The Tragic Declaration: Colonial Legacies, Balfour and Israel

Hits: 784

So much after the fact; so much in terms of opportunism gone to seed and destruction. But planned historical calamities tend to be rare. There are only absurd moments, dastardly opportunities, and tragic convergences. History is less the outcome of wise deliberation than folly dressed up as reason, occasionally tinged by a touch of malice.

On November 2, 1917, the British government published the Balfour Declaration (one of “sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations”) by means of a letter written by Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour to Lord Walter Rothschild. It suggested forthcoming British assistance for the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine.

Problems soon emerged, showing what Arthur Koestler would suggest as the solemn promising of one nation to a second the country of a third, all happening even before the Ottoman Empire had ceased to exist.

This was British imperial opportunism at its worst, or, if you fancy that sort of pluck, best. It played on the aspirations of Zionists; it also went counter to the promise of liberation for Arabs in the event they overthrew their Ottoman overlords. The moral tic only came later, a sort of retrospective imposition.

Submerged in the Declaration are a series of questions writ large. There is the Eastern Question – one of Ottoman-eastern influences on Europe and more broadly, the Occident. Then there was that overall niggling problem of where European Jewry persisted as carriers of an eastern legacy in Europe, “which Enlightened and un-Enlightened European Christians,” poses Joseph Massad, “found intolerable.”[1]

This became, with all its paranoid fixations, cultural mania and concern, the “Jewish question”, an absurdist fantasy that attempted to press Jewish influence in Europe as a matter of unreformed, eastern practice. How much better, then, to have that influence exiled altogether?

This task also assumed the oddest of forms, and the creation of uncomfortable bed fellows in what effectively became a colonial project of collusion and complicity. Theodor Herzl, founder of the First Zionist Congress in August 1897, revealed the realpolitik caste of mind that would also be mirrored by the politics behind Balfour.

Those “anti-Semites,” he proclaimed, “will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies.”

The Balfour letter itself retained those various contradictions. Having pitched for a Jewish state, it then went on to suggest 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 of Jews in any other country.” This was imperial parcelling of the worst sort, making claims about racial, religious and ethnic reordering without a mind to consequence.

Over time, reading the Declaration suggested the workings of a psychodrama, teasing historians into adventurous analyses. Historian Barbara Tuchman in her classic Bible and Sword, England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour (1956) imputed to Lord Balfour a religious motive, morally biblical more than realpolitik imperial. The Jews, went this line, needed repaying in some form, a gesture of historical recompense.

Tuchman, it must be said, then proceeded to acknowledge good old little Englander power plays at work. It was Britain’s intention “to take Palestine anyway for its strategic value; but they had to have a good moral case”. By proclaiming “that Britain would enter Palestine as trustee for its Old Testament proprietors would fulfil this purpose admirably and above all would quiet the British conscience in advance.”

As appropriately noted by Michael J. Cohen, reading the British response here requires an understanding of public show and private intimations.[2] A degree of duplicity in diplomacy – the public self adorned differently to the private – is always demanded.

Take, as an example, the meeting between Prime Minister Lloyd George and Chaim Weizmann held on July 21, 1921 at Lord Balfour’s home, with the Colonial Secretary Churchill present. Weizmann, it is noted, was reassured that the British “had always understood and meant the eventual possibility of a Jewish state.”

The 1922 Churchill White Paper supplies an example of the public show, a case of hedging, avoidance, and qualification as to what the intention of the Declaration had been. There was, for instance, never an intention to create “a wholly Jewish Palestine”. To think so was to sport an “impracticable” expectation.

Indeed, the paper went on to suggest a reassurance: that the Declaration had not envisaged that “Palestine as a whole should be converted into a Jewish National Home, but that such a Home should be found in Palestine.” A home, as it were, within a home – or perhaps a spacious room in a large abode.

The terminology “National Home” was picked up by the Peel Royal Commission in 1936 as a problematic formulation, having caused “unrest and hostility between Arabs and Jews”. That term, it is also worth noting, was a confection, less of British foreign policy than that of the First Zionist Congress in 1897.

