An account of the Guardian’s racist endorsement of the Balfour Declaration

Israel/Palestine
on 36 Comments
jaffa mandate
Jaffa, 1898-1914. (Photo: Matson Collection)

‘The settler owes the fact of his very existence, that is to say his property, to the colonial system.’
-Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth.

Imagine if China, for one reason or another suddenly replaced or supplanted the United States as Israel’s main diplomatic, financial and military supporter. That the Chinese then provided Israel with all it required to continue the occupation and usurpation of Palestine and to further consolidate its illegal undertakings…What would we then make of  American journalists or writers who then incessantly never fail to remind us of the culpable Chinese support for Israeli criminality while simultaneously totally ignoring, possibly even whitewashing the 40 years when the United States was Israel’s main supporter?

Between 1917 and 1948 Great Britain more than any other nation helped to lay the diplomatic, governmental, military and economic foundations for Israel yet if one were to peruse British writing on Palestine, especially the writings of the supposed pro-Palestinians, one would naturally presume that the Palestinian predicament only began on the 15th May 1948 when the British Mandate officially ended and the State of Israel was declared.

As it is known, the defining document or declaration which paved the way, indeed legitimised the Jewish colonisation of Palestine was issued by Imperial Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Lord Balfour. The “Balfour Declaration” announced that the British government would,

‘…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…’

What is rarely known, is the imperial jubilance which greeted the publication of the Declaration in the British media. In the vanguard of this euphoria was the liberal Guardian or the Manchester Guardian as it was more accurately known then under the editorship of Charles P. Scott. Cutting through the diplomatic verbiage and any possible obfuscation about the intention behind the declaration, it editorialised in November 1917 that some may speak of Palestine “as a country, but it is not a country…But it will be a country; it will be the country of the Jews. That is the meaning of…” the Balfour Declaration. The fact that in 1917 the population of Palestine was 80,000 Jewish and 700,000 Arab Palestinian literally meant nothing to the Guardian editor.

It further stated that the British government’s deliberate policy will be then “to encourage in every way in our power Jewish immigration…with a view to the ultimate establishment of a Jewish State.”

The urge to colonise Palestine with Jewish immigration was largely motivated by its proximity to Egypt. As the Guardian stated, “Palestine has a special importance for Great Britain because in the hands of a hostile Power, it can be made…a secure base which a land attack on Egypt can be organised…” Therefore, it is in Britain’s interest that “no Power should be seated in Palestine” that “is likely to be hostile” to British Imperialism.

The left-wing New Statesman too came out all guns blazing in support of the Balfour Declaration but was more specific about the nature of Palestine’s proximity to the Empire’s interests. It informed its readers that the “special interest of the British Empire in Palestine is due to the proximity of the Suez Canal.” The only obvious conclusion is then to imperatively “effect a Zionist restoration under British auspices.”

After all, the New Statesman added, the then position of Jews as “unassimilated sojourners in every land but their own can never become satisfactory…It is far better…to make a nation of them” in the interests of Empire.

The more populist Daily Express concurred with the above interpretation of the Balfour Declaration in that it is an “announcement of a Jewish State” and also added that Jews from all over the world will be included in what it perceived to be the “colonisation scheme.” The London Times declared “Palestine for the Jews” and reprinted a part of the cabinet approved declaration.

The Guardian‘s stance on the Balfour Declaration found congruence with the Empire’s first Military Governor of Jerusalem, Sir Ronald Storrs. He too emphasised, but in biological terms, the importance of Egypt in that it was the “jugular vein of the British Empire” and that the Jewish colonisation of Palestine would bring forth “for England ‘a little loyal Jewish Ulster’ in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism.”

A prominent left-wing politician in this period, Colonel Josiah Wedgwood, opted for a geographical analogy to describe British interests in the Arab World. He argued that Palestine was the “Clapham Junction” of the British Empire. As such a “friendly and efficient population” is required to settle there. And because Egyptians do not want the British occupation of their country, Palestine should be settled with “men on whom we can depend, if only because they depend on us…The Jews depend on us.”

