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British conference kicks off campaign calling for apology and reparations for the Balfour declaration

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The land of Lord Balfour hosted a rare but much needed conference on his infamous 1917 declaration. The event was convened by the appropriately named organisation, the Palestine Return Centre (PRC) on the 19th January 2013 in London. The aim of the meeting was to inaugurate a campaign for British “mistakes” and to “make reparations to Palestinians who endured human rights abuses at British hands.” 

It is rare because not only is the ‘Balfour Declaration’ and its brutal ramifications greatly understudied but the entire period of British total military and political dominance of the Middle East between 1917 and 1948 is more or less whitewashed from contemporary discussion. Yet, if we are to fully understand today’s Middle East there is probably no more an important period than this.

The declaration let it be known Britain’s “view with favour” the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine and its commitment to use “best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this objective.”

It is only natural the speakers at the conference presented their points of view on the Balfour Declaration based around their research interests. Dr. Steven Sizer’s paper was very interesting on the theological and ideological roots of the declaration. He provided the attendees with a sterling and informative introduction to nineteenth century Christian reformation thought. According to Sizer it is within this context that we need to mainly understand the British advocacy for the restoration of Jews in Palestine.

Only, in passing did Sizer insinuate on why British imperialism actually decided to issue the Balfour Declaration. He mentioned that Napoleon in the early nineteenth century had designs on the British imperialism’s main possession, India and thought the best way to attempt to wrestle this prize from the British was to establish a route through Palestine into India.

What was lacking in Sizer’s paper was the then (1917) strategic significance of the Suez Canal to the British Empire’s interests. At the turn of the twentieth century 80% of the shipping going through the Canal belonged to the Empire. The Canal had reduced the travelling period from India to the British Isles from three months to a month. It is not surprising that one British imperialist referred to the canal as the “jugular vein of the British Empire.”

What motivated the publication of Lord Balfour’s declaration was security for the Suez Canal. This can be easily discerned from reading the editorials in C.P.Scott’s Guardian newspaper and the New Statesman weekly political magazine. The British rightly thought that the indigenous Arabs of the region did not want to be occupied by them and therefore the Zionists who had been advocating for a homeland as a remedy to European anti-semitic pogroms were at hand to fulfil the role as the potential praetorian guard of the Suez Canal.

There was a congruence of British and Zionist interests. Security of the canal was the prime motivator for British Imperialism and therefore the Balfour Declaration. The Zionist were nothing but a tool to safeguard the Empire’s strategic and military interests and they could have easily been ignored if this interest had not existed.

Other speakers presented interesting papers but my focus here is commenting on two further points raised at conference that need to be clarified. 

Nasim Ahmed, the conference chair, mentioned in his introductory remarks that the Balfour Declaration committed itself and placed the fifty to sixty thousand Jews already in Palestine on an equal footing with 700,000 indigenous Palestinians. It prioritised this minority rather than the 95% majority. This is not quite correct. The Balfour Declaration was addressed to the Zionist in Europe not to the Jews who were already in Palestine at this time, who some indeed where indigenous to the land. Not many people know how many of the Jews in Palestine in 1917 were also Zionists.

Secondly, Dr. Ghada Karmi in her presentation seemed to imply that the Peel report’s conclusions issued in 1939 advocating partition was a result of Germany’s persecution of Jews in the 1930’s when in fact it was a response to the Palestinian uprising of 1936. The reasons behind the launch of the enquiry that led to the report’s findings is the denial of democracy to Palestinians as were spelt out by the British colonial secretary William Ormsby-Gore in parliament,

 “…The Arabs demand a complete stoppage of all Jewish immigration, a complete stoppage of all sales of land, and the transfer of the Government of Palestine…to what they call a National Government responsible to an elected democratic assembly. Those are their three demands, and quite frankly, those demands cannot possibly be conceded.”1

The British call to partition Palestine in the Peel report in the late 1930’s is firmly rooted in Britain’s denial of democracy and military subjugation of Palestinians. Indeed, this is how “best endeavours to facilitate the achievement” of a Jewish national home as espoused by the Balfour Declaration finally manifested itself.

It was not mentioned at the conference that it was during this uprising that the British taught and trained the Hagana (Zionist paramilitary force) everything it knew about crushing Palestinian resistance to the Balfour Declaration. Maybe it was beyond the remit of this conference to do so.

Having said this, it is indisputable, as Dr. Karmi argued, that there was an amalgam of reasons behind the issue of the declaration. Winston Churchill outlined some of these reasons, which included allusions to anti-semitic discourse. But chief amongst these reasons were the interests of the Empire.