The language does not suggest promise, but a degree of wooliness. But there was enough certainty to propel modern relevance. It has encouraged urgings on the part of the Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Minister, Riyad al-Maliki, to press for an international law suit fronted by Arab states against the United Kingdom citing the Declaration as the cause of the mass Palestinian eviction in 1948 that became the Nakba.

The complexity behind the machinations of Balfour have now been washed away by moral absolutes and declarations. The gala dinner on November 2 saw British Prime Minister Theresa May speak of British pride in “our pioneering role in the creation of the state of Israel” yet careful to insist on a two-state solution negotiated by fictionally equivalent partners.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also afforded thanks, and suggested with force the ultimate triumph of a colonial venture that had to be swallowed, consequence and whole.

“A hundred years after Balfour, the Palestinians should finally accept a Jewish national home and finally accept a Jewish state. And when they do, the road to peace will be infinitely closer.”[3]

A truly bitter history pill to swallow.

Notes

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/02/may-netanyahu-balfour-declaration-israel-palestine

A picture taken on July 4, 2018 from the Israeli-annexed Syrian Golan Heights shows displaced Syrians from the province of Daraa staging a protest (top L) calling for international protection, in the Syrian the village of al-Rafid, near the border fence with Israel. / AFP PHOTO / JALAA MAREY


Originally published on 2017-11-10

About the author: Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge and lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

