Balfour’s Greatest of Gifts: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 27, 2017— This week Israel’s judo team was harassed and discriminated against by UAE officials when they tried to board a flight from Tel Aviv to Istanbul, en route to Abu Dhabi to participate in the Judo Grand Slam competition.
The 100-Year-Old Promise: Clifford D. May, Washington Times, Oct. 31, 2017— In theory, who doesn’t believe in self-determination, the idea, developed in the 19th century, that all nations have a right to sovereignty?
British Élites Regret Israel's Very Existence: Giulio Meotti, Arutz Sheva, Oct. 24, 2017— The refusal of Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the English Labor Party, to attend the dinner in London for the centenary of the Balfour Declaration is the confirmation of what many have always suspected…
When Britain Renewed the Promise to the Jews ‘His Majesty’s Government View with Favour the Establishment in Palestine of a National Home: Ruth R. Wisse, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 2, 2017 — In the living room of our daughter’s home hangs a 4-by-6-foot Jewish flag designed by her paternal great-grandfather…
The Forgotten Truth about the Balfour Declaration: Martin Kramer, Mosaic, June 5, 2017
Columbia Professor Rashid Khalidi’s Cynical Use of Antisemitism: Mara Schiffren, Algemeiner, Oct. 27, 2017
From Balfour to Nikki Haley: A Century of Christian Zionist Support for Israel: Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 1, 2017
The Historical Significance of the Balfour Declaration: Amb. Dore Gold, JCPA, October 31, 2017
Caroline B. Glick
Jerusalem Post, Oct. 27, 2017
This week Israel’s judo team was harassed and discriminated against by UAE officials when they tried to board a flight from Tel Aviv to Istanbul, en route to Abu Dhabi to participate in the Judo Grand Slam competition. Apropos of nothing, UAE told the Israelis they would only be permitted to enter the UAE from Amman. And once they finally arrived at the competition, they were prohibited from competing under their national flag. Lowlights of the UAE’s shameful bigotry included forcing Tal Flicker to receive his gold medal under the International Judo Association’s flag with the association’s theme song, rather than Israel’s national anthem playing in the background and the sight of a Moroccan female judoka literally running away from her Israeli opponent rather than shake hands with her.
The discrimination that Israel’s judokas suffered is newsworthy because it’s appalling, not because it is rare. It isn’t rare. Israeli athletes and performers, professors, students and tourists in countries throughout the world are regularly discriminated against for being Israeli Jews. Concerts are picketed or canceled. Israelis are denied educational opportunities and teaching positions. Israeli brands are boycotted and Israeli shops are picketed from Montreal to Brooklyn to Johannesburg. The simple act of purchasing Israeli cucumbers has become a political statement in countries around the world.
And of course, there is the world of diplomacy, where the nations of the world seem to have flushed the news of Israel’s establishment 70 years ago down the memory hole. The near-consensus view of UN institutions and to a growing degree, of EU institutions, not to mention the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, is that the Jewish exile should never have ended. The Jews should have remained scattered and at the mercy of the nations of the world, forever.
In the face of the growing discrimination Israelis suffer and rejection Israel endures, how are we to look at the centennial of the Balfour Declaration…? One hundred years ago, on November 2, 1917, Arthur Balfour, foreign secretary of Great Britain, detonated a bomb whose aftershocks are still being felt in Britain and worldwide. That day, Balfour issued a letter to Lord Walter Rothschild, the leader of the British Jewish community. The letter, which quickly became known as the Balfour Declaration, effectively announced the British Empire supported an end of the Jewish people’s 1,800-year exile and its return to history, as a free nation in its homeland – the Land of Israel.
In Balfour’s immortal 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 Palestinian Arab leadership at the time rejected his statement. Shortly thereafter the Arabs initiated a terrorist onslaught against the Jewish community in the Land of Israel that has continued, more or less without interruption, ever since.
Indeed, for the Palestinians, nothing has changed. They have not moved an inch in a hundred years. PLO chief and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas now demands that Britain officially renounce the Balfour Declaration and apologize for having issued it as if Lord Balfour was still foreign secretary and David Lloyd George was still prime minster. Their growing chorus of supporters at the UN, throughout the Islamic world, and in Europe is similarly stuck in 1917.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t believe that the enduring Arab and international rejection of Israel’s right to exist mitigates the significance of the Balfour Declaration. Next week he will travel to London to participate in the centennial commemorations of the Balfour Declaration at the side of British Prime Minister Theresa May. May said on Wednesday that she is “proud” to commemorate the declaration. In her words, “We are proud of the role that we played in the creation of the State of Israel and we certainly mark the centenary with pride.” This was certainly nice of her. But May also felt it necessary to tip her hat to the Balfour haters. So she added, “We must also be conscious of the sensitivities that some people do have about the Balfour Declaration and we recognize that there is more work to be done. We remain committed to the two-state solution in relation to Israel and the Palestinians.”