However, it was pointed out that Britain is complicit in the current Palestinian predicament by virtue of its past role and it is for this reason that Britain should apologise to Palestinians. But the unvarnished historical facts are that the British were the principal state power behind the implementation of the Balfour Declaration. It was they who issued it; it was they, that denied democracy to the Palestinians between 1917 and 1939; it was they, that then crushed the Palestinian uprising when democracy was denied; it was they, that trained up the Zionist forces in the inter-war period and it was they, that then watched by as 400,000 Palestinians and 225 towns and villages were ethnically cleansed during the Mandate period which ended in May 1948. Eventually, the Zionist continued to ethnically cleanse Palestine after this date leading to a total of 700,000 Palestinians and over 400 towns and villages ethnically cleansed by the end of the year. In other words, Napoleon’s geo-political nineteenth century ambitions are not an issue or a factor in the morally watertight call for retribution from the British.

More so, it needs to be emphasised that to argue the British were “complicit” is a cruel understatement of what actually took hold of Palestine between 1917 and 1948 and what is required is far more than an apology.

1 Commons Debates, Fifth Series, Vol. 313, Column 1324, 19th June 1936.

About Nu'man Abd al-Wahid

Nu’man Abd al-Wahid is a Yemeni-English independent researcher specialising in the political relationship between the British state and the Arab World. His main focus is on how the United Kingdom has historically maintained its political interests in the Arab World. A full collection of essays can be accessed at Twitter handle: @churchillskarma.

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48 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    January 24, 2013, 10:32 am

    UK has much to answer for, as does the USA and many other countries. Modern open and notorious OKing of torture and kidnapping (“rendition” contrary to national extradition laws), to say nothing of remote assassination (by, for instance, drones) are ALL current events which these nations should apologize (and more) for.

    OK, Balfour, not a current event. Yes, it is high time that UK acknowledged that there were people in Palestine in 1917 and that allowing and encouraging Jewish unlimited immigration threatened them, whatever the declaration may have said in limitation. (“Nothing shall be done” blah blah to existing non-Jewish population)

    But, better, would be to have UK state its firm and principled determination AS FROM TODAY that Israel will, AS FROM TODAY, conduct each of its occupations — in West Bank, Gaza, and Golan, for so long as such occupation continues in force — in compliance with international law and agreements and, in particular and in partial fulfillment of that compliance, will remove all settlers, all walls, and all settlement buildings which are present now or in future (during such occupation) and complete such removal within one year.

    And the UK should announce in advance the sanctions it intends to unilaterally impose on Israel in the event that (and for so long as) Israel fails to comply with UK’s demand.

    To say anything less (as UK, USA, and the whole world have done, sadly) is to HONOR Israel’s non-compliance with I/L and to refuse the duty imposed by each nation’s undertaking to “ensure respect” for the Geneva conventions “under all circumstances”, language which has so far in the case of Israel been honored only in the breach.

  2. Hostage
    January 24, 2013, 10:57 am

    Here’s a link to the subsection from the full text of the Commons Debate containing William Ormsby-Gore’s remarks:

    • Bumblebye
      January 24, 2013, 12:11 pm

      I tried twice. The site k.o-ed my (elderly, decrepit) computer. Twice. Darn it.

    • talknic
      January 24, 2013, 5:38 pm

      Hostage — The whole is one chunky debate

    • Inanna
      January 24, 2013, 10:12 pm

      Thanks for that link Hostage.

      I can personally refute some of the falsities uttered in this debate. For example, I know dozens of men and women of my father’s and grandfather’s generation from Lebanon and Jordan who went to Palestine (many before WW1) and returned to their homes (in part because of the strife in Palestine under the mandate).

      Good to know that pro-zionist debate was just as fact-based then as it is now.

  3. FreddyV
    January 24, 2013, 11:30 am

    People ask me why I’m obsessed with the I/P conflict and support Palestine.

    Initially it was when I began to learn about the lie that is Christian Zionism.

    Learning further about the conflict made me realise that Britain had a large hand in causing it.

    Good to see that fact being exposed. Hopefully it’ll reach the wider public sufficiently enough that our politicians are forced to apologise for Britain’s part and they’ll start taking a stronger stance against Israeli oppression.

  4. Citizen
    January 24, 2013, 11:35 am

    “The Balfour Declaration was addressed to the Zionist in Europe not to the Jews who were already in Palestine at this time”

    It was also addressed to Wilson and his Zionists handlers. England needed US military help desperately, not to mention it was deeply in debt to Jewish American business and bankers.

