100 Years Since the Balfour Declaration – Amb. Dore Gold

Ambassador Dore Gold speaks about how the terrorist organization The Palestinian Return Center and other Islamist organizations, are waging war against Israel’s right of existence by any means possible. His aim is to focus on subduing these current threats.

 

Balfour Descendant Touts 2-State Solution, Marking 1917 Edict’s Centennial

By Tamara Zieve

Descendant of signatory of Balfour Declaration sends special message to conference, which marks 100 years since historic letter sent.

Windsor – The 5th earl of Balfour Roderick Balfour expressed hope that a two-state solution could be achieved this year, as he conveyed pride in his family’s legacy, the centenary of which was celebrated at Limmud FSU in Windsor this weekend.

The Balfour Declaration, dated November 2, 1917, was sent by Lord Roderick Balfour’s relative, former British foreign secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron Lionel Walter Rothschild. It expressed Britain’s support for the establishment of a homeland for the Jewish people in Israel.

The text of the letter was incorporated into the Treaty of Sevres with the Ottoman Empire and the Mandate for Palestine.

“I am very honored to hear that an element of your symposium will be a commemoration of the Centenary of the Balfour Declaration,” Balfour said in a special message to the conference, which was read out during a festive gala on Saturday night.

An exhibition about the Balfour Declaration was displayed throughout the event (the first Limmud FSU ever to be held in Europe), which drew some 700 Russian-speaking Jews to the UK from more than 20 European countries for three days of intensive Jewish learning.

“My family is very proud of the importance to Jewish people everywhere of this initiative by the British government of the day,” the letter read. “The relevance to you all here today is that the imperative for it stemmed from the appalling Russian pogroms at the turn of the 20th century. Thus, and this what we are most proud of, the declaration was first and foremost a humanitarian act trying repatriate a talented but much-persecuted people to the land of the original Judaic roots.”

In October, a campaign was launched at an event hosted at the British Parliament’s House of Lords, calling on the UK to apologize for the declaration. A petition for a British apology and compensation for the Palestinians garnered only 1,278 supporters, failing to meet the 10,000 signatures in six months required to merit a response from the Parliament. Balfour described blaming the declaration for political turmoil in the Middle East as “over-simplistic.”

“The borders imposed by Sykes-Picot were never going to be fit for purpose and nobody in 1917 could have foreseen the Holocaust or the extraordinarily high birth rate among the Palestinians in recent decades,” his letter read.

“How much more we could celebrate the centenary if we saw a two-state solution emerge this year, which in effect would bring closure on one of the central tenets of the declaration,” he concluded.

During the event, Limmud FSU bestowed an Honorary Balfour Declaration Award upon Board of Deputies of British Jews President Jonathan Arkush for his contributions to British Jewry.

Correction: A previous version of this article mistakenly stated that Roderick Balfour was the great-grandson of Lord Balfour.


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The Meaning of the Palestinians’ War on the Balfour Declaration

Photo: From the Facebook page “Palestine Belongs to Palestinians!”

Encouraged and empowered by the recent UNESCO resolution that rejects Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, the Palestinian Authority is boasting about plans to hold a series of global events throughout the coming year to decry the establishment of the state of Israel.

The purpose of the campaign, described by the Qudsnet News Agency as “massive,” is to “make the international community, and especially Britain, confront their historical responsibilities and call on them to atone for this major crime committed, and raise the issue of the historical injustice inflicted on the Palestinian people.”

The “major crime” in question is the Nov. 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration, sent by the UK foreign secretary to Jewish community leader Walter Rothschild, to be delivered to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland.

“His Majesty’s government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country,” it stated.

Though this was well before the term “Palestinians” – or people calling themselves “Palestinians” – even existed – distorting history is part and parcel of their effort to delegitimize Israel in any and every way possible. The UNESCO vote is but one tiny example of this practice, which is gaining momentum with the help of Western leftists.

Another is the incessant cacophony about Israeli settlements constituting an “obstacle to peace.”

Ironically, the very fact that all PA factions make no bones about considering the Jewish state a catastrophe worthy of annual mourning – and deserving of the slaughter of innocent Jews — does not serve to dissuade proponents of a two-state solution from their claim that new apartments in the West Bank are unnecessarily provocative.

On the contrary, though Abbas said clearly that no Jews would be welcome in PA-controlled territory under any circumstances, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called attention to this blatant antisemitism, it was he who was mercilessly berated far and wide, especially by the White House and State Department.

Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians’ chief “peace” negotiator, took the opportunity, as he always does, to use US criticism of Israel as a way to prove that the Jewish state was born and lives in sin.