For Winston Churchill, the Zionist colonisation of Palestine would mean that Jews “would be especially in harmony with the truest interests of the British Empire.”
However, what distinguished the Guardian‘s unequivocal endorsement of the Balfour Declaration was not only the approval of Zionist colonisation, which would explicitly lead to a “Jewish State,” but also just as equally the contempt it had for the indigenous Arabs of Palestine or in the words of Storrs, the “present aborigines.” In the spirit of colonialism, the Guardian editorial racially degenerated and dehumanised the Arabs of Palestine as “at a low stage of civilisation” and that they contain within “itself none of the elements of progress…” In other words the Arabs of Palestine were in a state of perennial civilisational arrested development.

Racial belittlement as a justification for colonialism was not unique to Palestine. The insistence that natives of a particular land are at low level of civilisation and therefore that land is ripe for colonisation by European colonisers was also utilised in Africa and elsewhere. As Frantz Fanon was to argue, Western bourgeois, “racial prejudice as regards the nigger and the Arab is a racism of contempt; it is a racism which minimises what it hates.” C.P.Scott was merely confirming and endorsing the fact that “racism is the ideological weapon of imperialistic politics.”

Indeed, a former Guardian writer and Labour politician in this period, H.N. Brailsford claimed that the Arabs were incapable of developing Palestine because they were “degenerate semi-savages” who had no right to “exclude millions” of settlers. For Churchill, the indigenous Arabs of Palestine were tantamount to “dogs in the manger” and only because the dog had been lain there for a long period, the dog has no final right to the manger. Or as he elaborated, “I do not admit, for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia.”

It is quite clear from C.P. Scott’s Guardian and other editorials of November 1917 that the British Empire wanted Palestine colonised for its own interests or as an early settler would argue,

“…the British wanted Palestine – and very much so – for their own interests, and it was not the Zionists who drew them to the country…had there been no Zionists in those days the British would have had to invent them.”

The idea and will to plant Jewish colonisation in Palestine existed independently of the ideology of Zionism. The Empire had its interests, namely Egypt and specifically the Suez Canal. Much of the Empire’s “plunder” or the “treasures in India” was brought back to the imperial metropolis through the Suez Canal.
What distinguished this “colonisation scheme” from previous ones in Africa and Asia is that the British Empire utilised European Jews rather than its own subjects from the metropolis.

Maybe this is the reason why in the final months of the “Zionist Mandate” in 1948, Imperial Britain – the “greatest Empire in history” – watched by while seven hundred thousand Palestinian Arabs were expelled, directly and indirectly from the country and over 400 villages, towns and centres had been ethnically cleansed of their indigenous inhabitants.
 

About Nu'man Abd al-Wahid

Nu'man Abd al-Wahid is a UK based freelance Yemeni-English writer specialising in the political relationship between the British state and the Arab World. My focus is on how the United Kingdom has historically maintained its interests in the the Middle East. A collection of articles are posted at www.yamyam-yemeni.net.

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36 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    April 30, 2012, 1:29 pm

    it makes sense we begin this century righting mankind’s wrongs from the last one.

    racism is so ugly. this century it needs to be thoroughly eradicated once and for all.

    • thetumta
      April 30, 2012, 7:19 pm

      It makes no sense at all. Unfortunately, it seems unavoidable? Hopefully, nothing will end up eradicated, but some semblem of sense is certainly way overdue.
      Hej!

    • AllenBee
      May 1, 2012, 7:51 pm

      a thought experiment —
      Should the [past] century be “eradicated” as if it never happened, as in sweep it under the rug, or is it necessary to get the full truth out, warts & beauty marks on all parties, and build the next century on a sound and level foundation?

  2. gamal
    April 30, 2012, 1:42 pm

    In case you missed it

    False Prophets of Peace
    Liberal Zionism and the Struggle for Palestine

    Palestine

    By Tikva Honig-Parnass

    This book refutes the long held view of the Israeli left as adhering to a humanistic, democratic and even socialist tradition, attributed to the historic Zionist Labor movement. Through a critical analysis of the prevailing discourse of Zionist intellectuals and activists on the Jewish-democratic state, it uncovers the Zionist left’s central role in laying the foundation of the colonial settler state of Israel, in articulating its hegemonic ideology and in legitimizing, whether explicitly or implicitly, the apartheid treatment of Palestinians both inside Israel and in the 1967 occupied territories. Their determined support of a Jewish-only state underlies the failure of the “peace process,” initiated by the Zionist Left, to reach a just peace based on recognition of the national rights of the entire Palestinian people.
    About the author