    The “dough boys” who went over there, were just that, totally expendable. Hicks like Sergeant York.

    • RoHa
      January 24, 2013, 8:16 pm

      “England needed US military help desperately, not to mention it was deeply in debt to Jewish American business and bankers.”

      Britain was deeply in debt to Jewish American business and bankers, not just England.

      But the US military aid was very useful, but not desperately needed. By the time the US forces arrived, the British Empire forces and France had already stopped the German army. The British forces were being reinforced by reserves from Britain and troops from the Palestine and Italy campaigns. American forces took part in the campaigns* that led to the break through, and played a valuable role, but it was British Empire and French forces that led the actual break through of the Hindenburg Line.

      (*Ineptly at first. They refused to learn from British advisers, and tried the tactics that the British had used in 1914. )

      • lysias
        January 29, 2013, 7:23 pm

        The arrival of the American troops played a major role in the breakdown of the morale of the German army that led to those breakthroughs on the Western Front.

  5. Citizen
    January 24, 2013, 11:38 am

    Lord Balfour addressed his notorious letter to Rothschild. Think about it.
    Then think about how the way WW1 ended led directly to WW2. Iran will be a repeat, leading to WW3.

    The only big fly in the usual Zionist ointment is China. It’s certainly not America or EU.

  6. Bumblebye
    January 24, 2013, 12:26 pm

    Alan Hart spoke at the same conference, and has posted the text of his speech to his website:
    He thinks the revival and renewal of the Palestine National Council, in which diaspora Palestinians around the world would have representation (as they used to do) could have some impact through a unified voice able to speak to power.

  7. seafoid
    January 24, 2013, 12:38 pm

    Another factor was the complete contempt the British had for non white people in 1917. The Palestinians had no rights as they were alien. Same as their status now under Zionism.

  8. DICKERSON3870
    January 24, 2013, 1:00 pm

    RE: “What motivated the publication of Lord Balfour’s declaration was security for the Suez Canal. . . Having said this, it is indisputable, as Dr. Karmi argued, that there was an amalgam of reasons behind the issue of the declaration. Winston Churchill outlined some of these reasons, which included allusions to anti-semitic discourse*.”

    MY COMMENT: I’m not surprised by Churchill’s anti-Semitism [Churchill’s family home & birthplace], but one of Brandeis’ arguments in the U.S. in favor of Zionism was that it would be better for the Jews to go to Palestine than for the Jews to cause trouble [of the Russian revolution type (i.e. communism), I assume] in other countries [in Europe and perhaps elsewhere].
    Shame on Brandeis!

    “Zionism versus Bolshevism”, by Winston Churchill, Illustrated Sunday Herald (London), February 8, 1920, pg. 5

    [EXCERPT] . . . The National Russian Jews, in spite of the disabilities under which they have suffered, have managed to play an honourable and useful part in the national life even of Russia. As bankers and industrialists they have strenuously promoted the development of Russia’s economic resources and they were foremost in the creation of those remarkable organisations, the Russian Co-operative Societies. In politics their support has been given, for the most part, to liberal and progressive movements, and they have been among the staunchest upholders of friendship with France and Great Britain.

    International Jews.

    In violent opposition to all this sphere of Jewish effort rise the schemes of the International Jews. The adherents of this sinister confederacy are mostly men reared up among the unhappy populations of countries where Jews are persecuted on account of their race. Most, if not all, of them have forsaken the faith of their forefathers, and divorced from their minds all spiritual hopes of the next world. This movement among the Jews is not new. From the days of Spartacus-Weishaupt to those of Karl Marx, and down to Trotsky (Russia), Bela Kun (Hungary), Rosa Luxembourg (Germany), and Emma Goldman (United States), this world-wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilisation and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality, has been steadily growing. It played, as a modern writer, Mrs. Webster, has so ably shown, a definitely recognisable part in the tragedy of the French Revolution. It has been the mainspring of every subversive movement during the Nineteenth Century; and now at last this band of extraordinary personalities from the underworld of the great cities of Europe and America have gripped the Russian people by the hair of their heads and have become practically the undisputed masters of that enormous empire.

    Terrorist Jews.