This bring us back to the Palestinians, and the UAE, and the protesters who will be screaming out against Balfour and David Lloyd George from one end of Britain to the other next week demanding their declaration be withdrawn and history rolled back. These people are not fringe elements. They have lots of people in positions of power in Britain who agree with them. Britain’s main opposition party is being led by an ardent Israel-basher. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announced Monday that he will not be participating the Balfour centennial ceremonies. And that makes sense. It would be awkward for a man who was elected and reelected after calling Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists his “friends,” to be celebrating Britain’s role in establishing the state his friends are working to destroy.
Corbyn’s boycott, and his very rise to power, are clear signs that Balfour’s legacy is a mixed bag. Except that it isn’t a mixed bag. At a very deep level, Israel owes its existence to the Balfour Declaration. This is true not because the Balfour Declaration changed the way the world viewed the Jews. It manifestly did not – not in its own time, and not today. In fact it is richly ironic that the Palestinians and their supporters blame the British for the establishment of Israel. Shortly after the Balfour Declaration was issued, British authorities, particularly on the ground in the Middle East, did everything they possibly could to cancel it.
In 1920, British military officers asked the local Arab strongman Haj Amin al-Husseini to incite a pogrom in Jerusalem over Passover. Husseini’s thugs murdered four Jews and wounded many more. The purpose of the pogrom was to convince the British Parliament to cancel the Balfour Declaration. The plan didn’t work. Lloyd George and Balfour and their colleagues weren’t interested in abandoning their three year old declaration. Two years later the League of Nations established the British Mandate for Palestine on the basis of the Balfour Declaration. But the seeds of doubt were duly sown. Almost immediately after the League of Nations issued the Mandate, the British carved off three-quarters of the territory earmarked for the Jewish national home to create Trans-Jordan. It was largely downhill from there…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Clifford D. May
Washington Times, Oct. 31, 2017
In theory, who doesn’t believe in self-determination, the idea, developed in the 19th century, that all nations have a right to sovereignty? By the early 20th century, President Woodrow Wilson was insisting that “National aspirations must be respected; people may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent.” In theory, self-determination is today a fundamental principle of international law. In practice, not so much. The Middle East’s 35 million Kurds have long wanted their own nation-state. They’re not about to get one anytime soon. The government of Spain is determined to quash the movement for Catalonian independence. China prohibits even discussions of Tibet’s right to break free.
What brings these issues to mind now? On Nov. 2 it will be exactly 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, the British Empire’s statement in support of the establishment of “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, then a backwater of the soon-to-be-defeated Ottoman Empire. Britain’s promise enjoyed what historian Martin Kramer calls “buy-in” from the Allied Powers, including the U.S. and France, who fought the Central Powers, including Germany and the Ottomans, in what we retrospectively call World War I.
“In Palestine shall be laid the foundation of a Jewish Commonwealth,” President Wilson announced. French diplomat Jules Cambon wrote that it would be “a deed of justice and of reparation to assist, by the protection of the Allied Powers, in the renaissance of the Jewish nationality in that Land from which the people of Israel were exiled so many centuries ago.” The Zionist cause was soon endorsed by the broader international community as well. It was incorporated into the mandate for Palestine given to Britain by the League of Nations in the 1920s. Mr. Kramer notes: “Those who now cast the Balfour Declaration as an egregious case of imperial self-dealing simply don’t know its history (or prefer not to know it).”
Also too often forgotten or ignored is the fact that it was thanks to Britain and the other Allied Powers that Arab nation-states rose from the Ottoman ashes. Among them: Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Yemen. A related anniversary: On Nov. 29, it will be 70 years since the United Nations recommended partitioning western Palestine (the east became the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan) into two independent states, one Arab and one Jewish. Note: In that era, both Arabs and Jews were equally “Palestinian.”