    Tikva Honig-Parnass was raised in the Jewish community of pre-state Palestine, fought in the 1948 war and served as the secretary of the then Radical Left Zionist Party of Mapam (The Unified Workers Party) in the Knesset ( 1951-1954). In ’60 she definitively broke with Zionism and joined the ranks of the Israeli Socialist Organization, known as “Matzpen”. Since then she has played an active role in the movement against the ’67 occupation as well as in the struggle for the Palestinian national rights. She co-edited Between the Lines with Toufic Haddad

    link to haymarketbooks.org

  3. American
    April 30, 2012, 1:49 pm

    Like all times, a lot of political garbage opinions were put out about giving Palestine to the Jews.
    Bottom line, the British though they were being smart…..they referred to the Jews back then as Britain’s “Jewish problem” and thought they had hit upon the ideal
    solution to the Jews and to their Egypt stragety.
    There was no hubris quite like the ” for the good of everyone cause we know better than anyone” as the British kind during their empire mode.
    It’s almost comical…they misjudged the zionist who instead of being grateful allies,
    turned around and called England “worse then Hitler and more cunning” when Britain tried to back off the growing monster by sticking to the immigration quotas for Israel. And they totally misjudged the Arabs.
    Then they threw the whole fracking mess in the lap of the world.

  4. Woody Tanaka
    April 30, 2012, 2:09 pm

    Excellent article.

    The Churchill quotation is certainly not one that his sycophants and worshippers in the US, UK and elsewhere are not likely to trot out, but it does remind me that Churchill was simply an archaic racist who lived a life of serial incompetence, culminating in the events of the War; in which other men succeeded in winning a victory — little of which could fairly be credited to him — but for which he, in his self-aggrandizement, took an inordinate portion of the credit.

    • lysias
      April 30, 2012, 3:43 pm

      About India, Churchill was at his worst:

      Through the late 1930s, Churchill thought (and spoke) little about India. But then in 1940 he became Prime Minister, and had to confront the question as to what would happen to Indians after the Allies had won a war ostensibly fought to preserve freedom. As the diaries of his Secretary of State for India, Leo Amery, make clear, Churchill was implacably opposed to all proposals for Indian self-rule. In July 1940, Amery found Churchill “terribly exalté on the subject of India and impossible to reason with”. When, in March 1941, Amery expressed his “anxiety about the growing cleavage between Moslem and Hindu, Churchill “at once said: `Oh, but that is all to the good'” because it would help the British stay a while longer).

      An entry of September 1942 in the Amery diaries reads: “During my talk with Winston he burst out with: `I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion’.” A year later, when the question of grain being sent to the victims of the Bengal famine came up in a Cabinet meeting, Churchill intervened with a “flourish on Indians breeding like rabbits and being paid a million a day by us for doing nothing by us about the war.”

      About the Bengal famine and Churchill’s attitude towards India in general, Madhusree Mukerjee’s Churchill’s Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India during World War II is an excellent — although shocking — read.

      • Woody Tanaka
        April 30, 2012, 5:00 pm

        Wow. Horrible quote. It reminded me of some of the thoughts I had reading James Bradley’s Imperial Cruise, about the ideas in vogue about white supremacy, the “Teutonic” origins of civilization, about “Civilization Following the Sun” and the like.

        I suspect that the likes of Churchill never considered that people like the Nazis were not holding ideas about the “inferiority” of other people that they, themselves, didn’t hold; the Nazis just didn’t have the “good sense” to hold them about Indians or American Natives, or Africans or Australian aborigines.

      • tree
        April 30, 2012, 5:53 pm

        the Nazis just didn’t have the “good sense” to hold them about Indians or American Natives, or Africans or Australian aborigines.

        My theory is that when Germany lost its colonial “rights” to Africa after WWI, it simply tried to “colonize” Eastern Europe with the same kinds of genocidal tactics it used in Southwest Africa. What what the Nazi “Hunger Plan” and “Generalplan Ost” for Poland and parts east but the starvation of the Herero on a much more grandiose scale?

      • Woody Tanaka
        April 30, 2012, 6:53 pm

        tree, I think that you are right in that the tactics used were simply those usually reserved by European powers (and descendants like the US) to portions of the globe run by non-Europeans, but I don’t think that there was a direct connection to the loss of German colonies. They were too small, compared to the vast lands in the East, for Hitler to care about. He had more grandiose schemes than merely a reclaiming of that which Germany had before the war.