In a Washington Post op-ed on Tuesday, Erekat did this in the context of the Balfour Declaration, which he called the “symbolic beginning of the denial of our rights.” Chastising the world for not taking significant steps to end the travesty of Israel’s existence, he spewed customary lies about how the Jewish state came into being. “The Palestinian people were violently dispossessed from their homes and exiled from their homeland in 1948, endured the occupation in 1967, only to be forced into the historic compromise recognizing the 1967 border as the borders of the state of Palestine,” he wrote, conveniently omitting the true story of Israel’s war of Independence and Six-Day War 19 years later – the assault of surrounding Arab armies on a tiny fledgling country that spent much of its time trying to come to an arrangement with those bent on its annihilation.

Erekat’s piece was in keeping with Abbas’ announcement in July that the PA was going to file a lawsuit against Britain for the Balfour Declaration. This was conveyed by PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki to the Arab League Summit in Mauritania, which Abbas was unable to attend, due to the death of his brother.

In spite of the fact that Omar Abbas had been treated for cancer at a Tel Aviv hospital – along with the family members of many honchoes in Fatah and Hamas – the PA leader was going ahead with his litigation against the UK over the 100-year-old document, “after which hundreds of thousands of Jews arrived from Europe and other places in Palestine at the expense of our people.”

With such a blatant admission of its actual position on Jewish statehood — going so far as to wage war on the Balfour Declaration — the PA should be treated with the disdain and derision it deserves.

Ruthie Blum is the managing editor of The Algemeiner.


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Prepare for war over the Balfour Declaration

As the centenary of the pivotal “Balfour Declaration” looms in 2017, a new group wants Britain to apologise for making it

November 2017 marks 100 years since the famous “Balfour Declaration” was made in a letter to the British Jewish community, including the famous words, “His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object”.

The letter started a chain of events that led, by no means smoothly, to the eventual formation of the modern state of Israel. With the advent in recent years of campaigns such as BDS (Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions), an essentially anti-Israel movement, Sabeel (Palestinian “Liberation Theology”), and a plethora of other anti-Israel organisations and groups, attempts to attribute the blame for today’s conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs have delved back into history long before 1948.

Now has arisen a group that wants Britain to apologise for the Balfour Declaration ever having been made. The Balfour Project claims that Britain deceived both Jews and Arabs in making the 1917 declaration in favour of a “Jewish national home” in what was then Palestine.

The Project attempts to dissect the convolutions of behind-the-scenes talks that went on during World War One, as Britain sought to undermine Turkish rule in the Middle East. By negotiating with both Jews and Arabs over the destiny of vast swathes of Ottoman territory, Britain hoped to create a friendly “bridge” between her African and Indian territories that would enable profitable trade (and Middle Eastern oil) to be cheaper through overland channels instead of the existing laborious sea routes.

So far so normal in imperial diplomacy. In attempts, however, to ensure Britain and France got the best deals from everyone involved, three sets of agreements made with interested parties collided in confusion at the close of the war. In simple terms, the McMahon/Hussein correspondence (1915) sought to buy the allegiance of the powerful Sharif of Mecca and his clan with offers of territory and power; the Sykes-Picot agreement (1917) sought to carve up part of the Ottoman Empire between Britain and France; and the Balfour Declaration (1917) sought to create a pro-British bloc in Palestine. Unfortunately, the Sykes-Picot agreement carved up territory that had already been promised to the Arabs under the McMahon correspondence.

Contrary to the claims of The Balfour Project, the area that is now Israel was under some dispute. Britain wanted to keep a coastal strip on the Mediterranean under her control, while Sharif Hussein wanted control over much of the same area. At no point was the area around Jerusalem and southwards promised to the Arabs.

It is therefore deceptive to accuse Britain of breaking a promise over an area that it had not promised at all. In fact, Hussein’s son Faisal agreed to abandon his father’s claims on Palestine when he was given Iraq to rule. Under the Sykes-Picot agreement also, most of today’s Israel was to be an international zone – again, not promised to the Arabs.

The eventual compromise gave Iraq to the Sharif’s son Faisal, Trans-Jordan to his other son Abdullah, and Lebanon and Syria to the French. The Zionists were left with the slip of land west of the Jordan River that we know today as Israel. Lebanon and Syria became the French Mandate and Palestine and Mesopotamia (Iraq) became the British Mandate. It is vital to recognise that the promises made to both Jews and Arabs were at least partly, if not mostly, fulfilled through the compromise arrangements.

The Balfour Project makes use of several revisionist articles to claim that Britain needs to apologise to both Jews and Arabs for its historical “balagan” (Arab for a proper foul-up), but betrays itself as another attempt at delegitimisation by its own strap-line: “Contributing to justice, peace and reconciliation in the Middle East”. As soon as you see the words “justice”, “peace”, “reconciliation” and “Middle East” in the same sentence, you know you are facing another attempt to denigrate and delegitimise the state of Israel.

