Balfour Declaration of 1917
|Balfour Declaration of 1917|
|Publication date||2 November 1917|
The Balfour Declaration of 1917 was a typed letter of 2nd November 1917, signed by UK Foreign Secretary, Arthur Balfour, to Walter Rothschild (2nd Baron Rothschild) for onward transmission to "the Zionist Federation" of Great Britain and Ireland (chaired by Chaim Weizmann, friend of Arthur Balfour).
Some momentous events require few words. Yet what is interesting, in that brief memo, is the British acknowledgement that Palestine, named and referenced directly, is a recognisable political entity: not trans-Jordan, nor Golda Meir’s flippant “Southern Syria,” her 1969 reference to where the Palestinian refugees came from. Additionally, there is a recognition that the Palestinian people had civil and religious rights, which may be prejudiced by the creation of a “national home” for another people, namely the “Jewish Zionists” whose aspirations Britain was responding to.
- 1 Centenary
- 2 Wording of the Declaration
- 3 Mysterious Background to the Balfour Declaration
- 4 Timing of Declaration
- 5 Recipient of the Balfour Declaration
- 6 Views of British Jews
- 7 Views of the Palestinians
- 8 How many Zionists were there in Palestine?
- 9 How much was the Declaration driven by antisemitism?
- 10 What else do we know about the authors?
- 11 Did the British intend an independent state?
- 12 Wikipedia distortions
- 13 References
Following a visit to Downing Street (colloquially known in Israel as Balfour Street) on Thursday morning 2 November 2017, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and a host of dignitaries attended a dinner in the evening to celebrate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, a statement that offered Britain’s support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”. Emily Thornberry, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, stood in at the celebration dinner for the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who could not attend because of pre-existing engagements. In a statement the Labour leader called on the British government to recognise Palestine. He said:
- “Balfour promised to help establish a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine while pledging that nothing would be done to prejudice the rights of its ‘existing non-Jewish communities’” – a reference to the Palestinian Arabs who then made up 90% of the population.
- “A hundred years on, the second part of Britain’s pledge has still not been fulfilled, and Britain’s historic role means we have a special responsibility to the Palestinian people, who are still denied their basic rights.
- “So let us mark the Balfour anniversary by recognising Palestine as a step towards a genuine two-state solution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, increasing international pressure for an end to the 50-year occupation of the Palestinian territories, illegal settlement expansion and the blockade of Gaza.”
Adding insult to injury
Manuel Hassassian, in effect the chief Palestinian diplomat to the UK, chastised the UK government’s approach, saying it should apologise for the Balfour declaration, not celebrate it. Speaking on BBC Radio 4, he said:
- “The 67-word letter meant the destruction and destitution of the Palestinian people [and] bringing the Jews from Europe to Palestine – that is a crime against humanity. That is how we look at the Balfour letter.”
He called the UK’s commitment to recognise a future Palestinian state “a hollow promise”, claiming no practical pressure had been put on Israel over its illegal settlements. Britain, he said, was “talking the talk but not walking the walk. The two-state Palestinian solution is slipping because of the continuous building of settlements by the Israelis.”
Hassassian said the second part of Balfour’s letter has never been fulfilled, emphasising his remarks did not represent a rejection of the state of Israel:
- “Today we are not talking about the extermination of Israel … Instead of celebrating, marking and adding insult to injury, we Palestinians would have expected the moral and historic responsibility to be shouldered by the British government to apologise to the Palestinian people and to recognise the state of Palestine.”
Wording of the Declaration
The important part of the Balfour Declaration is this passage:
"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..
Wikispooks has emphasised the section in which the British Government expresses its concern at, and awareness of, potential abuse of the proposal. The reader is assumed to know the dire prejudice that is imposed on "the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine". It must not be assumed that the Jews of Palestine were spared either - more details at Zionist Political Violence.
Mysterious Background to the Balfour DeclarationWhile it is known that the British Government discussed the issuing of this document (and it declares itself to be His Majesty's government view) very little is known about how the Balfour Declaration came to be issued. When a new Conservative government less sympathetic to Zionism came to power in 1922 and attempted to look into the origins of the Balfour declaration, it found that the colonial office held no such records, and nothing was found in the Foreign Office files either.
... Although the Colonial Office in the end submitted a memorandum on the History of the Negotiations leading up to the Balfour Declaration, it conceded that the memorandum was very inadequate', and that the material available could not provide a 'complete and connected narrative. It was nevertheless submitted, to quote the head of the Middle East Department of the Colonial Office, Sir John Evelyn Shukburgh as a humble experiment in the art of making bricks without straw.Dr Sahar Huneidi, author of A Broken Trust, Herbert Samuel, Zionism and the Palestinians 2001 says:
It is peculiar that merely five years after the Balfour declaration was issued, there was no record of its history in British archives. Were these documents deliberately concealed? Were they destroyed? It is difficult to answer, but tempting to speculate.