Jewish leaders accepted partition. Arab leaders rejected it. In May 1948, upon termination of the British mandate, those Jewish leaders declared independence and won recognition from the U.S., the Soviet Union and other U.N. members. Five Arab nations launched what became known as the First Arab-Israeli War. The Arab League’s secretary-general, Azzam Pasha, promised it would be “a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.”
But the Jews, who had nowhere else to go and the memory of the Holocaust fresh in their minds, managed to hold their ground. In February 1949 an armistice was declared. After that, Arab and Muslim nations might have granted their own Jewish communities basic rights and freedoms. They could then have made the case that the Jewish state was superfluous. Instead and vindictively, those Arab and Muslim governments more harshly persecuted their Jewish subjects, confiscating their properties and, before long, driving them out.
More than 800,000 Jews ended up fleeing Arab and Muslim countries. A majority were resettled in Israel where, over time, they strengthened the nation. Today, roughly half of all Israelis are descendants of Jews from the broader Middle East — Morocco to Iraq (Baghdad was close to a third Jewish as recently as 1945) to Afghanistan. Slightly fewer Palestinians, an estimated 700,000, fled Israel, many going to Arab countries that chose not to assimilate or even integrate them.
A third anniversary: In 1967, Egypt, Syria and Jordan waged another war intended to drive the Jews into the sea. The Israelis not only survived, they seized Gaza from Egypt, and the West Bank (earlier known as Judea and Samaria) from Jordan. Over the years since, the possibility of transforming these territories into an independent Palestinian state — the “two-state solution” — has been the basis for one peace plan after another. None has succeeded. I’d argue that the primary reason is that Palestinian leaders are still fighting wars of the past. They refuse to recognize the legitimacy of Israel under international law, the necessity for Israel given the durability of Jew-hatred, and the reality of Israel established and defended by “blood and iron.”
Throughout 2017, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian leaders have been denouncing the Balfour Declaration as a “crime,” demanding that the British renounce it and apologize for it. But British Prime Theresa May said last week that Britons are “proud of the role that we played in the creation of the State of Israel and we certainly mark the centenary with pride.” A separate British government statement asserted that the “important thing now is to look forward and establish security and justice for both Israelis and Palestinians through a lasting peace.”
Who doesn’t want self-determination for the Palestinians? Who doesn’t want to see Palestinians living in freedom and prosperity? That could have begun 70 years ago. It could begin tomorrow. In theory, it would require only willingness on the part of Palestinians to accept and peacefully coexist alongside the “national home for the Jewish people” envisaged by the Balfour Declaration. In practice, such a change of heart might be another hundred years away.
Arutz Sheva, Oct. 24, 2017
The refusal of Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the English Labor Party, to attend the dinner in London for the centenary of the Balfour Declaration is the confirmation of what many have always suspected (for the occasion, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be in the British capital to thank the UK for that gift made in 1917 to the Jewish people). The antipathy towards Israel by Corbyn and other important Western segments of the Left goes far beyond hostility towards Israeli “settlements”, as the leaders of the Left repeat. Corbyn and his comrades would like Israel to never have been born.
The leader of “Momentum” is often referred as a hooligan on the Israeli issue. But Corbyn's refusal to publicly support Israel's right to exist is in fact embraced by a substantial part of the British élite. They are government officials, MPs, filmmakers, journalists, intellectuals, academics, heads of non-governmental organizations, church leaders. England has first place in Europe for the academic boycott of Israel. English universities are often no-go-zones for Israeli students. English actors, such as Emma Thompson, are often in the front row signing petitions against “Zionism”. English newpapers, such as the Times and the Independent, host the most violent cartoons against Israeli leaders. And the English queen has never visited Israel.
It would make us comfortable if Corbyn's rejection of the centennial of Balfour, a rejection praised by Hamas, was the decision of the crazy guevarist mind out of step with time. But that is not the case. Indeed, intellectual corbynism is within the British mainstream, it is the expression of the “chattering classes”, those who make the public opinion in the UK. That is why Mr. Corbyn is so dangerous. Because he is not a lunatic, but an aggregator and agitator of deep anti-Israeli feelings.
Ruth R. Wisse
Wall Street Journal, Nov. 2, 2017
In the living room of our daughter’s home hangs a 4-by-6-foot Jewish flag designed by her paternal great-grandfather, hastily sewn from blue and white material in his Montreal dry-goods store. In November 1917, on receiving news that the British government had just given its support for the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine, Nathan Black strung the flag across his storefront and closed for the day. “Haynt iz a yontev,” he told his workers: “Today is a holiday.”
