balfour no apologies

Apologise for the Balfour Declaration? You are having a laugh

balfour no apologiesSuddenly everyone wants to talk about a letter written 99 years ago. As Israelis and Zionists worldwide begin the countdown to the 100-year anniversary celebration of the Balfour Declaration, several campaigns have been launched that seek to persuade the British Government to ‘apologise’.

The Balfour Declaration was a letter, written by the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Walter Rothschild. It is recognised as having started the international process that would be undersigned through the San Remo conference, underpin the British Mandate of Palestine, the 1947 Partition and see the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

One of the ‘apologise for Balfour’ campaigns was launched by the Palestine Return Centre in the House of Lords. It was to give a platform to vile comments and would lead to the suspension and resignation of Baroness Jenny Tonge.

Another of these campaigns, ‘the Balfour Project’ held an event at Southwark Cathedral last weekend. This itself part of a worrying trend of anti-Israel events recently held in Christian places of worship in the UK. Reports from that event suggest the campaign is “yet another vehicle for the vilification of Israel.”

Israel exists. The Jewish home was eventually created (albeit in a circular route), and is without much argument, the most liberal nation in the entire region. So just what should the UK Government apologise for?

There has been endless commentary on anti-Zionist outlets. I have analysed several of the pieces on the Balfour apology. They all centre around several key points.

  1. To use Balfour to establish Israel as a settler colonial enterprise.
  2. To use the Balfour Declaration to suggest contradiction between Zionism and democracy.
  3. To demonise Israel by suggesting Israel exists because of the support of global ‘unsavoury’ elements.
  4. To suggest it was the antisemites of the UK, rather than the Jews, who sought to support Zionism.

A recent article by Ben White is a perfect example of this.  White pushes all these elements in his argument. Ben White is a prolific writer and one of the leading lights of the Boycott Israel campaign (BDS) in the UK. Another example is a recent article penned by Robert Cohen, one of the speakers at the Balfour Project conference.

Balfour and the settler colonial angle

Balfour was a letter of its time. Arguments used by anti-Zionists utilise different time periods to create an argument out of context. I see too many people struggling to respond to this. It is 2016. Israel was created in 1948. Balfour was written in 1917.  Six years after Balfour, two million people were transferred between Turkey and Greece. 30 years after Balfour, India was partitioned. Balfour can only be judged by the standards of 1917.

For anti-Zionists, this angle is important because it strengthens the idea of Israel as a colonial settler enterprise. Suggesting the British Empire took land from an indigenous people and gave it to European colonists. Yet this logic takes our eye off the ball (the Jews) by focusing on the player (Balfour). Jews were not the British.

Only if you look at Jews as being ‘European’ can you begin to ‘buy into’ this argument. And in doing so, inadvertently highlight the fundamental reason Jews needed a state of their own.

Anti-Zionists push the idea that white supremacist Jews rule over everyone else in Israel, Arab Jew and non-Jew alike. They frequently suggest all non-Europeans inside Israel are second class citizens. It is a central part of the BDS propaganda campaign.

Yet in Arabic lands, Jews were permitted to live, but considered ‘Dhimmi’. Protected, but second class nonetheless. Alien. There were often outbreaks of violence against Jews. In the 20th century there were brutal attacks against many of these communities.  The Farhud in Iraq in 1941 for example.

So, what did the Europeans think?

The Europeans considered Jews so alien that Jewish people were fleeing the brutal pogroms of Eastern Europe long before Balfour. Europe is littered with old ‘Jewish Quarters’ or ghettos, areas in a city where Europeans ‘permitted’ Jewish people to live. Balfour’s Europe was about to commit genocide against the Jews.

So nobody considered the Jews ‘native’. They were unwanted, segregated, and set apart everywhere they resided.  They chose to escape the lands of their persecution to recreate themselves in the land they had originated from. A clear movement of national liberation. A movement facilitated by the British.

