The 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration is approaching and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign are rather annoyed that, the Government has made it clear that it has no intention of apologising for Balfour. Here is the Balfour Declaration in Full
November 2nd, 1917
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you. on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet
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.
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Arthur James Balfour
Why do we need to apologise to Palestinians for this bit?
it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine
The Israeli government needs to apologise for not honouring that excerpt from it.
On October 7th PSC held a national conference on Balfour and are having regional conferences on it. Why somebody would hold a conference on a hundred year document consisting of three paragraphs is beyond me. But anyway, PSC inform us that ‘their expert panels’ made clear, the Balfour Declaration was an act of imperialism in which Britain saw fit to disregard the rights of the Palestinian people. Really? How can a document that said that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, disregard the rights of the Palestinian people?
PSC claim that It was founded upon an assumption that the Palestinians did not matter, that their legitimate claims to their land could be ignored.This is absolutely not the case as it clearly states that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.
As the document states that it was to be 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 only thing wrong with it is that it didn’t talk about existing Jewish communities in Palestine, some of which in 1948 were marched out at gunpoint.
It is no secret that I am pro Palestinian but if I was in Balfour’s position back then, I would have done the same thing because I know why he did it. It pleased the Jewish community in the US, so that they would encourage the Americans to get involved in WWI.
PSC correctly say that Israel, in its basic laws and, subsequently, in its policies regards the rights of the Jewish inhabitants of the land as superior to those of the Palestinian people. So the problem isn’t the Balfour declaration, the problem is, the government of Israel not honouring it in its entirety.
If the Balfour declaration was a mistake, I do not believe that we need to apologise for it, just as I do not believe that because I have a Surname of Old Norse origin, I need to apologise for the Vikings sacking Ipswich in 869.
Some time ago I was asked if I could set up a Palestinian Solidarity Campaign group in Ipswich. I couldn’t because I disagree with the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement because firstly, sanctions affect the poorest and most vulnerable in a society the most, so it would hurt the Palestinians the most. This is probably why all the Palestinians I am in contact with who support it are living in the UK, Sweden, the US or Greece. Palestinians I am in contact with in places like Bethlehem and Ramallah tend to have a different opinion. The second reason I am against BDS is the fact that if all the BDS movement’s demands were met, Israel would cease to exist and I am both pro Palestinian and pro Israeli.
What needs to be addressed is that Netanyahu is not honouring the Balfour agreement by continually building
colonial outposts illegal settlements, annexing parts of the West Bank and changing the demographics of Jerusalem by demolishing houses, repossessing houses and building new colonial outposts settlements there. You can read more about that here.
Of course the situation is made worse by the Palestinians plight being hijacked by the extreme left who want to use the Palestinians as cannon fodder in their bogus war against capitalism and the West, just as they want to use the working class as cannon fodder in their quest for absolute power for themselves. The argument for justice for the Palestinians has to come from the right.