wingate Remembrance Society groups on popular networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace, and Friendster.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.
 Ze'ev Schiff, A History of Israel's Army (New York: MacMillan, 1985), p. 13.
 Samuel M. Katz, The Elite (New York: Pocket Books, 1992), p. 12.
 Christopher Sykes, Orde Wingate (Cleveland and New York: The World Publishing Company, 1959).
 Orde Charles Wingate, Letter-Journal entry dated April 12, 1931. This and other unpublished papers cited herein are part of the Wingate Archive of the Steve Forbes Churchill Collection (WA), which were generously made available to the author.
 Even Teddy Kollek, who had limited direct experience with Wingate, recalled Wingate's intimate knowledge of the land. Teddy Kollek, For Jerusalem (New York: Random House, 1978), p. 35.
 Major-General Derek Tulloch, Wingate in Peace and War (London: Futura Publications Limited, 1972), p. 20.
 W. G. Burchett, Wingate Adventure (Melbourne: F.W. Cheshire.Pty. Ltd., 1944), p. 49. For an excellent article on Wingate's Sudanese service, see Simon Anglim, "Orde Wingate in the Sudan – Formative Experiences of the Chindit Commander," RUSI Journal, Vol. 148, No. 3 (June 2003), p. 96.
 Ben Dunkelmann, Dual Allegiance (New York: Crown Publishers, 1976), p. 153.
 Even Wing-Commander Ritchie, who filed a Report calling for Wingate's banishment from the region, noted that "He is an exceptional linguist." Both the Report and Ritchie's typewritten notes on file, WA.
 Letter, Orde Charles Wingate to Wing-Commander Ritchie dated June 27, 1939, p. 12. WA.
 Yigal Allon, The Making of Israel's Army (New York: Universe Books, 1970), p. 9.
 Shabtai Teveth, Moshe Dayan: The Soldier, the Man, the Legend (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1972), p. 100.
 Lowell Thomas, Back to Mandalay (New York: Greystone Press, 1951), p. 71.
 Luigi Rossetto, Major-General Orde Charles Wingate and the Development of Long-Range Penetration (Kansas: Sunflower Press, 1982), p. xvi.
 Tulloch, Wingate in Peace and War, pp. 45-46.
 David Shirreff, Barefoot and Bandoliers: Wingate, Sanford, the Patriots and the Part They Played in the Liberation of Ethiopia (New York: Radcliffe Press, 1995), p. 181.
 Tulloch, Wingate in Peace and War, pp. 45-46.
 Michael B. Oren, "Orde Wingate: Friend Under Fire," Azure, No. 10 (Winter 5761/2001), p. 38.
 WA. Dated January 12, 1937, the letter was written well before Wingate became intimate with the leadership of the Yishuv.
 Sykes, Orde Wingate, p. 167.
 Ibid, p. 86.
 Rex King-Clark, Free for a Blast (London: Grenville Publishing Co. Ltd., 1988), p. 204.
 Tulloch, Wingate in Peace and War, p. 46.
 Thomas, Back to Mandalay, pp. 79-80.
 Alice Ivy Hay, There Was a Man of Genius (London: Neville Spearman Ltd., 1963), p. 64.