Northern Whig – Thursday 09 August 1923
It is 100 years ago today since the Balfour declaration was made to Lord Rothschild. Here is a little more information not so openly known by the general public on this pledge.
The Balfour Declaration was a public statement issued by the British government during World War I announcing support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, then an Ottoman region with a minority Jewish population. It read:
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, 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.
The declaration was contained in a letter dated 2 November 1917 from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Walter Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland. The text of the declaration was published in the press on 9 November 1917.
Now why would the British Empire in the midst of the greatest war in history just suddenly decide to make such a gesture to the Jewish people?
Was is just out of magnanimity? was is just because they thought it was the right thing to do? Was it just from pester power by the Zionist movement?
Or was it a receipt for services rendered?
This is from an article by Sir Martin Conway MP
THE BALFOUR DECLARATION
The general public does not realise that the idea of the Balfour Declaration was of slow growth, and that it only took form after long and minute discussion. ‘To recapitulate the negotiations here would wearisome, and is not necessary. The leaders of the Zionist movement were introduced to Mr. Lloyd George in 1914 and from that time onward discussions continued. Schemes were put forward, modified, developed. Various versions the ultimate formula were suggested, criticised, rejected, replaced, till finally one was agreed on. and was put into the mouth Mr. Balfour, who gave official utterance it on behalf of the British Government November 2nd 1917. It ran follows;- 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 that object, being clearly I understood that nothing shall done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the right and political status enjoyed by the Jews in any other country.”
No act of State could have been more formal. The honour of the British Government and people was pledged, and so remains, and must remain. The suggestion that such pledge can be lightly set aside and disregarded can only come from light-minded journalists and irresponsible talkers. The pledge was accepted; The goods were delivered. The Jewish community all over the world backed the Allies. America came into the war. In the words of The “Case against Zionism,” ‘ During the world war it (the pledge) insured for the Allies the loyalty and financial support the Jews all over the world, and assured England of a permanent suzerainty over the Southern portion of Syria for the protection of the Suez Canal, which is the spinal cord of England’s colonistic Empire.’* Great Britain, therefore, can by no possibility back on the Balfour Declaration. Whatever the future relations of Britain to Palestine may be, the Declaration must remain one of the pivots of our Imperial policy. What we have promised and must perform. There were, however, other promises made, and these also have to kept.
Here is another example from a little known politician called Winston Churchill
Western Daily Press – Wednesday 05 July 1922
Extended text reads:
Mr Churchill said this was a topic that easily lent itself to prejudice. When they had a Jew, a Russian, Bolshevism, Zionism, electrical monopoly and Government concessions presented at the. same moment even the recently budding statesman could make a very fine case. There was. broadly speaking. two issues, and it was important to keep them distinct. The first was were they to keep pledge to their pledge to the Zionists which were made in 1917 to the effect that the Government their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of national home for Jewish people or were they to abandon that. The second issue was whether the measures taken Colonial Office to fulfil the pledge were reasonable and proper measures. On the first issue the House as a whole had definitely committed itself on more than one occasion the general proposition that they should use their best endeavours to make good the pledge to the Zionists. The pledge was made to gain the support, in winning the war, of Jews all over the world. Parliament had deliberately accepted the peace arrangements that bad been made , including the acceptance by Great Britain of mandatory responsibility for Palestine- Balfour declaration was part of the mandatory system.
Was this the stab in the back oft referred to by the Nazis?
Here is a more eloquent take on it