Inside a world in which Jewish people in Europe underwent genocide because they were not considered European, the entire Colonial settler paradigm falls apart. We should thank anti-Zionists refusal to provide a home for Jews anywhere, even today (their refusal to accept Israel), for proving the moral imperative behind the Zionist argument.

Zionism and democracy

The argument suggests Zionists inside the soon-to-be Mandate lands were but a tiny minority, and they sought to impose their will on the majority. Only through this imposition could the Zionists forge a state. Those like White use Zionist quotes out of context to make them seem more sinister.

There is a clear misunderstanding of Zionism in this argument. Zionists considered the Jews a nation of millions, and considered Palestine the Jewish home.  They considered the Jews displaced. For them, the Jewish voice was viable but unheard. An absentee vote. To suggest that the Zionists should only have considered those already inside the Mandate area as democratically empowered is to deny the Jewish people the very voice Zionists set out to empower.

White does this of course to create another myth. That Zionism is fundamentally non-democratic. He uses modern day issues such as the post 1967 disputes to drive home a false image of Israel’s anti-democratic nature. Yet tying Balfour in 1917 in a straight line to the partition of 1947 and therefore the creation of Israel is a gross rewrite of history.

It may work from the Israeli perspective: Balfour suggested, the League of Nations confirmed and Arab violence tried to stop. Therefore, Israel came to be despite opposition.

But it does not work the other way around. Had the Arabs not violently resisted Jewish immigration, there would have been no partition. Balfour did not propose partition, nor Israel. Balfour suggested ‘One state’ for all. What turned Balfour into the two-state scenario was Arab violence. That element is always missing from the anti-Israel narrative.

Balfour did not create Israel,  Arab violence did. The Zionists did not create Arab suffering, Arab violence did. With one hand, anti-Zionists are suggesting the one state vision is a utopia we must strive for, yet on the other they wish the British Government would apologise for suggesting it. Go figure.

Unsavoury elements

White’s articles have deteriorated. Time was, that despite reliance on a false narrative. Ben could be trusted to build a cohesive argument. Working well with the weak tools he had been given. Much more of his recent work has been directed to personal attacks, shoddy and sub-standard. The ‘unsavoury elements’ argument uses smear tactics and guilt by association as a way of demonising Israel. Israel is supported by extremists, fascists, illiberals. To discuss the ‘unsavoury elements’ accusation, a short exercise should suffice:

The suggestion is that Christian Zionist support for Israel is unsavoury. This as terror groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad align with radical left wing groups such as the Communists or Momentum as the forces behind anti-Zionist movements. Look at some of the nation states that support and those that oppose Israel:



So which side is unsavoury? You can make your own mind up.

Jewish opposition to Balfour

At both Balfour apology campaign launches, and in almost every single article written on the subject, one Jewish name is mentioned as often as Weizmann or Herzl, and that is Montagu. Edwin Samuel Montagu was the only Jewish member of the British cabinet at the time. Montagu, was opposed to the Balfour Declaration.

This is always used to suggest Christian anti-Semites wanted rid of their Jews and Balfour was the enabling method. That Zionism is a cult that does not represent Jews.  That Jews as a block opposed a handful of Zionist Jews and lost.

There is a certain irony in those that use Montagu as part of their argument. Hiding behind a Jewish person making accusations of antisemitism in the government are the very people who today belittle every accusation of antisemitism that Jewish people make.

So why did Montagu oppose Balfour? In his memorandum, often used for a headline, but rarely understood, Montagu details his opposition.

Montagu clearly displays limited vision. He talks of there being too many Jews to ‘fit in’ and a ‘tower of Babel’ full of people unable to communicate. Last time I looked, there were over 8 million citizens in Israel (just a fraction of the land in Montagu’s calculation) and most people seemed to be speaking Hebrew.

But the underlying sentiment here in his talk of nationalism and the newly found liberties of Russian Jews was an attitude that grossly misread world trends and the implications of what was occurring. We  understand also that 2000 years of diaspora life had made Jews wary of the ‘dual loyalty’ accusation that was the early warning sign of oncoming persecution.  Montagu wasn’t alone in reading the world wrong, but he was wrong. His was a monumental error. You don’t hold up the ‘blind man’ and use his vision to argue against those that could see.

