Showing posts with label Balfour Declaration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Balfour Declaration. Show all posts

Friday, November 02, 2012

The Anniversary of an Imperialist Act that Still Plagues Us

Nabeel Shaath writing in the Telegraph (UK):
Ninety-five years ago . . . , on November 2, 1917, British imperialism in Palestine began when Lord Balfour, the then British foreign secretary and former prime minister, sent a letter to Baron Rothschild, one of the leaders of the Zionist movement. This letter became known as the “Balfour Declaration”.

In that letter, Balfour promised British support for the Zionist programme of establishing a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. This pledge of support was made without consulting the indigenous Christian and Muslim inhabitants of Palestine, the Palestinian people. And it was made before British troops had even conquered the land.

Balfour, on behalf of Britain, promised Palestine – over which Britain had no legal right – to a people who did not even live there (of the very small community of Palestinian Jews in Palestine in 1917, very few were Zionists). And he did so with the worst of intentions: to discourage Jewish immigration to Britain. No wonder Lord Montagu, the only Jewish member of the Cabinet, opposed the declaration.
And yet, just two years earlier, Britain had committed herself to assisting the Arab nations in achieving their independence from the Ottoman Empire. [Emphasis added.]
What followed was a monstrous injustice committed against the Palestinians--the Nakba--set in motion by this British act. The Palestinians have suffered terribly at the hands of those who were intent on founding the Jewish state of Israel no matter the cost--to the Palestinians. And the rest of the world has lived with the turmoil--the constant threat of war and economic disruption--bequeathed by the British imperialists ever since.  Most of the men responsible for this crime probably died peacefully in their sleep. Justice is not guaranteed in our world.

Read the full article.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Balfour Declaration: One Deceit Among Many

Yesterday I started reading Jonathan Schneer's new The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. I learned something in the first few pages. I already knew that Britain's promise to support establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine conflicted with its earlier promise of independence to the Arabs in return for their revolt against the Turks in World War I. Here's what I did not know:
Britain's prime minister and his agents were engaged in secret maneuverings to detach the Ottoman Empire from the Central Powers. They were offering, among other inducements, that the Turkish flag could continue to fly over Palestine. [Emphasis added.]
In other words, Britain promised sovereignty over the same land to three different groups. Lord Balfour surely knew of that which he wrote when he stated in a memorandum to Foreign Secretary Lord Curzon in 1919:
[S]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.
As I say, most of our foreign policy problems today can be traced back to British imperialism.