Elie Kedourie

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Elie Kedourie (1926-1992) was a British historian of Iraqi Jewish background who specialized in the Middle East. He wrote from a conservative point of view.

Biographical Information



The New Right

Like the influential conservative historian Maurice Cowling, Kedourie was a member of the Salisbury Group. [1] He was thanked by Maurice Cowling for reviewing the manuscript for his 1963 book Mill and Liberalism. [2] In early 1980 Kedourie was invited by Margaret Thatcher to lunch at Chequers. Thatcher had been advised by the Foreign Office that the Soviet Union did not pose a serious military threat, so she invited Kedourie and other right-wing experts to take part in a committee offering 'independent' advice. Michael Howard, who was also invited, recalls the following in his memoires:

In the USA a group of hawks formed a well funded Committee on the Present Danger, consisting largely of pupils and associates of Albert Wohlstetter, who urged the breaking off of arms-control negotiations and massive rearmament. Mrs Thatcher was temperamentally inclined to agree with them. The Foreign Office was not. Not surprisingly, the Prime Minister sought further options...She asked Hugh [Thomas] to set up a small committee to draft independent recommendations for the conduct of British foreign policy consisting of myself, Leonard Schapiro and Elie Kedourie...We put together a totally incoherent document which deserved to go straight into the waste paper basket and probably did. I continued to be invited to Chequers seminars and always found the Prime Minister friendly and courteous. But she was not easy company, lacking as she was in any sense of humour, and increasingly impervious to new ideas. [3]

Howard recalls that Kedourie and Leonard Schapiro "believed the recently concluding Helsinki Accords had been a defeat for the West by 'legitimizing' the Soviet control of Eastern Europe." [4]





  • Martin Kramer Elie Kedourie A formidable and dissident historian of the Middle East. Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing, accessed 24 October 2008.
  • Wikipedia Elie Kedourie, accessed 24 October 2008.

Contact, Notes




  1. Maurice Cowling, Mill and Liberalism, Cambridge University Press, 1990, p.xxix.
  2. Maurice Cowling, Mill and liberalism (Cambridge University Press, 1990) p.viii
  3. Michael Howard, Captain Professor The Memoirs of Sir Michael Howard (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2006) pp.192-3
  4. Michael Howard, Captain Professor The Memoirs of Sir Michael Howard (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2006) p.193
  5. Bulletin 55, Moshe Dayan Center, Spring 2012, accessed June 26, 2012
  6. *'Retrospect and Prospect' in Conflict Studies; Institute for the Study of Conflict Special Report of a Seminar Held at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University 11-13 December 1970, April 1971, pp.2-6 - the Arab-Israeli Dispute.
    • Report (participant) 'Arabia and the Gulf - History and Political Strains: Section III in the Security of Middle East Oil' in Conflict Studies, Institute for the Study of Conflict, EK et al., May 1979