We can categorically say that anti-Zionists prior to the holocaust were all wrong. We have historical support for this argument. We can say the same of anti-Zionist Jews who lived in Eastern Europe in the 1920’s. What of their anti-Zionism? Within 10 years many of them would be fleeing the rising vice like grip of Nazi Europe. Those that failed to run, burnt in the fires of antisemitic hatred.

There was an absolute, desperate need for a Jewish state by 1933. Are these historical anti-Zionists being used to  suggest there wasn’t? Using pre-Holocaust anti-Zionism to raise an argument against Israel is absurd.

It isn’t often that I agree with Ben White, but I will accept his article in one tiny part. The British do need to “reflect on a painful legacy”. Balfour was written in 1917. By 1922 the Mandate was in place.  If the British had swiftly finished the job they had been given international license to carry out, just how many Jewish lives could have been saved? Heartbreaking. Closing the doors to Jews running from the holocaust. That indeed does need some British reflection.


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15 thoughts on “Apologise for the Balfour Declaration? You are having a laugh

    1. Watch :Historical video of the life of Jews in Ottoman Palestine. What was Israel in 1913 were territories of the Ottoman Empire -. You can see the life of the Jewish people both in Israel and in Judea today in Hebron, Palestine today. It is important because the lunatic leftists deny these facts. We should show it to the Palestinians, whose propaganda their TV of all nations cited in the there were Arabs to 100 % not jews at this time and Europian jews came in1948 and steal “their “Palestine and Lunatic leftists who say the Jews are occupying an Arab land, they should watch the video to check your false argument . Remember that in 1917 when territories became part of the English colony , English Foreign Minister Balfourd, was autor of Declaration on Palestine named after him , which created the Palestinan Mandate, to provide a home for the Jews .
      The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel Under International Law:
      San Remo Conference
      British mandate for Palestine.
      British mandate for Palestine.

      Real Palestinians = jews in 1927
      1938–39 in Mandatory Jewish Palestinian football team in Australia
      1938–39 in Mandatory Palestine football
      On National Palestinian Football uniform You can see Jewish star!
      1938–39 in Mandatory Palestine football
      Names of National Palestinian Football they are all Jews!
      1939 Palestinian Flag!
      Origins of Palestine Symphony Members
      British mandate coins:
      Bank Anglo – Palestine was owned by Jewish egency
      ” All the denominations were trilingual in Arabic, English and Hebrew. The Hebrew inscription includes the initials Alef Yud after “Palestina”, for “Aretz Yisrael” (Land of Israel) ”

      The Jews from Palestine were recruited by British to fight the German Nazis in Europe in WW2.(Jewish brigads)
      You can see the Palestinian Flag with the The Jewish star on it and Jewish star on military uniform of jewish soldiers Fighting the Germany together with Brits !
      In opposit to Jew Arabs from Palestine were on Side of Hitler at time of WW2
      and participated of extermination of Jews in Europe!

      Fakelestinian Leader Farouk Qaddumi: We “Supported”
      the Nazis in WWII
      Nazi arab Palestinians and the holocaust: the muslim Bosnian Waffen SS
      A few of the arab muslim officers who either supported or served in the Nazi army:
      • Mohammed Amin al-Husseini, Grand Mufti, was an Artillery Officer in the Ottoman Army, was criminally implicated in the 1920 Nebi Musa riots conspiracy, established himself in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, recruited for Muslims to join the SS, and was the Prime Minister in the All Palestine Government (APG).
      • Ahmed Hilmi Abd al-Baqi, was a General Officer in the Ottoman Army, became President of the APG.
      • Hasan Salama, Commander of the Palestinian Holy War Army during the 1948-1949 Israeli War of Independence, had been a special commando unit of the Waffen SS.
      • Fawzi al-Qawuqji, Commander of the Arab Liberation Army during the 1948-1949 Israeli War of Independence, Graduate of the Military Academy (Kara Harp Okulu), was a Field Artillery Captain during WWI, was later a Wehrmacht Colonel, German Army WWII.