    There is no need to exaggerate the part played in the creation of Bolshevism and in the actual bringing about of the Russian Revolution by these international and for the most part atheistical Jews. It is certainly a very great one; it probably outweighs all others. With the notable exception of Lenin, the majority of the leading figures are Jews. Moreover, the principal inspiration and driving power comes from the Jewish leaders. Thus Tchitcherin, a pure Russian, is eclipsed by his nominal subordinate Litvinoff, and the influence of Russians like Bukharin or Lunacharski cannot be compared with the power of Trotsky, or of Zinovieff, the Dictator of the Red Citadel (Petrograd), or of Krassin or Radek – all Jews. In the Soviet institutions the predominance of Jews is even more astonishing. And the prominent, if not indeed the principal, part in the system of terrorism applied by the Extraordinary Commissions for Combating Counter-Revolution has been taken by Jews, and in some notable cases by Jewesses. The same evil prominence was obtained by Jews in the brief period of terror during which Bela Kun ruled in Hungary. The same phenomenon has been presented in Germany (especially in Bavaria), so far as this madness has been allowed to prey upon the temporary prostration of the German people. Although in all these countries there are many non-Jews every whit as bad as the worst of the Jewish revolutionaries, the part played by the latter in proportion to their numbers in the population is astonishing. . .


    P.S. And shame on Netanyahu for having a picture of the anti-Semitic Winston Churchill on a shelf behind his desk! ! !

    • DICKERSON3870
      January 24, 2013, 1:12 pm

      RE: “[T]his world-wide conspiracy for the overthrow of
      civilisation and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality . . . ~ Sir Winston Churchill (from his above-excerpted anti-Semitic screed)

      VOLTAIRE: “The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor.”
      ● Churchill’s ancestral home & birthplace –

    • MRW
      January 24, 2013, 11:45 pm


      Brandeis’ POV about revolutionary Jews causing trouble was nothing new. Herzl held it, too, according to (Jewish) historian Gabriel Kolko.

      Vienna was surely the most intellectually creative place in the world at the end of the 19th century. Economics, art, philosophy, political theories on the Right as well as Left, psychoanalysis – Vienna gave birth or influenced most of them. Ideas had to be very original to be noticed, and most were. We must understand the unique and rare innovative environment in which Theodore Herzl, an assimilated Hungarian Jew who became the founder of Zionism, functioned. For a time he was also a German nationalist and went through phases admiring Richard Wagner and Martin Luther. Herzl was many things, including a very efficient organizer, but he was also very conservative and feared that Jews without a state – especially those in Russia – would become revolutionaries.

      A state based on religion rather than the will of all of its inhabitants was at the end of the 19th century not only a medieval notion but also a very eccentric idea, one Herzl concocted in the rarified environment of cafes where ideas were produced with scant regard for reality.

      This was also a common fear too within the hegemon of its day, Great Britain. The ones who raised the biggest stink about these possible revolutionaries during the last of the 19th C and pre-war 20th C in England were the rich landed gentry Jews who did not appreciate ‘smelly, uncouth, uneducated’ Eastern European Jews inundating England as pests to be cared for. They were the wrong class, and they shouldn’t be allowed to disrupt our way of life. They can’t speak the King’s English, they have no table manners (and you probably can’t teach them to hold a fork, darling), and they reflect badly on our prosperous successful group who were here first, and who actually know how to work (bankers, industrialists, and international traders).

      Balfour was doing them all a favor by sending them off to a sandbox somewhere. You can only imagine the conversations during great weekends (Fri-Tues) at the country houses in Surrey. Brandeis belonged to that group of Eastern Americans (rich Jews and WASPs) who were enamored with anything British in those days, including affecting a partially British speech pattern.

      • Hostage
        January 25, 2013, 4:33 am

        Brandeis’ POV about revolutionary Jews causing trouble was nothing new. Herzl held it, too, according to (Jewish) historian Gabriel Kolko

        He wasn’t too happy with Jewish capitalists either

        We are what the Ghetto made us. We have attained pre-eminence in finance, because mediaeval conditions drove us to it. The same process is now being repeated. We are again being forced into finance, now it is the stock exchange, by being kept out of other branches of economic activity. Being on the stock exchange, we are consequently exposed afresh to contempt. At the same time we continue to produce an abundance of mediocre intellects who find no outlet, and this endangers our social position as much as does our increasing wealth. Educated Jews without means are now rapidly becoming Socialists. Hence we are certain to suffer very severely in the struggle between classes, because we stand in the most exposed position in the camps of both Socialists and capitalists.