      • lysias
        April 30, 2012, 7:16 pm

        The comparisons Hitler made with his plans for Lebensraum in the East were to the United States’s treatment of the American Indians and to British rule in India.

      • libra
        April 30, 2012, 8:10 pm

        Woody, I agree with what you say but don’t overlook that Germany briefly secured its earlier Mitteleuropa plan at the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March 1918 that marked the exit of Russia from WW1. This briefly gave Germany control of the Baltic states and the Ukraine; it already controlled what is now Poland. That likely set a precedent for Hitler’s thinking in the East.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 1, 2012, 10:54 am

        libra,

        I think that they are both examples of thinking that sprung from the same source — namely the drive for German domination of Central/Eastern Europe and their propensity to look east — but not directly from one another.

        I think that Hitler’s view of it, and the view of the authors of the Mitteleuropa plan, and others like it, differed signficantly in that Hitler’s plan was one of “race”-based conquest and colonialism (with, of course mass murder of the current residents) whereas the latter was one of economic exploitation and very small
        areas of German colonization.

      • libra
        May 1, 2012, 4:52 pm

        Woody,

        I agree entirely, Hitler’s version was in indeed primarily in terms of racial conquest. Not just completely immoral but totally self-defeating given Germany’s manpower constraints.

        But in terms of trade, for Germany to look East and cooperate with Russia makes perfect sense. They have much to offer each other. Perhaps it will be an increasingly attractive option given the Eurozone problems affecting Western Europe. A prospect that no doubt gives the neocons nightmares.

      • lysias
        May 1, 2012, 4:56 pm

        Especially given Russia’s demographic collapse, close cooperation with a populous nearby country would make a lot of sense.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 1, 2012, 5:55 pm

        “Not just completely immoral but totally self-defeating given Germany’s manpower constraints.”

        Self-defeating, ultimately, but not irrational if you accept the view of things the way the Germans did; namely that this was a country they beat in 1918, which is, in 1941, being run by Bolsheviks. Consequently, it should easier to defeat in 1941, because it is being run by inferior people whereas there was some Germanic elements in the leadership, as in the days of the Czars. The problem, of course, was with their suppositions.

        I agree that the countries could offer some things to each other, but I’m not sure. I wonder how deep old animosities run.

      • libra
        May 1, 2012, 6:25 pm

        Not just completely immoral but totally self-defeating given Germany’s manpower constraints.

        Woody, I meant the idea of enslaving or ethnically cleansing the population of huge areas of land that they lacked the manpower to populate themselves. That is not just immoral but self-defeating.

        Today, as before, Russia has huge natural resources but lacks the modern industrial resources of Germany to exploit them fully. That makes them very complementary. Can old animosities be put aside? One surely has to be optimistic here, just as elsewhere. Particularly the Middle East.

      • lysias
        May 1, 2012, 6:41 pm

        Germany’s manpower constraints in comparison with the Russian population made the terroristic nature of the German occupation a military necessity, as argued by Ben Shepherd in War in the Wild East: The German Army and Soviet Partisans.

        Of course, that terroristic occupation also suited the ideology of Hitler and the other Nazis.

      • AllenBee
        May 1, 2012, 8:36 pm

        In May 1912 Churchill devised plans to constrain Germany’s threat to British imperial dominance. Aware that British were not strong enough to contain Germany militarily, Churchill conceived the idea of blockade:

        “Seeing that we had not for the time being the numerical force of destroyers able to master the destroyers of the potential enemy in his home waters, nor the power to support our flotillas with heavy ships, . . .we proceeded forthwith to revise altogether the War Plans and substitute, with the full concurrence of our principal commanders afloat, the policy of distant blockade.” Winston Churchill, quoted in The Politics of Hunger, by C Paul Vincent

        in other words, recognizing the inability to defend against a challenge to its empire militarily, Churchill & his admirals planned to starve Germany’s civilian population, which they did, from 1915-1919, as as historian Paul Vincent records.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 2, 2012, 8:10 am

        “Woody, I meant the idea of enslaving or ethnically cleansing the population of huge areas of land that they lacked the manpower to populate themselves. That is not just immoral but self-defeating. ”

        I understand what you are saying. What I’m saying is that if you adopt the attitude which the Nazis had, then it is not an obviously self-defeating thing: if one Aryan is worth 100 Slavs, then the manpower differential is not that big a deal. The bigger problem with their approach was that their ideology failed to let them exploit to the fullest the anti-Russian/anti-Soviet animosity in the Ukrainian, Belarusian and Baltic regions.