      Betrayal of the Jews by BRITS
      Fakalestinians are arab and muslims illegal invaders to land of Israel that invaded Israel from many arab and muslim states mainly at period of British Mandate to Palestine The origin of “Palestinians” Fathi Hammad (Hamas Interior Minister)
      Origine of citizens living in few of Arab villages in Israel
      Free ,free Palestine and we will conquer the world!
      Identity, origins & conflict in Israel/ Palestine, Part 1.
      Identity, origins & conflict in Israel/ Palestine, Part 2.
      Evidence for Arab Migration to the Holy Land:
      illegal immigration of muslims and arabs to west Palestine much more bigger then the Jewish legal immigration in time of British Mandate
      In 1935, registered illegal immigration to Palestine consisted of: 64% Muslims and 36% of Jews.
      Evidence for Arab Migration to the Holy Land:
      Read book :Jone Pethers American hitorican writer 1984 from time Immemorial
      Robert F. Kennedy’s 1948 visit to Palestine
      The Jews point with pride to the fact that over 500,000 Arabs, in the 12 years between 1932-1944, came into Palestine to take advantage of living conditions existing in no other Arab state..

      When it was ever their land?
      It has never been a Palestinian state !!
      And this land is not “their”!
      Palestinians are themselves migrants who arrived in neighboring Arab countries!

      ” In 1878, following Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, many Bosnian Muslims, apprehensive of living under Christian rule, emigrated to the Ottoman Empire, and significant numbers went to Palestine, where most adopted the surname Bushnak. To this day, Bushnak remains a common surname among Palestinians of Bosnian origin ”

      ” It is known that significant Egyptian migration to Palestine happened at the end of the 18th century due to a severe famine in Egypt ”

      ” Following the First Egyptian-Ottoman War, which saw the Egyptian conquest of Palestine, more Egyptians were brought to Palestine as forced laborers. Following the Second Egyptian-Ottoman War, which saw Egyptian rule in Palestine terminated, massive numbers of soldiers deserted during the Egyptian army’s retreat from Palestine to permanently settle there ”
      Never before has “Palestinian nation” that their The land was!
      They are all Arabs who came from different Arab places !!!
      The land never had been arab state !
      They never developed it – and Jerusalem has never been a major city or capital of any Muslim rule!
      For the reason that Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran – and it was not important enough to Arabs – until the Jews began to return to Israel ancestors!

    2. Not nearly as concerning as what the Neturei Karta have planned for their Palestinian bosom buddies. Suggest you do a little research .

  1. So Dave asks (but never answers), “So just what should the UK Government apologise for?”

    How about the 1939 White Paper that locked Jews in the Third Reich’s death machine but could have saved literally millions (without a one entering Britain itself). When all is said and done, that is England’s primary and deplorable act affecting the history of the Jewish people.

    1. If the Balfour was debated Protestant England wouldnt have carved Palestine up. Then therd be no White Paper, also not debated. But no way is the Queen visiting a foreign nation on the 100th Balfour where gas shells were used. Who could point to Assad then?

  2. The declaration was written in 1916 it was written based on the anti Semitic belief that Jews
    Controlled the banks of the US
    In this case antisemitism worked for the Jews
    My great grandfather a anti Zionist wrote , it was called the formula , and it was requested by lord gray

    1. Robert. 1916? So it took almost 2 years to write?

      As far as I am aware, the British tried to unravel the history of the document sometime in the early 1920’s. There were several drafts. The earliest being that of Rothschild in July of 1917. Do you have a source? I asked because Lord Grey was the predecessor and Foreign Secretary during the McMahon-Hussein negotiations. So what you are suggesting makes little sense.