The Balfour Project has already started holding meetings around the UK and while, to their credit, their meeting in Winchester included speakers opposed to the aims of the Project, most of the speakers and writers involved are also heavily connected to the BDS and delegitimisation movements, including Rev Stephen Sizer, Prof Ilan Pappe and others.

The Balfour Project aims to make sufficient impact in Britain that the Government will be forced into an apology for the Balfour Declaration on its centenary in 2017. This apology is not needed, will not contribute to peace or justice, and will not diminish the depth of feelings for and against Israel.

The Balfour Project claims it does not deny the right of Israel to exist, but Rabbi Dan Cohen-Sherbok threw a spanner in the works in his speech at the Project’s meeting in Winchester by pointing out that if the Balfour Declaration should not have been made then does that mean that the Jews should not have been offered a homeland and that Israel should not exist today?

Oops, back to the drawing board!

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Happy Balfour Day!

By Michael Freund

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Recent years have seen an intensified effort by Israel’s foes to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state.

From organizing flotillas to Gaza to pushing for boycotts and sanctions, these misguided militants have sought to rebrand Israel as a bellicose and aggressive nation.

Consisting of an increasingly strident chorus of Islamist radicals, Western anarchists and pro-Palestinian activists, they have made it their mission to besmirch Israel on college campuses, in the international press and at every available opportunity.

Not content with critiquing Israeli governmental policy, this knot of knaves has gone a step further, seeking to undermine the validity of Israel’s existence by portraying it as an illicit entity in the region. Left unanswered, these charges may begin to stick, further weakening Israel’s image abroad and damaging her standing worldwide.

It is time for Israel to fight back and to wage a counteroffensive in the war of ideas. We cannot sit by idly and watch as lies, slander and defamation are hurled our way. Our right to this land is undeniable and inviolable and we must assert it with all the intensity and determination that we can muster.

A good place to start would be to give the world a quick history lesson and remind them that we are here by right and not out of pity.

After all, it was almost 100 years ago on November 2, 1917, that the British government issued one of the most significant documents of the modern era – the Balfour Declaration – which reaffirmed the right of the Jewish people to renew their ancient Biblical homeland in Israel.

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Written by foreign secretary Arthur James Balfour and approved by His Majesty’s government, the declaration stated clearly and unequivocally that Britain’s leaders “view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object.”

Subsequently, when the League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations, approved the Mandate for Palestine in July 1922, it formally incorporated the Balfour Declaration.

In the preamble, it stated that, “the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

The Mandate, which was approved by more than 50 member nations, also noted “the historical connections of the Jewish people with Palestine.”

In other words, Israel was later established with the full backing and support of the international community, and it was the Balfour Declaration which laid the conceptual groundwork for that to happen.

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As Norman Bentwich, who served as the British-appointed attorney-general for mandatory Palestine, noted in his book, Mandate Memories, “The Balfour Declaration was not an impetuous or sentimental act of the British government, as has been sometimes represented, or a calculated measure of political warfare. It was a deliberate decision of British policy and idealist politics, weighed and reweighed, and adopted only after full consultation with the United States and with other Allied Nations.”

Hence, the creation of the Zionist state was neither a rogue act nor an unlawful deed. It was fully grounded in international law and approved by the nations of the world. Anyone who claims otherwise is simply twisting the truth.

And Balfour Day, the day it all began, therefore presents us with a wonderful opportunity to jog the world’s memory and silence those who say that we are sitting on stolen land. It is a day we should be celebrating as a seminal moment in Israel’s modern- day rebirth.

In case you think that the Balfour Declaration is little more than ancient history and that no one really cares about such things, think again.

For a number of years, the Palestinians have been waging a campaign specifically targeting the Balfour Declaration which has included rallies, protests and even calls by Palestinian officials for an apology from Britain.

An October 24 report on Iran’s Press TV stated that a London-based Palestinian group is launching a crusade to compel the UK government to express regret for its “past atrocities starting with the Balfour Declaration.”

Clearly, if the Palestinians deem it important enough to wage war against, the dusty old pages of the Balfour Declaration are still highly relevant.

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And that is why it is imperative that we once again embrace Balfour Day each year and commemorate it as widely as possible. We must utilize this occasion to educate Jews and non-Jews alike regarding the justness of our cause, which far too many seem to have overlooked.

The battle over Israel’s legitimacy is well underway, and we must use every tool at our disposal to defend the truth. By restoring some historical consciousness and context to the dispute, we can even the playing field and make a better and more compelling case that Israel’s right to exist, regardless of what our critics might say, is not something that is open to debate.

Happy Balfour Day!

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Michael Freund is a correspondent and syndicated columnist for The Jerusalem Post. A native New Yorker, he is a graduate of Princeton University and holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University. He has lived in Israel for the past 16 years and remains an avid New York Mets fan.

Reprinted with permission from author. Read original article HERE.

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