        — Herzl, The Jewish State (1896), II. The Jewish Question

  9. Walid
    January 24, 2013, 1:45 pm

    The British weren’t alone in “using” the Jews, the French had been at it 118 years before Balfour did it with his declaration. Henry Laurens wrote about it in Book I of La Question de Palestine, “1799-1922 L’invention de la Terre sainte”:

    A couple of months after the siege of Acre started, the semi-official French paper “Le Moniteur universel” wrote on the 3rd Prairial, Year VII (May 22, 1799):

    “Political, Turkey, Constantinople, the 28th Germinal (April 17th, 1799):
    Bonaparte had a proclamation published in which he invites all the Jews of Asia and Africa to come and serve under his flags to re-establish the ancient Jerusalem. He has already armed many of them, and their batallions are threatening Allepo.”

    That announcement was repeated in the edition of 9 Messidor (June 27, 1799):

    “Of the probable conquest of the Ottoman Empire by Bonaparte. Awaiting confirmation of these happy news. If they are premature, we would like to believe that one day they will happen. It’s not only to return to the Jews their Jerusalem that Bonaparte has conquered Syria.”

    Not much difference between British and French abuse of Arabs and Jews. Not much difference between what was happening back then and today in Libya, Syria, Mali, and so on with the exception that now the Jews are on the same team as the British and the French.

    • Mooser
      January 24, 2013, 5:08 pm

      Very interesting, Walid, thanks. I knew nothing of it,(Bonaparte’s attempt at Zionism, I guess you could call it, maybe)) and now I’d like to know more. Thanks again.

      • Walid
        January 25, 2013, 1:10 am

        Mooser, there was a controversy over these 2 publications that appeared in the “Moniteur universel”. It seems that the proclamation/invitation to the Jews by Bonaparte was nowhere to be found. Bonaparte himself never elaborated or discussed it in his writings but he did not distance himself from it either and it was most probably an initiative undertaken by his PR people without his knowledge to drum up support from the Jews and to capitalize on the strong millenarism of the day. It served the purposes of messianic Jews like the Frankists who rushed to have the supposed proclamation published in Hebrew because they couldn’t find the original French version but this translation was discredited by the rabbis that wanted no part of any premature and sinful return to Zion.

        I brought it up to show that Balfour in 1917 wasn’t the first to use the Jews and that the French (with or without Bonaparte’s knowledge or consent) had been at it since 1799. Protestant end-timers and talk of helping the Jews get back to Jerusalem goes back even earlier to the days of the 16th century Puritans.

      • MHughes976
        January 25, 2013, 8:23 am

        The earliest ‘Anglo-Zionist’ book-length publication that I know of is Henry Finch’s ‘Great Restauration’ of 1621. Finch was a Member of Parliament and a distinguished lawyer with a knowledge of Hebrew, which he had studied at Oxford. An establishment figure like that would not have developed ideas just off the top of his head and must have been reflecting a way of thought that had been growing in Oxford for some time – so yes, back into the 16th century.
        Some say that Finch’s followers founded the villages called Salem in New England though I haven’t been able to find confirmation of that.

      • Walid
        January 25, 2013, 9:09 pm

        MHughes and Mooser, thge link provided by talknic below discusses the “Great Restauration” as well as some of the French and other implications in the millenianism that goes back to the Puritans; here’s the talknic link again:

      • MRW
        January 29, 2013, 2:22 pm


        Sir Walter Scott writes about Napoleon doing it (three-volume work?)–Jerusalem being all the rage if you wanted to invoke the exotic conquerers–but attributes it more to a cynical Napoleon needing dough from the Rothschilds for his wars, since the latter had supplied Hessian soldiers to the Brits for their wars at 8 Pounds per. Don’t have a link and too lazy to search through my old drives. The Rothschild/Hessian soldiers stuff is buried in attachments to Benjamin Franklin’s papers at the British Museum. Again, I have copies of this on another drive.

    • January 24, 2013, 6:07 pm

      I may be wrong but I remember it as being two (or four?) battalions, essentially recruited from non-Turks; heavily Egyptian, with perhaps a thin sprinkling of Jewish Arabs. Worth double-checking on the source documents.

  10. yrn
    January 24, 2013, 4:24 pm

    Some News regarding Steven Sizer…….
    Britain’s Jewish leadership has made a formal complaint to the Church of England about one of its clergymen Reverend Steven Sizer, accusing him of producing anti-Semitic material and posting links to anti-Semitic websites on his blog.
    Reverend Steven Sizer is “an avid reader and publicizer of websites that are openly and virulently anti-Semitic, and Rev. Sizer has himself descended into making anti-Semitic statements,” according to the complaint, lodged by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the community’s main representative organization.

    • annie
      January 24, 2013, 5:37 pm
      • January 24, 2013, 6:15 pm

        What is “scary” here, Annie, apart from the slime thrown around by that &*&^%$ “yrn”, as if he were in an AIPAC tribune?