      1. By the mid 1800s, the land of Palestine was VERY sparsely populated.
        Read book by autor Martin Sicker.From Muhamed Ali to the Bitish mandate.
        1.Jews were the first to lose their homes in the Arab-Jewish conflict – in 1866
        The Jewish Population of Palestine declined int years 1832-1840 decreased to half as resault of muslim, arabs massacres.
        2.Year 1838 Muslim and arab mobs attack on Safed. Arab rebels and Muslim mobs plundered Jewish quarters for three days .
        3. Year 1834 looting of Safed 1834 Safed by Arab rioters that originaly was anti Egyptian revolt turn as pogroms, killing ,detail torture and mass-rape of Jewish population.

        4.Arab revolt began against Egyptians occupation of Palestine began in 1832 and lasted until 1840
        Year 1834. Hebron massacre by Egyptian troops killed Over 500 people did not distinguish
        between inhabitants; for three hours, troops plundered, killed, raped and maimed Muslim and Jew alike .1834 Hebron massacre

        1857: British consul, James Finn, reported “The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is that of a body of population.”

        1859: British Consulate report: The Muslims of Jerusalem do not exceed a fourth of the entire population.

        Jerusalem in Photos from 1862: No mosques, no “Palestinians” –
        only ghost towns of massacred Christian areas

        1867: Charles Wyllys Elliott, president of Harvard University, wrote: “A beautiful sea lies unbosomed, among the Galilean hills in the mist of that land once possessed by Zebulon and Naphtali, Asher and Dan. Life here was one idyllic… now it is a scene of desolation and misery.”

        1867: American author Mark Twain visited the Holy Land, and wrote about it in his book “The Innocents Abroad”: “…[a] desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds -a silent mournful expanse….A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action….We never saw a human being on the whole route….There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of the worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.” “There are two or three small clusters of Bedouin tents, but not a single permanent habitation.” “One may ride ten miles hereabouts, and not see ten human beings.”

        1874: Reverend Samuel Manning(Mark Twain ) wrote in his book, “Those Holy Fields” But where were the inhabitants? This fertile plain which might support an immense population, is almost a solitude.”

        Starting in 1878, enormous waves of Muslim immigration began arriving in what was essentially an empty territory.

        Unlike Arabs, when Jews immigrated to the Holy Land, it was the indigenous people returning.⇦

        1921- : Franklin D. Roosevelt, president of the United States, said on May 17, 1939, “The Arab immigration to Palestine since 1921 was much greater than Jewish immigration.”
        Evidence for Arab Migration to the Holy Land:
        illegal immigration of muslims and arabs to west Palestine much more bigger then the Jewish legal immigration in time of British Mandate
        In 1935, registered illegal immigration to Palestine consisted of: 64% Muslims and 36% of Jews.
        Evidence for Arab Migration to the Holy Land:
        Read book :Jone Pethers American hitorican writer 1984 from time Immemorial

        1922 – 1947: Arab population increased the most in cities with large Jewish populations that had created new economic opportunities. The non-Jewish population increased 290 percent in Haifa, 131 percent in Jerusalem and 158 percent in Jaffa. The growth in Arab towns was more modest: 42 percent in Nablus, 78 percent in Jenin and 37 percent in Bethlehem.

        1934: The governor of the Syrian district of Hauran, Tewfik Bey El Hurani, admitted in 1934, that in a single period of only a few months, over 30,000 Syrians from Houran had moved to Palestine.

        1939: Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister and a veteran of the British Mandate in the Holy Land, noted in 1939 the Arab invasion: The Arabs have crowded into the country and multiplied till their population has increased more than even all world Jewry could lift up the Jewish population.