The Balfour Declaration seems to have been issued partly to bring the US into the war, strings would be pulled to make sure it was on the same side as the UK. Part of this was played by US Judge Louis Brandeis. He visited the British Military on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem in July 1919 and told General Louis Bols, the Chief Administrator that ordinances of the military authorities should be submitted first to the Zionist Commission. The General's Aide-de-Camp is purported to have replied:
- "For a government to do that would be to derogate its position. As a lawyer you realise this."
But Brandeis proceeded to lay down the law as he saw it almost as if Palestine were under his jurisdiction:
- "It must be understood, he warned, the British Government is committed to the support of the Zionist cause. Unless this is accepted as a guiding principle, I shall have to report it to the Foreign Office." Brandeis was later to be prominent in discussions within the Roosevelt government in 1938 that condoned transfer of the native Palestinians.
Additional pressure to issue the Balfour Declaration came from its prime driver (later to be chairman of the World Zionist Organisation) the chemist Chaim Weizmann working in Manchester University. Weizmann had, in 1916, started producing acetone (a vital component of explosives) using the well-known acetone-butanol-ethanol fermentation on an industrial scale by the Clostridium acetobutylicum bacterium which he had isolated. See the Wikipedia article on older methods of producing acetone here for details. While explosives and propellant production indeed rose enormously it is not clear if his process ever worked very well or indeed was ever used.
Timing of Declaration
On 31 October 1917, General Allenby and 150,000 soldiers attacked and wiped out the Turkish garrison in the town of Beer Sheba, now Southern Israel, the Negev. (It has been suggested that they were deliberately diverted from the trench warfare in France/Belgium to prevent another very costly attack against the German machine-guns of the Western Front.
London was informed by telegram the next day and on 2 November 1917 the previously prepared Balfour Declaration was issued. It had already been submitted to and approved by President Woodrow Wilson. France and Italy publicly endorsed it on the 14th February and 9th May 1918 respectively.
By the 28 June 1919, the Ottomans in the region had been defeated and the League of Nations Covenant was signed. Article 22 of the Covenant prescribed that the wishes of the people formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory. According to surveys conducted at the time, it was privately reported that the Arabs had opted for the United States to be their supervisory body while the Zionist leadership opted for the trusteeship of Great Britain over Palestine. Turkish rule formally ended under the Treaty of Sevres on 10 August 1920 and the Balfour Declaration was embodied in it.
Recipient of the Balfour Declaration
The name "Rothschild" is strongly linked to the pre-Zionist colonialisation in Palestine, "Baron" Edmond Benjamin James de Rothschild having funded and actively managed Jewish settlements in Palestine since 1882. This is years before Theodore Herzl is commonly said to have "invented" Zionism in 1895 (though the word itself apparently dates from 1891).
However, Edmond Rothschild was French, and his interests were not shared by the English Rothschilds, such as 2nd Baron Walter Rothschild, recipient of the Balfour letter. Edmond's Palestine enterprises were based upon Arab labour with Jewish management, quite different from the intention and policies of the Zionists, who sought to replace Arabs with their own countrymen wherever possible. The rest of the French Rothschild family seems to have had even less interest in Palestine, Edmond's brothers being openly opposed to his involvement in "colonies". While Edmond was generally known as "Baron", this is an honorific and should not be confused with the title of the English Rothschilds.
The French Rothschild interest in Palestine continued until at least 1956 but the first phase concluded in 1900, when Edmond handed over all his interests in Palestine to the Jewish Colonisation Association a transaction ... free of stipulations or a desire for profit amidst rumours of disagreements. Moreover, Walter Rothschild's father (the first 1st Baron) and what seems to have been the whole of the settled British Jewish community had been quite strongly opposed to Theodore Herzl's ideology and efforts on the two occasions when he visited England in 1896 and 1902 to preach Zionism.
Furthermore, despite the Balfour Declaration being addressed to the 2nd Baron Rothschild (Walter, enobled 1915) there seems to be no evidence that he was interested in Zionism or Palestine. The statement at the Wikipedia that Walter was an active Zionist and close friend of Chaim Weizmann, is particularily mysterious, since the Israeli newspaper article referenced doesn't claim that he was "an active Zionist" or lead us to think he was. There seems to be no evidence for the 2nd Baron having ever taken an interest in Palestine. Or indeed, any interest in politics after he stood down from Parliament at the General Election of Jan 1910, aged 42. (He had entered Parliament at a by-election in 1899 and won general elections in 1900 and 1906).