      • annie
        January 25, 2013, 1:52 am

        thrown around by that &*&^%$ “yrn”, as if he were in an AIPAC tribune?

        oh, it’s much filthier than that!!! he stole it word for word from:

        i swear!!!! the only originality(if one could call it that) was the thrilling/not first line ( Some News regarding…….) when what he/she/yrn reeeeaally meant was SOME GOSSIP! and he/she/yrn missed the very best part! the headline! they called him a ….VICAR!

        sorry. i probably got carried away.

      • January 25, 2013, 8:24 am

        “it’s much filthier than that!!! he stole it word for word from:link to”
        No no, there’s no theft… both are vomitive agents of the same Propaganda Ministry and that should be the material they have been handed by the current Goebbels.

      • john h
        john h
        January 24, 2013, 11:32 pm

        Scary perhaps to yrn, not to you annie. Anti-Semitic statements my foot!!

      • annie
        January 25, 2013, 1:59 am

        Anti-Semitic statements my foot!!

        no? you don’t say..i’m shocked john. not our yrn. he/she/wtf* would never stoop so low. or.. would he/she??? here’s an important clue:

        i’m bedaffled.

        * w stands for ‘who’

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      January 24, 2013, 6:17 pm

      Always ready with the libels, aren’t you yarn?

    • Walid
      January 25, 2013, 8:51 pm

      About the news regarding Steven Sizer that disturbed yrn, this was part of a Zionist smear campaign to discredit him becase of his pro-Palestinian activities.

      This is how Rev Sizer explained it:

      “… In January (2012) the Jewish Chronicle published an article about me, “Bishop: anti-Zionist vicar ‘no antisemite’ ” concerning criticisms made for a link to an article “Israel’s Window to Bomb Iran” by Ray McGovern. His article (McGovern’s), written exclusively for Consortium News, had been reposted within days on hundreds of websites, including a racist website, the UglyTruth. I made the mistake of linking to that copy on my Facebook in October rather than the original. When the unfortunate link was pointed out to me in January, I removed it straight away.

      Now it transpires that the Jewish Chronicle itself has allowed Carlos Contiglia, the BNP candidate for the London Mayoral elections, to blog under their name from 12th September 2011, just three days after the BNP announced that their Press Officer, a member since 2001, would be standing for Mayor.

      Yesterday they pulled his four articles after MPACUK exposed the link and Richard Silverstein blogged about it “UK Jewish Chronicle Hosts BNP White Supremacist Blogger”. Were the JC really unaware or just complacent to allow the BNP Press Officer to blog on their website for seven months? Maybe they should conduct a poll to see if the editor should be sacked.

      Got linked to this via Rehmat’s World blog that’s also discussing Stephen Sizer today on another issue.

    • MRW
      January 29, 2013, 2:28 pm


      Don’t you dare slime Reverend Steven Sizer. How dare you.

  11. Mooser
    January 24, 2013, 5:14 pm

    I have heard, when I was listening, of two things: The Balfour Letter and The Balfour Declaration. Are they the same thing, or two different things?
    Or did Balfour’s letter get promoted to Declaration?
    Can someone clear this up for me? Thanks.

    • talknic
      January 24, 2013, 7:35 pm

      Mooser : The ‘letter’ was from Balfour of the British Foreign Office to Lord Rothschild informing him of a ‘declaration’ of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations

      Dear Lord Rothschild,

      I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.

      “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 the 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”.

      I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

      Yours sincerely,

      (Signed) Arthur James Balfour

      31 years later in another Declaration


  12. Mooser
    January 24, 2013, 5:26 pm

    It’s amazing, just absolutely flabberghasting how Jews managed to manipulate the rest of the world into facilitating their “core drivers”! Almost makes me think that maybe my “core drivers” are as good as anybody else’s. But, alas, it’s not quite convincing enough. Oh well.

    • john h
      john h
      January 24, 2013, 11:44 pm

      Personal and political agendas go a long way when tied up with a massive guilt complex, and a history of collusion to keep under the radar.

      ““Half of writing history is hiding the truth”
      ― Joss Whedon

      “Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive.”
      ― Walter Scott, Marmion

  13. JeffB
    January 24, 2013, 6:37 pm

    England had a tough war they were losing and they made 3 sets of conflicting promises:

    1) Husayn-McMahon agreement with the natives to give them freedom from the Ottomans
    2) Balfour declaration with the Zionists to get Jews in Palestine and elsewhere on board
    3) An agreement with France to carve up the Ottoman territories including Palestine

    (3) was the agreement they by and large intended to keep. Sure there were Christian Zionists who genuinely supported (2) but Britain had every intention and tried rather hard to break their Balfour promises as well.