        June 1948: The Jews point with pride to the fact that over 500,000 Arabs, in the 12 years between 1932-1944, came into Palestine to take advantage of living conditions existing in no other Arab state. -Robert F. Kennedy visited the British Mandate of Palestine in 1948, one month before Israel declared its independence, and reported this for the Boston Post.

        by Jone Pethers American hitorican writer 1984 From Time Immemorial
        San Remo’s Mandate: Israel’s ‘Magna Carta’ –

    2. AntiSEMS wanted Jews out of Europe 1917 when Zionism was not the will of worlds Jews

  3. A tour and census of Palestine year 1695: No sign of Arabian names or Palestinians
    The author of the work, one of the first Orientalists, knew Hebrew, Arabic and Greek (ancient).
    In 1695, Relandi (or Reland) is sent on a study tour to Israel, Palestine then, with a very specific purpose: to identify more than 2500 locations (cities and towns) that appear in the text of the Tanach (Bible) or in the Mishnah, with its original name.
    In each case the Hebrew name Reland mentioned as the exact verse referred to in the text and. Reland also writes its equivalent in Latin and ancient Greek. . Besides this linguistic work, the author develops primarily a census of the time for each location visited: first, a general account claims that the land of Israel then, is virtually deserted, very sparsely populated.
    Most of its inhabitants are concentrated in the cities of Jerusalem, Acre (Akko), Tzfat (Safed), Yafo, Tveria (Tiberias) and Aza (Gaza).
    Above all, the point made by the geographer is to find a dominant presence of the Jews on the land, some Christians and a few Muslims, most of whom were Bedouins.
    Some notes from this fascinating study:
    No town name then leads Arab or Arabic font.
    The vast majority of its cities and towns have a Hebrew name, some in Greek or Latin.
    Virtually no city that now has a name in Arabic possessed at that time, or Haifa or Jaffa or Nablus (Shehem), or Gaza or Jenin.
    No sign in investigations Reland historical sources and philological established with more later, Ramallah, Arab names Al Halil (Hebron) or Al-Quds (Jerusalem)
    In 1696, Ramallah was called “Beteïlé” (the Hebrew name “Beth El”)
    Hebron Hebron and called … Me’arat Hamahpéla (Cave of the Patriarchs): Al Halil, the name given to Avraham Avinu in Arabic.
    Most cities include Jews, with the exception of Nablus (Shehem), which had 120 people from the same Muslim family, “Natashe” and 70 Samaritans.
    In Nazareth, in Galilee, entirely Christian city 700 Christians.
    . In Jerusalem, more than 5000 inhabitants, of which the majority is Jewish, and some Christians.
    Reland evokes only a few isolated Muslim Bedouin families, consisting of seasonal temporary workers engaged in agriculture or construction.
    The Jews were mainly specialized in agriculture: grapes, olives and wheat (Gush Katif)Gaza strip. . Most Christians engaged in trade and transportation of various products. Tiberias and Safed region were Jewish communities.
    Teberias sea was the main job for familias. A city like eg Oum El Fahem was entirely Christian: 10 families

    1. Zionists not a majority in Palestine til 1920 – JUDAISM VS ZIONISM Rabbi Rabkin google it

  4. UN Charter and Article 80.

    International law, the UN Charter, and specifically Article 80 of the UN Charter implicitly recognize the “Mandate for Palestine” of the League of Nations. This Mandate granted Jews the irrevocable right to settle in the area of Palestine, anywhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Rostow explains:

    “This right is protected by Article 80 of the United Nations Charter. The Mandates of the League of Nations have a special status in international law, considered to be trusts, indeed ‘sacred trusts.’

    “Under international law, neither Jordan nor the Palestinian Arab ‘people’ of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have a substantial claim to the sovereign possession of the occupied territories


  5. The most effective exponents of Christian Zionism – the belief that the Jewish people were destined by God to have a national homeland in Palestine and that Christians were obliged to use means to enable this to take place – were Jewish converts to evangelical Christianity who did much to shape the development of popular evangelical thinking in these matters. It was this Protestant religious discourse that marked the family backgrounds of many of the key members of the British political elite responsible for formulating the Balfour Declaration. The Declaration was not debated in either of the Houses of Parliament and like most foreign policy issues, was never approved by the British legislature. Was not the will of the world’s Jews.

    the fact the B D wasnt debated in Parliament really made it a flimsier document. What came back to bite it, also not debated? THE WHITE PAPER

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