Wikipedia states that Walter Rothschild was exceptionally shy and that he had left the family banking business, 10 years earlier, in 1908 at the age 40. His passion was zoology, collecting samples in Europe and North Africa while sending other collectors further afield. He is most famous for naming an African giraffe and collecting 2 million butterflies. It is not obvious that he ever even visited Palestine, making it strange to call him an avid Zionist. Nor does Weizmann's article at the Wikipedia say anything of him being friendly with any of the English or French Rothschilds - both anti-Zionist.
Despite the fact that Edmond (of France) gave away his interests in his Palestinian colonies in 1900 and, much later stated in a 1934 letter to the League of Nations, that the struggle to put an end to the Wandering Jew, could not have as its result, the creation of the Wandering Arab he had not turned his back on Israel entirely. 7 years after the Balfour Declaration and 24 years after Edmond had given away the colonies on his land he set up the Palestine Jewish Colonisation Association (PICA), presided over by his son James de Rothschild (1878-1957) from its inception, and assigned to it the task of colonizing all his landholdings. He had, or had acquired, more land that still required draining or otherwise being turned into fertile soil. In 1956, the 2nd generation French Rothschild announced that the work was finished and wound up the PICA. The following year (ie that of his death) James wrote to David Ben-Gurion announcing his intention to transfer now all the remaining PICA lands (leased and not leased) to national institutions and the intention to provide the sum of I£ [Israeli Pounds] 6 million for the construction of the new Knesseth building in Jerusalem which, I understand, it is proposed to set up. Let the new Knesseth building become a symbol, in the eyes of all men, of the permanence of the State of Israel. Pictures of the father and son are in the entrance hall to the Speaker's bureau of the Knesset, as well as the letter that James sent to Prime Minister David Ben Gurion in 1957. James says that I am confident that, by the grace of the Almighty, the new chapter in the history of our people, which began with the creation of the State, will be glorious and enduring.
Views of British JewsIt is known that most (probably all) prominent British Jews were strongly opposed to Zionism from 1895 to 1917. As the Boston Globe put it in 2006:
When Weizmann secured his goal in 1917, some of the eminences of British Jewry were horrified. David Alexander and Claude Montefiore, presidents respectively of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and of the Anglo-Jewish Association, thought the Balfour Declaration a veritable calamity for the whole Jewish people which must have the effect throughout the world of stamping the Jews as strangers in their native lands, and of undermining their hard-won position as citizens and nationals of those lands.
Similarly, the one Jew in the British Government in 1917, Edwin Montague, was most hostile to the idea. One of his 3 memos on the subject was harshly entitled Memorandom on the Anti-Semitism of the British Government and was submitted to the Cabinet, 23rd Aug 1917, which should have been in plenty of time to stop the letter going out in November of that year:
... at the very time when these Jews [referring to Jews in Russia] have been acknowledged as Jewish Russians and given all liberties, it seems to be inconceivable that Zionism should be officially recognised by the British Government, and that Mr. Balfour should be authorised to say that Palestine was to be reconstituted as the 'national home of the Jewish people.' I do not know what this involves, but I assume that it means that Mohammedans and Christians are to make way for the Jews, and that the Jews should be put in all positions of preference and should be peculiarly associated with Palestine in the same way that England is with this English or France with the French, that Turks and other Mahommedans [sic] in Palestine will be regarded as foreigners, just in the same way as Jews will hereafter be treated as foreigners in every country but Palestine.
Views of the Palestinians
A memorandum and petition from the Muslim-Christian association (briefly mentioned by Wikipedia, citing Morris"Righteous Victims, see below) written as early as November 1918 (ie after the first anniversary of the Balfour Declaration on the 2nd November that year) is full of specific and most alarming accusations after a riot that is not otherwise recorded. (Later disturbances, such as the Muslim/Christian Easter riot of 1920, are better reported, we are told that 5 Jews were then killed with either 160 or 100s wounded).
The 1918 memorandum (perhaps updated by the time it reached London in 1920) claimed that the British authorities had recruited an army all composed of Jews and these have misused the confidence placed in them and used their arms against the Moslems and Christians, adding that several complaints had previously been made against Jewish soldiers at Jaffa, Ludd and Ramleh. The government had collected all arms and ammunition from Christians and Muslims but that the said law [not civil, military?] was never put in force on the Jews. Numerous accusations are made - the Zionists were training their young on military grounds, which fact was observed on the same day [2nd Nov - ed] when thousands of them demonstrated in a military way, carrying arms and sticks of every description. The Muslim-Christian Association was therefore calling on the government, in the interest of peace and to safeguard their lives and property, to initiate the immediate expulsion of all Jewish soldiers from the country, retaking their arms as well as those found in the possession of other Jews. It called for a thorough search for arms in Zionist institutions, confiscation of the same and severe punishment of the Jews who were the cause of the trouble. Should the government not wish to expel Jewish soldiers, an army of Arabs under the British flag should be recruited to defend the Moslems and Christians against the Jews. The Zionist Committee (should be "Commission") composed chiefly of Russian, American and German members, accustomed to revolutions, have jointly planned this programme so that news may reach Europe of the tyranny and bloodshed caused by the Arabs to the so called innocent Jews, and thus attaining their devilish aim. The memorandum also claimed that most of the wounded Jews had wounded themselves to increase the number of the wounded.