    As for Britain’s responsibility, all over the empire tribes that got along with the British did better than those that didn’t. There is nothing unique about the Palestinian situation in this. And there is nothing different about it today, tribes that get along well with the Americans do better than those that don’t.

  14. Walid
    January 25, 2013, 9:25 pm

    About the role religion played in the Balfour Declaration, it was discussed in Rev Sizer’s contribution at the conference; part of it taken from talknic’s link:

    “… 8. The Balfour Declaration and Promise of Jewish Homeland
    Probably the most significant British politician of all, however, was Arthur James Balfour (1848-1930), who pioneered the Balfour Declaration in 1917. Like Lloyd George, Balfour had been brought up in an evangelical home and was sympathetic to Zionism because of the influence of dispensational teaching.26 He regarded history as ‘an instrument for carrying out a Divine purpose.’27 From 1905 Chaim Weizmann, then a professor of chemistry at Manchester University, began to meet regularly with Balfour to discuss the implementation of that goal. At Balfour’s invitation, in July 1917, the Zionist Organisation offered a suggested draft to Balfour:

    ‘1. His Majesty’s Government accepts the principle that Palestine should be reconstituted as the National Home of the Jewish people.
    2. His Majesty’s Government will use its best endeavours to secure the achievement of this object and will discuss the necessary methods and means with the Zionist Organization.’28

    Balfour amended this to emphasize the prerogative of the British government. On the 2nd November 1917, Lord Balfour made public the final draft of the letter written to Lord Rothschild on the 31st October which became known as the Balfour Declaration:

    ‘His Majesty’s Government views 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, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done, which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish Communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.’29

    Balfour was in fact already committed to the Zionist programme out of theological conviction and had no intention of consulting with the indigenous Arab population.

    In a letter to Lord Curzon, written in 1919, Balfour insisted somewhat cynically:
    ‘For in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country …the Four Great Powers are committed to Zionism. And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires or prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land … I do not think that Zionism will hurt the Arabs … in short, so far as Palestine is concerned, the Powers have made no statement of fact which is not admittedly wrong, and no declaration of policy which, at least in the letter, they have not always intended to violate.’30

    For full Rev Sizer presentation:

    • Walid
      January 25, 2013, 9:33 pm

      “… And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires or prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land …”
      (AJ Balfour)

      That should take care of the ” land without a people” argument. And that was in 1917.

      • Hostage
        January 26, 2013, 7:10 am

        That should take care of the ” land without a people” argument. And that was in 1917.

        British historian Arnold Toynbee was a member of Balfour’s Foreign Office Political Intelligence Department. In 1973 he told an interviewer:

        “I will say straight out, Balfour was a wicked man. He was wicked because he used the League of Nations mandate to rob the Arabs of their right to self-determination. The Arabs had no political experience and they were thrown into the most subtle and intricate political situation you can imagine. They were clearly unprepared for it. This is part of the monstrosity of the whole affair.

        See Avi Shlaim, The Balfour Declaration And its Consequences

        The entire memo that you cited is available online and its contents taken together are even worse than you’ve described. Immediately after the passage you quoted, Balfour explicitly admitted that the hidden Zionist agenda could not be reconciled with the Allied declaration regarding Arab independence, the Covenant of the League of Nations, or the instructions given to the King-Crane Commission (note: the terms of the Mandate hadn’t been written yet, but it deliberately violated those too).

        He had already spelled-out that the Allies had unmistakably promised the Arabs their independence, except for the reservations regarding French territorial interests in Syria that were mentioned in the McMahon-Hussein Correspondence:

        In 1915 we promised the Arabs independence; and the promise was unqualified, except in respect of certain territorial reservations. In 1918 the promise was by implication repeated; for no other interpretation can, I think, be placed by any unbiased reader on the phrases in the declaration about a ‘National Government’, and ‘an Administration deriving its authority from the initiative and free choice of the native population’.

        But the same Balfour memo listed those French territorial interests in Syria together with Palestine and Mesopotamia as three different geographical areas (note: the San Remo conference terminated the French Protectorate of Jerusalem altogether):

        They [Sykes and Picot] started from the view that France had ancient interests and aspirations in Western Syria; that Britain had obvious claims in Baghdad and Southern Mesopotamia; that Palestine had a unique historic position; and that if these three areas were to be separately controlled, it was obviously expedient that none of the vast and vague territory lying between them [i.e. Transjordan], which had no national organisation, should be under any other foreign influences.