  5. HRK
    April 30, 2012, 2:14 pm

    Thanks for the interesting history lesson!

  6. Blake
    April 30, 2012, 2:49 pm

    That’s what I love about this site informing us of history that our generation would never have known happened. Thanks for the great article. I learnt something new today.

  7. Daniel Rich
    April 30, 2012, 3:20 pm

    Really? Like there wasn’t something like a King-Crane report predicting all the shite we’ve seen and witnessed over the past 6 1/2 decades?

    link to wwi.lib.byu.edu

    C’mon Mondoweiss, you can do better than this.

  8. lysias
    April 30, 2012, 3:37 pm

    In November 1917, war hysteria was at its height in Britain. Britain very much feared losing the First World War at that point.

    • PeaceThroughJustice
      April 30, 2012, 4:12 pm

      Jeffrey Blankfort posted this here a while back. It’s a British cabinet paper from 1923, dealing with future policy in Palestine–

      ‘British policy in Palestine during the past five years has been based upon the Balfour Declaration of November 1917….

      ‘Briefly stated, the object [of the Declaration] was to enlist the sympathies on the allied side of influential Jews and Jewish organizations all over the world….It is arguable that the negotiations with the Zionists, which had been in progress for many months before the Declaration was actually published, did, in fact, have considerable effect in advancing the date in which the United States Government intervened in the war. However that may be, it must always be remembered that the Declaration was made at a time of extreme peril to the cause of the Allies…. The Balfour Declaration was a war measure…designed to secure tangible benefits which it was hoped could contribute to the ultimate victory of the Allies. These benefits may or may not have been worth securing and may or may not have been actually secured; but the objections to going back on a promise made under such conditions are obvious. The Jews would naturally regard it as an act of baseness if, having appealed to them in our hour of peril, we were to throw them over when the danger was past.’”

      quoted in “Palestine Papers 1917-1922 Seeds of Conflict.” by Doreen Ingrams, published by Braziller 1973 (p. 173)

      A similar point is made in Lloyd George’s memoirs–
      link to mailstar.net

      • Blake
        April 30, 2012, 5:43 pm

        COMMAND PAPER of 1922
        “Unauthorized statements have been made to the effect that the purpose in view is to create a wholly Jewish Palestine. Phrases have been used such as that `Palestine is to become as Jewish as England is English.’ His Majesty’s Government regard any such expectation as impracticable and have no such aim in view. Nor have they at any time contemplated …. the disappearance or the subordination of the Arabic population, language or culture in Palestine. They would draw attention to the fact that the terms of the (Balfour) Declaration referred to do not contemplate that Palestine as a whole should be converted into a Jewish National Home, but that such a Home should be founded IN PALESTINE.”
        link to avalon.law.yale.edu

  9. Blake
    April 30, 2012, 3:39 pm

    Deir Yassin Remembered
    link to informationclearinghouse.info

  10. Kathleen
    April 30, 2012, 3:39 pm

    “Maybe this is the reason why in the final months of the “Zionist Mandate” in 1948, Imperial Britain – the “greatest Empire in history” – watched by while seven hundred thousand Palestinian Arabs were expelled, directly and indirectly from the country and over 400 villages, towns and centres had been ethnically cleansed of their indigenous inhabitants. ”

    Hey the UK did it. The US did it. Zionist did it

    • lysias
      April 30, 2012, 3:50 pm

      By 1948, Britain — or at least the Labour government then in power — had changed its mind about Zionism, which had, after all, been killing British soldiers through terrorist attacks. The reason Britain did nothing in the last months of the Mandate to prevent the Nakba was that it was under heavy pressure from Washington.

      • Blake
        April 30, 2012, 4:15 pm

        True and they did consider the safety of their troops from zionist terrorist gangs paramount. However that did not help the plight of the Palestinians who found themselves with no protection whatsoever.

  11. straightline
    April 30, 2012, 6:07 pm

    While I agree with most of the comments here about the perfidy of Albion over this matter, there are many nuances to the Balfour Declaration which need to be understood – mostly that there were Zionist lobbyists even then, and that the decision was taken by a very small group of people. It never went to Parliament.