The memorandum claimed that apprehension had been caused to the Palestinians by their reading of a statement in the Times that Palestine was to become a Jewish Kingdom, and asked whether it was possible that the future of Palestine would be decided without the consent of its people (Zu'aytir Papers, pp. 1-2 Memorandum from the Moslem-Christian Association in Jaffa, to General Allenby in protest of Zionist ambitions and presenting Arab demands, November 1918). If the Jews were 'returning' to their land, then by the same logic the Arabs would have the 'right' to claim Spain, which they ruled for over 400 years
There is support for some details of this memorandum (eg the military training of the new immigrants) in the never-released Palin Report into the 1920 riots, which says: It seems scarcely credible that the fact that these men had been got together and were openly drilling at the back of Lemel School and on Mount Scopas [sic] should have been known as it undoubtedly was, to the population during the month of March - it was organised after the demonstration of the 8th - and yet no word of it reached either the Governorate or the Administration until after the riots.
Immediately after the 1920 disturbances but before the arrival of the High Commissioner action was taken by the military forces against these armed groups, with Jabotinsky sentenced to a term of 15 years. (Husseini is said to have been similarily convicted in absentia by a secret court, the proceedings of which have disappeared). But if there was any systematic policy by the military administration on disarmament of the settlers, then it was thrown into reverse immediately on the arrival in June 1920 of the new Zionist High Commissioner, Hubert Samuel, who released Jabotinsky and proceeded to arm the settlements. (Samuel also "pardoned" Husseini and made him the Mufti of Jerusalem, despite him having come 4th in the election, by Muslim notables chosen by the government, for the post). The Mandate was not actually granted until 1922, but Samuel set the project along its path at some speed.
In April-May 1921 Samuel engineered a major conciliatory gesture to the Arabs: the "election" of Hajj Amin al-Husseini (1895/6-1974) as the "Grand Mufti" of Jerusalem, effectively the spiritual leader of the Muslim community in Palestine. Hajj Amin had studied at Cairo's al-Azhar Islamic University before becoming a junior officer in the Ottoman army. He deserted in 1917 and joined the Sharifian army. One source described him as "very pro-British"; another, as a British "informer" or spy in the Sharifian camp.161 In 1919 he worked for Faisal's regime in Damascus, returning to Palestine early in 1920. He was briefly president of the Jerusalem branch of the nationalist society al-Nadi al-Arabi. In July 1920 he had been sentenced (along with 'Arif al-'Arif) in absentia to ten years in prison for his part in inciting the riots of the previous April. His past was now set aside, however, and even though in the vote (by a committee of Muslim notables selected by the government) for the post of Grand Mufti, Husseini came in fourth, Samuel ignored the results and appointed him on May 8, 1921.[162. Wasserstein, Bernard. The British in Palestine: The Mandatory Government and the ArabJewish Conflict 1917-1929. Oxford, England: Basil Blackwell, 1991. p.98-100.]
How many Zionists were there in Palestine?
There are considerable variations and some confusion in population estimates of colonizing Zionists and/or native Jews in Palestine at this time. The Muslim and Christian Palestinian Association, in their November 1918 letter and petition to the military governor of Jaffa, claimed that the number of Jews did not exceed 12,000, half of whom were colonizers. They said that their real ratio in Palestine was 1:500. (This would put the number of Arabs at 600,000, whereas in 1921 Samuel believed there to be 700,000). These Palestinians claimed that, although Jaffa and Jerusalem were the two cities with the highest percentage of Jews, their numbers in Jaffa did not exceed 10,000, where the Arabs counted more than 70,000.
Zionist historian, Benny Morris in Righteous Victims p.90, does not distinguish between Arabic and Hebrew-speaking Jews, saying that there were 66,000 of them in total. However, the High Commissioner Herbert Samuel (a firm Zionist) spent a year carrying out a survey of his new domain (during which time a further 10,000 immigrants arrived) and came to a different and striking conclusion. In 1921 he quoted the number of Jews in Palestine as 76,000. However, he either ignored all the Arab-speaking native Jews, or was in denial of there being any, saying that: "Almost all have entered Palestine during the last 40 years". According to Samuel: "Prior to 1850 there were in the country only a handful of Jews. In the following 30 years a few hundreds came to Palestine. Most of them were animated by religious motives; they came to pray and to die in the Holy Land, and to be buried in its soil. After the persecutions in Russia forty years ago, the movement of the Jews to Palestine assumed larger proportions."