One hundred years ago on Nov. 2, Arthur Balfour, the British foreign secretary, sent a letter to Lord Walter Rothschild : “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.”
Known as the Balfour Declaration, it represented a diplomatic high point in the history of the Zionist movement founded by Theodor Herzl in 1897. Herzl realized that Zionism would have trouble achieving its political objective of establishing “a home for the Jewish people in Palestine secured under public law” without support from one or more of the empires laying claim to the Jewish homeland. His attempt to win that support, cut short by his death in 1904, was taken over by others, such as Chaim Weizmann and Nahum Sokolow. The latter’s role in securing the Balfour Declaration was recently brought to light by historian Martin Kramer. Other countries, including France and the U.S., were involved in the discussions over the disposition of Palestine, but the credit for this document was Britain’s. At least on that score credit is deserved.
The Balfour Declaration was a landmark in the political life of Britain no less than in the self-determination of the Jews. Brutally expelled from England in 1290 and formally readmitted in 1656, Jews remained the barometer of toleration in the country’s political and private life. English literature served up sinister characters like Shylock and Fagin that testify to powerful anti-Jewish prejudice. Then, in 1876, the British novelist George Eliot created the title character Daniel Deronda, an Englishman and Jew who determines to make the Jews a landed nation again, “giving them a national center, such as the English have, though they too are scattered over the face of the globe.” The threat to the Jews in Eliot’s novel comes not from violent aggressors but from Englishmen who cannot understand why Jews should remain a nation. Anticipating Zionism and the Balfour Declaration, Eliot interprets the ability of the English to accept Jewish national rights as the touchstone of their political maturity.
Yet Britain went back on its word. Attempting to appease Arab rulers, it rewarded Arab violence in Palestine in the 1930s by preventing Jews from entering land promised to them by the Bible and the British. While the British betrayal did not directly abet Hitler’s war against the Jews of Europe, it signaled a readiness to abandon the Jews to their fate. It certainly spurred the Arab war against Israel, which began where Germany’s war against the Jews left off. Churchill reminded Parliament in 1939 that the pledge of a Jewish homeland in Palestine had been made not only to the Jews but to the world and that its repudiation was a confession of British weakness.
The Jews would have returned to Zion with or without the consent of Europe. This is the people that, despite the murder of millions of potential Jewish citizens, and within Herzl’s predicted timeline of 50 years, recovered and defended its national sovereignty in the Land of Israel that had been under foreign domination for almost two millennia. But most of the Arab world rejected the very principle of coexistence and consequently spiraled into ever-escalating intramural conflicts. For Arab nations, too, acceptance of an autonomous Jewish presence, if and when it occurs, will be the gauge of their political maturity.
Meantime, in Britain’s Daily Mail, a “proud Jewish woman and patriotic Briton” wrote last month that “many of this country’s 270,000-strong Jewish community no longer feel we have a home here.” The immediate cause of her anguish is the emboldened anti-Semitism of the Labour Party, which traditionally included many Jews. This coalition of grievance endangers the democratic future of the country. Our family’s flag celebrated a landmark in the restoration of Zion but also another great nation’s readiness to coexist with the Jews on an equal footing. That in itself will not bring peace to the world—but world peace cannot come without it.
The Forgotten Truth about the Balfour Declaration: Martin Kramer, Mosaic, June 5, 2017— On November 2, 1917, a century ago, Arthur James Balfour, the British foreign secretary, conveyed the following pledge in a public letter to a prominent British Zionist, Lord Walter Rothschild…
Columbia Professor Rashid Khalidi’s Cynical Use of Antisemitism: Mara Schiffren, Algemeiner, Oct. 27, 2017—We’re nearing an age of peak cynicism, when a former PLO spokesman and decades-long anti-Israel activist claims to be more concerned about antisemitism than does Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
From Balfour to Nikki Haley: A Century of Christian Zionist Support for Israel: Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 1, 2017—There were many driving factors behind Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour’s decision on November 2, 1917, to write a letter to Britain’s most illustrious Jewish citizen, Baron Lionel Walter Rothschild, expressing the British government’s support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
The Historical Significance of the Balfour Declaration: Amb. Dore Gold, JCPA, October 31, 2017—The stated purpose of the Balfour Declaration from November 2, 1917 and the circumstances under which it was published are generally known.