        Balfour also lamented the fact that the Allies had agreed to let the Arabs establish any borders for themselves:

        “In our promises with regard to the frontiers of the new Arab States we do not seem to have been more fortunate than in our promises about their independence. In 1915 it was the Sharif of Mecca to whom the task of delimitation was to have been confided, nor were any restrictions placed upon his discretion in this matter, except certain reservations intended to protect French interests in Western Syria and Cilicia.

        –See Nº. 242. Memorandum by Mr. Balfour (Paris) respecting Syria, Palestine, and Mesopotamia’ [132187/2117/44A]

        I’ve commented elsewhere that Balfour attended the meeting of the Council of Four in Paris where Lloyd George explained that the proposed League of Nations Mandates could not be employed to break the treaty obligations to the Arabs.

        Balfour was the Foreign Secretary who circulated the Foreign Office memos to the War Cabinet which explained that Palestine was included in the territory Great Britain had pledged to the Sharif of Mecca and that it should be Arab and independent in the future. One of those papers explained that the Sharif Husein was only willing to accept Syke’s and Picot’s proposal regarding foreign advisors and spheres of influence, subject to the understanding that they were to have no executive powers whatsoever. See pdf file page 9 of 21 in:
        Former Reference: GT 6185
        Title: British Commitments to King Husein.
        Author: Political Intelligence Department, Foreign Office
        Date November 1918
        Catalogue reference CAB 24/68

        In this infamous memo, Balfour admits that the Sykes-Picot Agreement did not specifically state that the advisors would have any legal authority. He nonetheless draws that inference and claims that the mandate will somehow give the advors the right to impose their dictates on the inhabitants using military force:

        But in 1916 (Sykes-Picot) the independence even of the most independent portion of the new Arab State(i.e., areas A and B) was qualified by the obligatory presence of foreign advisers; as, indeed, it is under the mandatory system of 1919. Now, by ’adviser’ these documents undoubtedly mean —though they do not say so— an adviser whose advice must be followed; and assuredly no State can be described as really independent which has habitually and normally to follow foreign advice supported, if the worst comes to the worst, by troops, aeroplanes and tanks.

        In Prof. Susan Pedersen, The Meaning of the Mandates System: An Argument, the author credits the Permanent Mandates Commission for pointing out to the French and British that carrying out bombardments against the indigenous populations did not come under the heading of “tutelage”.

    • traintosiberia
      January 26, 2013, 10:56 am

      So the draft was written by the Zionist. Things have not changed much. A lot of bills in US Congress are written by the Zionist .They are enshrined in Iran , Iraq,Libya,and Syria sanction acts and accountability act. Tom Lantos gloated in 2007 with menacing tone against the ” oil baron ” and reminded who carried more power in shaping US trade policy in ME. These bills and acts are then presented to US public as evidence of the US public support to the Zionist activities .

  15. traintosiberia
    January 26, 2013, 10:50 am

    So where does this piece of information or misinformation fit that Chaim Weizman when asked what he wanted in return for the acetylene supply to the H .M. of UK in times of war replied that the Jews wanted establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine?

    • Shmuel
      January 29, 2013, 2:24 am

      Chaim Weizman when asked what he wanted in return for the acetylene supply to the H .M. of UK in times of war replied that the Jews wanted establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine?

      Historians such as Tom Segev (One Palestine Complete) and Shlomo Sand (The Invention of the Land of Israel) have also provided far more convincing explanations of British policy at the time. Sand calls the acetone story “naive”, although he doesn’t rule out the possibility that it may have been a contributing “factor”.

  16. Walid
    January 26, 2013, 2:39 pm

    “The Arabs had no political experience …” (Arnold Toynbee)

    That’s how it was 96 years ago; they still don’t and most probably never will. Unless and until they do, Israel will continue its joy ride and the Palestinians will remain in the crawl space.

    Thanks for the interesting post, Hostage.

    • talknic
      January 29, 2013, 7:01 pm

      //“The Arabs had no political experience …” (Arnold Toynbee)

      That’s how it was 96 years ago; they still don’t and most probably never will. //

      They had no ‘Western’ style political experience. More to the point, they didn’t have Western style weaponry.

      However the Arabs states have stuck to the letter of Western imposed law throughout. The ‘West’ on the other hand, has done everything in its power to squirm out of adhering to the law.

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