How much was the Declaration driven by antisemitism?
Edwin Montagu, the only Jew then in the British government, entitled the most famous of his memos Memorandom on the Anti-Semitism of the British Government and there are other indications that this played a part.Arthur Balfour himself, despite being a friend of Chaim Weizmann, would almost certainly be considered antisemitic by any modern standard. He had been the main supporter of the 1905 Alien’s Act, restricting Jewish immigration into England after pogroms in Romania and Russia. Balfour wrote an introduction to the epic book of his friend (and fellow author of the Declaration), Nahum Sokolow, The History of Zionism, 1600-1918 and says:
If Zionism succeeds, it will do a great spiritual and material work for the Jews, but not for them alone. For as I read its meaning it is, among other things, a serious endeavour to mitigate the age-long miseries created for western civilisation by the presence in its midst of a Body which it too long regarded as alien and even hostile, but which it was equally unable to expel or absorb. Surely, for this if for no other reason, it should receive our support.
Prime Minister David Lloyd-George, a devout evangelical, was probably another prime driver of the Balfour Declaration (and sent troops away from the Western Front to take Palestine) but Wikispooks knows of no reason to think he disliked the Jews.
Nahum Sokolow (likely a joint author of the Declaration) claimed in 1919 that it was not the intention of the Zionists to create a Jewish state. Yet other sources suggest that, at least in 1914, he had been in favour of the ethnic cleansing of the natives, a process then known as "transfer".Chaim Weizmann was friendly with the likely antisemitic Arthur Balfour and the allegedly antisemitic Sir William Evans-Gordon, a keen supporter (with Theodore Herzl) for control of Jewish immigration in 1902. Chaim Weizmann is said to have gone out of his way to paint an extraordinary sympathetic portrait of this bigot [Evans-Gordon] in his autobiography Trial and Error pp.90-91, Schocken (reprint 1966):I think our people were rather hard on him. The Aliens Bill in England and the movement which grew around it were natural phenomenon which might have been foreseen. Sir William Evans-Gordon had no particular anti-Jewish prejudices ... he was sincerely ready to encourage any settlement of Jews almost anywhere in the British Empire but he failed to see why the ghettoes of London or Leeds should be made into a branch of the ghettoes of Warsaw and Pinsk.
Did the British intend an independent state?
At no time between the Balfour declaration being issued in 1917 and the Independence of Israel in 1948 does Britain seem to have intended the whole of Palestine to become an independent Jewish state, as in partition. It is possible that reference to a homeland was intended more in the nature of the Russian Pale or Stalin's prepared Oblast in Siberia.
The partition proposed by the 1937 Palestine Royal Commission report is often quoted in this context but the British government moved swiftly to set up the Woodhead Commission to recommend an actual partition plan. The new proposals would have given less than 5% of the land area of Palestine to the Jews. The British Government accompanied the publication of the Woodhead Report by a statement of policy rejecting partition as impracticable Author of the Declaration, Nahum Sokolow, represented the Zionist Organisation at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 and denied that a state was intended:It has been said and is still being obstinately repeated by anti-Zionists again and again, that Zionism aims at the creation of an independent "Jewish State" But this is wholly fallacious. The "Jewish State" was never part of the Zionist programme. The Jewish State was the title of Herzl's first pamphlet, which had the supreme merit of forcing people to think. This pamphlet was followed by the first Zionist Congress, which accepted the Basle programme - the only programme in existence.
Many interesting and important details concerning the Balfour Declaration are missing from the Wikipedia. It was not until 1921 that the Palestinian High Commissioner, Herbert Samuel, attempted to interpret it, and only when the Mandate was granted in 1922 did it have any validity in law. Until that point, although Herbert Samuel repeatedly described the Declaration as a chose jugee (a closed issue, a phrase he may have invented), it was really just a letter written by Weizmann to himself.
