The Balfour Declaration

What was the Balfour Declaration?

There are only a few documents in Middle Eastern history which have as much influence as the Balfour Declaration. The Balfour Declaration was sent as a 67-word statement contained within the short letter addressed to the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Arthur Balfour on November 2, 1917. The declaration acknowledged the establishment of a Jewish home in Palestine. The statement of the Declaration read as:

“His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors 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.”

The letter was addressed to Lionel Walter Rothschild, a British banker and a Zionist activist, who drafted the declaration with the help of fellow Zionists Chaim Weizmann and Nahum Sokolow. The declaration proved to be in line with the wishes of Zionist leaders who hoped for a homeland in Palestine and designed the intense immigration of Jews from all over the world to Palestine.

As Balfour was a part of the liberal government under Prime Minister David Lloyd George, they formed a public opinion that Jews have undergone injustices for a long time for which the West is to be blamed. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the West to find and establish a Jewish homeland.

The motivation for achieving a separate homeland for Jews was aided by fundamentalist Christians who encouraged the idea for two reasons; to depopulate their own lands of Jews and to fulfill the Biblical prophecy, according to which the return of the Christ will occur after the establishment of a Jewish kingdom in the Holy Land.

The Balfour Declaration met with criticism and controversies from the start, mainly because of its ambiguous text. The interpreters claimed that it did not state the idea of establishing a unique Jewish state rather a homeland where they would live alongside Palestinians and other Arabs. It was also pointed out that the second part of the declaration about the protection of the rights of Palestinian Arabs could be taken by them as the British endorsing Arab autonomy. Britain indeed protected Arab rights at some points during the mandate but its role remained contradictory nonetheless.

In 1917, at the time of the declaration, Palestinian community was 90% of the total population while Jews amounting to around 50,000 only. By the time of Israel’s declaration of independence in 1947, this Jewish population increased to 600,000. By this time, Jews had been actively establishing quasi-governmental institutions, provoking resistance from Palestinians which occurred in the form of minor uprisings in 1933, 1929, 1921 and 1920 and a major one which lasted from 1936 to 1939 which is also known as Palestine Arab Revolt.

The Balfour Declaration is said to have laid the foundation for the formation of the state of Israel which finally happened thirty-one years later in 1948.

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§ 8 Responses to The Balfour Declaration"

  • Thomas Iverson says:

    I have always found it interesting that the Arabs in general and Muslims in particular hate the United States since we had nothing to do with the establishment of Palestine or a Jew state. I have known this for over 30 years but no one seems to want to bring this up in the conversation.

    • Sara Megan says:

      Muslims hate the United States? That’s a REALLY bold statement you are making… and did you read the above article? I disagree that we had “nothing to do” with the the establishment of “Palestine” or a “Jew State”… Have you looked at other articles too?

    • Zuleica says:

      Jack Chrapot, if Israel has been wrongly framed, the apology should be to Israel not to the Jewish people . If Saudi Arabia is wrongly framed, the apology should be to Saudi Arabia not to the Muslim people.

    • Jason says:

      Its because we heavily support them both with money and arms now….the influence Isreal has in our government is huge.

    • Tracey says:

      The Arab world, regardless of religion, continue to vent their frustrations at successive American administrations who support Israel and turn a blind eye to their unlawful occupation of Arab land. Multitude of UN Resolutions calling for Israel to leave the occupied territories are ignored by Israel with the implicit support of America. During his time as President, George Bush Snr even said it was ‘unfortunate’ that Israel did not leave the occupied territories. Ironically, this is the same President who took US troops to the Middle East to oust Iraq for invading and occupying Kuwait. Lets not loose sight of the fact that Israel provides the US with a strategic footing in the Middle East. We should also be careful of the discourse in our media that is used to describe the conflict in the region – terrorist or defender, it really just depends on which side of the gun turret you are standing.

  • Josef Zuares says:

    It is most unfortunate that so many people still think that Jews try to control foreign governments,international markets,media etc.It could appease these people’s fears if they could only change the word”control”with the more appropriate one “lead”.For “control” is a mean empires use to keep centralized power.Jews never aimed at becoming an empire and their religion is the only monotheistic one that does not proselyte.If the Bible is truly accepted by most as the word of God,then it becomes quite upsetting to hear so many of you denying what it is written in it.

  • james ainoris says:

    Chaim Weitzmann was a russian jew and a scientist who developed a process to make limitless amounts of smokeless high power explosive called “cordite” This new gunpowder was clean and didnt foul up artillery guns or give up their positions… more important is that it could be derived from corn alcohol into aceytone then cordite…America supplied huge quantities of corn to england who made such.. Germany had to rely on wood alcohol and could not produce enough… a bacteria used in this process developed by weitzmann “bacillusweitzmann?” sic is now used. Lord Balfour credited Weitzmann for helping defeat the germans and favored a Jewish home land in Israel…. sadly as always england went back on their pledge since it needed to stay friendly to the Arabs (who are from arabia not Israel) to maintain lucrative oil rights…The Ottoman turks helped the Germans and were thrown out of Israel by englang after ww1. The Turks had legally sold land to Jews and were happy to have them as neighbors.. James ainoris

  • LarryD says:

    The US picked up the military problems left by the UK after several years of trying to prevent the Newly arrived Jews from killing the Muslims who occupied the lane for almost 2000 years. The Balfour declaration of 1917 allowed the Jews to enter Israel with the understanding of accepting their Muslims population, that failed and the British Military were installed in the future Israel to protect the people who existed there for 1900 years, they failed and retreated in 1947.
    Money flowed into the American Government and still does today. The decision was made and the USA picked up where the UK left off. They were intelligent enough to kiss the Jews Good Buy and leave the oncoming Israel mess to the Americans. The world now stands against us. GOD help the USA. LarryD

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