News Release

Balfour Declaration at 100: Cause of Mideast Instability?

Next Thursday, Nov. 2, marks 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, issued in 1917 by British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour in the form of a letter to Lord Walter Rothschild. It communicated to Zionist organizations that the British government “will use their best endeavor to facilitate the achievement” of the creation of a future state of Israel.

The Jerusalem Post reports now: “World Zionist Organization finally responds to Lord Balfour in letter.” Benjamin Pogrund just wrote in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz the piece “The Balfour Declaration Promised Lebanon and Jordan to the Jews, Too,” which states: “As the First World War raged, the imperial powers raced to recognize Jewish self-determination. France put out its pro-Zionist statement five months before Balfour, while Britain worried that enemy Germany would also pre-empt it.”

Famed liberal lawyer Louis Brandeis, by then on the U.S. Supreme Court and a prominent Zionist leader, played a significant role in the Balfour Declaration. Samuel Landman, then secretary of the World Zionist Organization would later write: “After an understanding had been arrived at between Sir Mark Sykes [of the Sykes-Picot agreement to divide the Mideast between Britain and France after World War I] and [Zionist leaders Chaim] Weizmann and [Nahum] Sokolow, it was resolved to send a secret message to Justice Brandeis that the British Cabinet would help the Jews to gain Palestine in return for active Jewish sympathy and for support in the USA for the Allied cause, so as to bring about a radical pro-Ally tendency in the United States.” See “Who Wrote the Balfour Declaration and Why: The World War I Connection” by Alison Weir and “Louis Brandis, Arthur Balfour and a Declaration that Made History” [PDF] by Peter Grose.

Al Jazeera reports: “Palestinians in the UK have welcomed [Labour Party leader] Jeremy Corbyn’s decision not to attend events organized by a pro-Israel group celebrating the Balfour Declaration centenary.”

Wafa [Palestine News Agency] reports in “Worldwide protests await Britain’s celebration of Balfour anniversary” that “Mustafa Barghouti, head of the Palestinian National Initiative and a lawmaker, said … that the Balfour declaration ‘has established the basis for the apartheid system’ in Israel. He said the declaration was not made for concern for Jews around the world, rather more so for colonial reasons. ‘The declaration has created instability in the Middle East, which has been going on for 100 years,’ he said.”

RAMZY BAROUD, ramzybaroud at gmail.com, @RamzyBaroud
Baroud is editor of The Palestine Chronicle. His recent pieces there include “Hamas and Fatah Must Transform to Speak on Behalf of Palestinians.” He is author of the newly released book The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story

He recently wrote “The Balfour Declaration Destroyed Palestine, Not the Palestinian People” for the Middle East Monitor, which states that Balfour “cared little about the fate of Jewish communities. His commitment to establishing a Jewish state in a land that was already populated by a thriving and historically-rooted nation was only meant to enlist the support of wealthy Zionist leaders in Britain’s massive military buildup during World War I. …

“Yet, he clearly had no genuine regard for the millions of Palestinian Arabs — Muslims and Christians alike — who were to suffer the cruelty of war, ethnic cleansing, racism and humiliation over the course of a century.

“The Balfour Declaration was equivalent to a decree calling for the annihilation of the Palestinian people. Not one Palestinian, anywhere, remained completely immune from the harm invited by Balfour and his government.

“Tamam Nassar, now 75 years old, was one of millions of Palestinians whose life Balfour scarred forever. She was uprooted from her village of Joulis in southern Palestine, in 1948. She was only five.

“Tamam, now lives with her children and grandchildren in the Nuseirat Refugee Camp in Gaza. Ailing under the weight of harsh years, and weary by a never-ending episode of war, siege and poverty, she holds on to a few hazy memories of a past that can never be redeemed. …”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, sam at accuracy.org, (202) 347-0020, David Zupan, (541) 484-9167