There is nothing on the strong opposition of all the most influential British Jews. Contrary to the impression given, it was not the declared intention of the British Government at any stage for the "homeland" to become an independent state. The British were firmly opposed to ethnic cleansing despite the fact that virtually all Zionists supported it (many of them quite openly, a practice carefully avoided by the founder of Zionism, Theodore Herzl). There is a small and misleading section at Wikipedia on the strong and well-expressed opposition of Palestinians, 90% of the population. The description of the 2nd Baron Rothschild as an avid Zionist, as noted above, seems to be completely unsupported, and there is no attempt to point out that "Baron Edmond de Rothschild" has almost nothing to do with the 2nd Baron, recipient of the letter, or with Zionism in general.Much other significant opposition to the Balfour Declaration is missing from the Wikipedia article, and even some of what's included is misleadingly covered. Israeli historian Benny Morris in his book "Righteous Victims" twice mentions that, on the first anniversary of the Declaration, 2nd Nov 1918, a Balfour day parade was held in Jewish Jerusalem and that there were protests. But the Wikipedia refers only to the less significant mention, the petition of a "large group" of Palestinian Arab dignitaries and representatives of political associations stated: ...we always sympathised profoundly with the persecuted Jews and their misfortunes in other countries ... but there is wide difference between such sympathy and the acceptance of such a nation ... ruling over us and disposing of our affairs. The much more significant mention from the same book is on p.90, which says that Musa Kathim al-Husseini, Jerusalem's mayor at the time, hands the military governor of Palestine, Storrs, a petition from more than 100 Palestinian notables which stated:We have noticed yesterday [2nd Nov 1918 - ed] a large crowd of Jews carrying banners and over-running the streets shouting words which hurt the feeling and wound the soul. They [Zionist Jews] pretend with OPEN VOICE that Palestine, which is the Holy Land of our fathers and the graveyard of our ancestors, which has been inhabited by the Arabs for long ages, who loved it and died in defending it, is NOW a national home for them.
Similarly, Morris is quoted by Wikipedia as having said that the Muslim-Christian Association "sent a lengthy memorandum and petition to the military governor [of Jaffa] protesting once more any formation of a Jewish state" when the letter was only one of four protests from Palestinian societies which were passed to General Allenby in Egypt from the Comite Central [sic] du Parti de l'Union Syrienne in Cairo and sent by him to Lord Curzon in London. (Hence why it appears in Foreign Office papers). In response to the Comite, Allenby confined himself to a bare acknowledgement of the receipt of these protests and said that he was communicating them to the British Government in London as desired - though only some 2 years after it was first written. This letter is in fact full of the most alarming accusations (see opposition to the Balfour Declaration, above).
The effect is further spoiled by the inclusion of two potentially real "controversies" concerning who really wrote the Declaration. Wikipedia claims that Lord Alfred Milner or Leo Amery could have been the real authors. Unfortunately, Wikipedia quotes the well-known Institute of Historical Research for this quite surprising discovery, a source they would never normally consider.  Not only did Leo Amery never claim or admit to being Jewish but his son John joined the side of the Nazis during World War II and was hanged for treason. (However, his other son, Julian, was a convinced Zionist and became a member of Parliament).
Lastly, antisemitism almost certainly played some part in support of the Balfour Declaration, this aspect is also completely missing from the Wikipedia.
- "‘It being clearly understood…’: What the Balfour Declaration tells us about Israel"
- "May to laud UK role in creation of Israel at Balfour centenary dinner"
- History of the Negotiations leading up to the Balfour Declaration. Conceding that the memo is very inadequate and as a humble experiment in the art of making bricks without straw. CO 733/58 Minute, Shuckburgh to William Ormsby-Gore, 10 January 1923. For a detailed analysis of this issue, see Huneidi, Sahar. Herbert Samuel, Zionism and the Palestinians, 1920-25. London, 2001., pp. 48-79.
- Facts on the Ground: Herbert Samuel and the Balfour Declaration, 1914-1925 It is peculiar that merely five years after the Balfour declaration was issued, there was no record of its history in British archives. Sahar Huneidi just-international.org 2006.
- US Judge Louis Brandeis told the British military in July 1919 that ordinances of the military authorities should be submitted first to the Zionist Commission. Jeffries, Joseph M.N., Palestine: The Reality, (New York: Longmans, Green & Co., 1939) p.314, cited by Sami Hadawi, writing in Bitter Harvest. A modern history of Palestine 1967.
- http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=-Q9lnkLX8LAC&pg=PA271&lpg=PA271&dq=1891+rothschild+settlements&source=bl&ots=GsfBDxGMXo&sig=96JSVNXtxqtdrSces8X6VbFS8Iw&hl=en&sa=X&ei=L_sbT7aWAtDrOfa5qboL&ved=0CE4Q6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=1891%20rothschild%20settlements&f=false The notion that Rothschild and his officials did not see eye to eye], as was claimed by the colonists and Hovevei Zion at the time and often repeated by scholars is refuted by the evidence Google Books. Rothschild and early Jewish colonisation in Palestine, citing Rokeah, Matters, Hacohen, Individual. p.302; Mi-Yerushalayim I (1891) p.3-7 (Hebrew); Gvati I. p72-76. Rothschild turned over his vast property holdings and financial assets in Palestine in 1900, the transaction was free of stipulations or a desire for profit. Cited to S. Schama, Two Rothschilds and the Land of Israel, New York 1978. p137-189 by Aaronsohn, Building p.268-272.