    Here is an Australian website that ran a long series of articles on it.

    link to middleeastrealitycheck.blogspot.com

    C.P.Scott – the Guardian editor at the time had strongly Zionist sympathies. At that time the Manchester Guardian was a provincial newspaper and Manchester had a significant Jewish population (though by no means a majority), who would have been among the more educated and so more likely to be readers of the Manchester Guardian as opposed to a more popular newspaper. This doesn’t explain much, as most Jews opposed Zionism until much later.

  12. libra
    April 30, 2012, 6:13 pm

    The idea and will to plant Jewish colonisation in Palestine existed independently of the ideology of Zionism.

    In my view, the case is not made by this selective history. The author fails to mention the Manchester nexus that connects C.P. Scott, Arthur Balfour and Chaim Weizman. Nor Weizman’s contribution as a chemist to the British war effort that brought him the into the orbit of both Winston Churchill, then Lord of the Admiralty, and Lloyd George, then Minister of Munitions, and no doubt earning their gratitude.

    All this predates the Balfour declaration, which is a product both of personal relationships such as these and the historical circumstances of the First World War, not least the desperate need of the British to secure the involvement of the United States.

    Ultimately, this post is yet another attempt to convince us that Israel is a colonial project of the West, rather than an independent, self-serving Zionist entity that manipulates whatever external power it can to secure it’s survival as an aggressive, expansionist, regional power.

    But the post reminds us of one historical lesson; that what are regarded as “progressive” or “leftist” views are a product of their time and quite malleable.

  13. straightline
    April 30, 2012, 7:21 pm

    Here is an interesting Guardian article from 2011 by its ombudsman

    link to guardian.co.uk

    I wish that other of the mainstream media were as fastidious when it comes to prejudice of all kinds.

  14. Mikesailor
    May 1, 2012, 10:15 am

    Perhaps it would be instructive to remember the circumstances surrounding Balfour, and the propaganda required to ‘sell’ it. At the time, Great Britain was bleeding from fighting WWI, both with the slaughter of thousands of British troops and the staggering economic costs. The Brititsh leadership saw Balfour as a ‘two-fer’. It would receive needed financial support from the Zionists and possibly get the US into the war using the slavish support of Zionist-leaning Jewish-owned media in the US; and would drive a wedge into the German Jewish support of the German military between the Zionists and the non-zionists. Try reading Lord Montagu’s letter decrying Balfour asking whether he was to be considered an ‘English Jew’ or a ‘Jewish Englishman’.
    Both of these war aims succeeded beyond Balfour’s wildest dreams. The US media and Jewish population which, at the beginning of the war sided with the Germans or was neutral, immediately enlisted in the Allied cause resulting in the US entering the war on the Allied side. And Britain received an infusion of cash and credit to continue their participation in WWI.
    Although the German Jewish population continued to support the German military, (look at the figures showing Jewish participation in the German military and contrast it with the figures showing Jewish participation on the Allied side, there really isn’t any comparison, the Allied Jewish participation was miniscule) it unfortunately set up the scapegoating of Jews upon Hitler’s rise to power. That was the legacy of Balfour. Is it really any wonder that the Guardian, and other so-called ‘leftist’ media didn’t use any excuse they could dredge up to promote Balfour at the time? Not if you examine the circumstances they were dealing with.

    • Woody Tanaka
      May 1, 2012, 11:02 am

      “…it unfortunately set up the scapegoating of Jews upon Hitler’s rise to power. That was the legacy of Balfour.”

      Oh, you can lay a lot of things at the feet of Balfour, but saying that it (or the Zionist impulses behind it) were responsible, even indirectly, in Hitler’s rise to power is not one of them.

  15. piotr
    May 1, 2012, 11:35 am

    I would stress that until 1950-ties the British (and French, American etc.) policies were based on the notion of superiority of Europeans over other races. South African Act of 1912 paved the way to Apartheid, in conjunction with settlement policies in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Kenia. This is the context of Balfour declaration.

    One should compare unequivocal South African Act with quite ambigous Balfour, San Remo etc. The first gave clear (if implicit) advantage to “highly civilized” Dutch and English. The second was giving advantage to Europeanized Semites (mostly from “less civilized” part of Europe from British perspective) over native Semites, which motivated ambiguities, second thoughts etc.

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