- "Zionism, Antisemitism, and the People of Palestine" In 1882, Baron Rothschild, combining philanthropy and investment, began to bring Jewish settlers from Eastern Europe to build a plantation system along the model the French used in Algeria. They spoke Yiddish, Arabic, Persian, and Georgian. Significantly, Hebrew was not among the languages spoken. The outcome of Rothschild's experiment was predictable: Jews managed the land, while Arabs worked it. This was not the result the Zionists had in mind; a Jewish society could not be based on Arab labour. Consequently, they began to encourage the immigration of Jewish farmers and workers. Noel Ignatiev, a talk of March 31, 2004. Mostly based on Moshe Menuhin, The Decadence of Judaism in Our Time, Uri Davis, Israel: Apartheid State, Nathan Weinstock, Zionism: False Messiah, and Adam Sabra, Abolish the Jewish Caste in Palestine, from Race Traitor. Draemerson Blog. October 19, 2008.
- "Solution of the Jewish Question" by Theodor Herzl 1896 ... Herzl noted tersely: ... These assimilated Jews wanted nothing to do with any scheme that risked their acceptance in Britain as loyal British citizens. "Herzl in England". Archived at mbarchives Blog. Feb 15, 2008 and at Cosmos .
- "Solution of the Jewish Question" by Theodor Herzl 1902 ... growing hysteria over the influx of cheap labour the majority of them impoverished Jews ... Herzl’s British followers proposed him as an expert witness. Lord Rothschild, the only Jewish member of the Commission, tried but failed to prevent the invitation to a man he had openly described as a demagogue and windbag. Rothschild then attempted to instruct Herzl on what to say to the Royal Commission. He should say nothing that might cause the Commission to question the principle of assimilation. Herzl refused to be guided. He would use his appearance to warn Britain that hundreds of thousands of destitute Jews were on the move. Unless they could be found a safe haven, they would move westwards, including England. ... Wherever Jewish refugees went, Herzl argued, they created anti-Semitism. "Herzl in England". Archived at mbarchives Blog. Feb 15, 2008 and at Cosmos .
- Wikipedia article on 2nd Baron Rothschild - claims him to have been an active Zionist but is referenced to an Israeli newspaper article which provides no basis for the claim. Wikipedia at Dec 2007.
- Pen Ultimate/Sticking my neck out. On a trinominal, and truly Zionist, species of giraffe. ... remember this: This animal is an endangered species. We of all people should do something about it, as it is one of us - well, at least the giraffa camelopardis rothschildi, a truly Zionist giraffe, is, even though it did not make an aliyah, but instead remained fairly close to Uganda. Wikipedia claims that the 2nd Baron was "an active Zionist" but the reference says nothing of this. Haaretz 27th Dec 2007.
- Wikipedia article on Chaim Weizmann, Chairman of the WZO says nothing of him being friendly with any of the Rothschilds (as claimed at the Balfour Declaration page here). It is known that the 1st Baron (Walter's father) had strongly opposed Herzl's Zionism 20 years and 15 years earlier.
- Edmond de Rothschild, Wikipedia 1934 letter to the LoN, Edmond de Rothschild stated that the struggle to put an end to the Wandering Jew, could not have as its result, the creation of the Wandering Arab. Appears at Wikipedia in 2012 but with no reference.
- Knesset, Tour Station 6: The Cornerstone and Dedication Certificate The cornerstone of the Knesset building was laid on 14 October, 1958, in the presence of the President ... and the widow of James de Rothschild, who donated six million Israeli Pounds towards the construction of the building. Knesset.gov.il 2003.
- David Alexander and Claude Montefiore, presidents respectively of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and of the Anglo-Jewish Association thought the Balfour Declaration a veritable calamity for the whole Jewish people which must have the effect throughout the world of stamping the Jews as strangers in their native lands, and of undermining their hard-won position as citizens and nationals of those lands. Boston Globe 2nd Apr 2006.
- From co-existence to conquest, International Law and the Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict 1891-1949 by Victor Kattan as I read [Zionism's] meaning it is, among other things, a serious endeavour to mitigate the age-long miseries created for western civilisation by the presence in its midst of a Body which it too long regarded as alien and even hostile, but which it was equally unable to expel or absorb. Surely, for this if for no other reason, it should receive our support. Arthur Balfour, 1919, in the introduction to Nahum Sokolow's The History of Zionism, 1600-1918
- Montagu Memorandom on the Anti-Semitism of the British Government ... at the very time when these Jews [referring to Jews in Russia] have been acknowledged as Jewish Russians and given all liberties, it seems to be inconceivable that Zionism should be officially recognised by the British Government Edwin Montagu, Aug 23 1917.
- Sachar, Howard M. (2006), A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time. Wikipedia references this book for the figure that 160 Jews were injured in the riots of 1920 without noting his easily found Zionist sympathies eg here
- Morris, Benny Righteous Victims. 2001 p.100, cites Wasserstein 1991.
- Morris, Benny. Righteous Victims. 2001 p.90 says there were 66,000 Jews, citing Yehoshu Porath, 1976 (perhaps a typo, and in fact The Palestine-Arab National Movement, 1920-1939: From Riots to Rebellion. London: Frank Cass, 1977) p.31 for a report by Clayton from December 1918.
- INTERIM REPORT ON THE CIVIL ADMINISTRATION OF PALESTINE The Jewish element of the population numbers 76,000. Almost all have entered Palestine during the last 40 years. HERBERT SAMUEL, High Commissioner and Commander-in-Chief. 30th July, 1921.
- Laqueur, Walter. A History of Zionism New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972. p.231, In 1914 [transfer] was suggested by Nahum Sokolow cited in A Historical Survey of Proposals to Transfer Arabs from Palestine 1895 - 1947 by Chaim Simmons and archived by palestineremembered.com However, Sokolow is also said to have written a few years later to Chaim Weizmann warning him that on grounds of political inexpediency, against a plan then afoot to expropriate Arab landlords from Palestine cited to Sykes, Christopher. Cross Roads to Israel. London: Collins, 1965. p.61 fn.1.
- Zionism's Attitude to Anti-Semitism Tony Greenstein, anti-Zionist activist writes In his autobiography, Weizmann goes out of his way to paint an extraordinarily sympathetic portrait of this bigot [Sir William Evans-Gordon] RETURN, London, March 1989. DEAD LINK but used by Wikipedia for the same passages in the Weizmann autobiography, see here.
- The Woodhead Report (of 1938) The British Government accompanied the publication of the Woodhead Report by a statement of policy rejecting partition as impracticable. Jewish Virtual Library.
- History of Zionism (1600-1918), Volume I, Nahum Sokolow, 1919 It has been said and is still being obstinately repeated by anti-Zionists again and again, that Zionism aims at the creation of an independent "Jewish State" .. The "Jewish State" was never part of the Zionist programme. pages xxiv-xxv. Cited by Wikipedia.
- Morris, Benny."Righteous Victims. 2001 ...we always sympathised profoundly with the persecuted Jews and their misfortunes in other countries ... but there is wide difference between such sympathy and the acceptance of such a nation ... ruling over us and disposing of our affairs. p.76 Cited to Tessler, Mark. A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994. p.155.
- Morris, Benny."Righteous Victims. 2001 p. 90 We have noticed yesterday a large crowd of Jews carrying banners and over-running the streets shouting words which hurt the feeling and wound the soul. Cited to Wasserstein, Bernard. The British in Palestine: The Mandatory Government and the ArabJewish Conflict 1917-1929. Oxford, England: Basil Blackwell, 1991. p.31-32.
- FO 371/5114 E 37-1/5114 E 6982/61/44, Allenby to Lord Curzon, l0 June 1920, Petition from the Moslem-Christian Association in Jaffa, to the Military Governor, on the occasion of the First Anniversary of British Entry into Jaffa 16 November 1918, Zu'aytir papers pp. 7-8. Cited by Huneidi p.32.
- William D. Rubinstein, The Secret of Leopold Amery from the "Institute of Historical Research" June 2000: p.175-196. is surprisingly quoted by Wikipedia for the startling information that Leo Amery may have written the Balfour Declaration.
|Display date||2 November 1917 +|
|Display docType||letter +|
|Display image||File:Balfour_Declaration.jpg +|
|Has author||Arthur Balfour +|
|Has documentType||letter +|
|Has fullPageName||Balfour Declaration of 1917 +|
|Has fullPageNamee||Balfour_Declaration_of_1917 +|
|Has image2||File:Balfour_Declaration.jpg +|
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|Has objectClass2||Publication +|
|Has publicationDate||November 2, 1917 +|
|Has recipient||Walter Rothschild +|
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|Has revisionUser||Patrick Haseldine +|
|Has wikipediaPage||https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balfour Declaration of 1917 +|
|Has wikipediaPage2||https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balfour_Declaration_of_1917 +|
|Is about||Zionism + and Israel +|
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