Source: Global Research

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

Save

 
READ MORE!
Washington’s Wars
The New York Times reported on October 22 that the United States has “just over 240,000 active-duty and reserve troops in at least 172 countries and territories,” which is a staggering total. But in an intriguing revelation the Times reported that there are a further 37,813 troops deployed “on presumably secret assignment in places listed simply as ‘unknown.’ The Pentagon provided no further explanation.”It is not surprising that Washington’s war-spreaders do not supply information to the American public concerning the location of soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen involved in clandestine operations around the globe, because this might bring to light the lack of justification for ...
READ MORE
Baltic States Sacrifice Economy on Altar of Politics
Making negative statements concerning Russia, the Baltic States set Moscow against themselves and force it to respond. Especially they irritate it making unproven warlike statements for the sake of “common line” of the EU or NATO on the issue. But as John Steinbeck said “all war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.”After major information campaign in the Baltic States aimed to discredit Zapad 2017 military exercise, Russia tries to find the most vulnerable places to hurt the Baltic States. It is absolutely evident, that such sphere is economy. For a long time Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia ...
READ MORE
Kosovo Albanian Leader of Islamic Caliphate Units Worked for NATO
Kosovo Albanian Jihadist leader who led the troops of the Islamic Caliphate (IS) into Falluja worked for NATO and Afghanistan, reports say. The 24-year old Kosovo Albanian Muslim, Lavdrim Muhaxheri from city of Kacanik, worked at NATOs Camp Bondsteel facility of Serbia’s occupied province of Kosovo. It is unclear what his function at Bondsteel was. Muhaxheri was also an activist for the official Islamic Community inside Kosovo which is the unofficial political arm of the separatist Albanians who enjoy wide support from Washington. In 2013, Muhaxheri is pictured in various situations for the Islamic Community in Kosovo. Muhaxheri also belonged to a ...
READ MORE
The 95th Anniversary of the Destruction of Greeks and Armenians in Smyrna
Tehmine Martoyan is lecturer at the University of Economy and Law (Yerevan, Armenia). She is also the president of Lazaryan Institute scientific and educational NGO.Martoyan is the author of books and articles on the Armenians in Safavid Iran, and she has participated in international conferences and meetings in Armenia and abroad. She also translated into Armenian the book by Theofanis Malkidis titled The Greek Genocide: Thrace, Asia Minor, Pontus.She has made two films dedicated to the Greek and Armenian populations in Smyrna. Her forthcoming book is titled Psychological and Political Causes of Annihilation of the Armenians and the Greeks in ...
READ MORE
My Grandfather (Jonas Noreika) wasn’t a Nazi-Fighting War Hero — He was a Brutal Collaborator
Eighteen years ago, my dying mother asked me to continue working on a book about her father, Jonas Noreika, a famous Lithuanian World War II hero who fought the Communists. Once an opera singer, my mother had passionately devoted herself to this mission and had even gotten a PhD in literature to improve her literary skills. As a journalist, I agreed. I had no idea I was embarking on a project that would lead to a personal crisis, Holocaust denial and an official cover-up by the Lithuanian government. Growing up in Chicago’s Marquette Park neighborhood — the neighborhood that had the ...
READ MORE
Terrorism: How the Israeli State was Won
On December 14, Tom Suárez spoke at The House of Lords, London, at the invitation of Baroness Jenny Tonge. Drawing from his recently published book State of Terror, he addressed the centennial of the Balfour Declaration and his views on the way toward ending today’s Israel-Palestine “conflict”. The following are Suárez’s remarks. The book was reviewed here by David Gerald Fincham. Good evening, thank you so much for taking time out of what I know are your busy schedules to be here now. My thanks to Jenny Tonge for making this meeting possible; and I would like to thank three people without ...
READ MORE
The Banana Republic of America: Democracy be Damned
We are witnessing a presidential election of epic farce. The Republican Party nominates the caricature of a tinpot dictator. The Democratic National Committee is a caricature too, of comic opera: exposed in collusion with a favored candidate it anoints a felon, shown to be such but unindicted. We are witnessing the collapse of democratic presidential politics. It is a derelict process, complex, absurdly long, insanely expensive, tedious, inconsistent and now chaotic. Professional football is a public extravaganza, its six-month season culminating in the tangible climax of the Superbowl. It is dwarfed in spectacle however by the same suspense and dramatic finale of ...
READ MORE
Slobodan Milosevic: The Killing of an Innocent Man
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague quietly acknowledged the innocence of former president of Serbia and Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic. Ten years after the very suspicious death of the Serbian leader in a Dutch prison, the 1,300th page of the 2,000-page document on the case of Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader, acknowledged that Milosevic had not committed crimes against humanity, nor had he organized any mass killings or deportations of Croats and Bosnians. In other words, it was an innocent man who died in a UN prison. French journalist Dimitri De Koshko was working in Yugoslavia ...
READ MORE
America’s Renegade Warfare
Seventy-seven million people in North and South Korea find themselves directly in the line of fire from the threat of a Second Korean War. The rest of the world is recoiling in horror from the scale of civilian casualties such a war would cause and the unthinkable prospect that either side might actually use nuclear weapons.Since the first Korean War killed at least 20 percent of North Korea’s population and left the country in ruins, the U.S. has repeatedly failed to follow through on diplomacy to establish a lasting peace in Korea and has instead kept reverting to illegal and terrifying threats ...
READ MORE
In 1879 Chilean and British Imperialism Cut Bolivia Off From the Sea
In 1879 began the disastrous ‘War of the Pacific’, the Chilean army invaded Bolivia’s ‘Litoral’ department, leaving the poorest nation in South America landlocked. It is thought up to 18,000 Bolivians died in the war. Chile’s war on Bolivia was at every step of the way backed and armed by the British Empire as English industrialists took control of the vast natural resources of the Bolivian coastal region. These included guano, sodium, nitrate, copper where British interests established a monopoly on the export of these primary resources. Bolivia has never given up its demand to return to the coast, it ...
READ MORE
Twenty-Six Things About the Islamic State (ISIL) That Obama Does Not Want You to Know About
This article was first published in November 2014. Recent developments confirm what is known and documented: Washington is behind the Islamic State (ISIS) and at the same time it is behind the moderate Al Qaeda terrorists, which the Obama administration is supporting as part of America’s campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS). And they expect us to believe that they are committed to waging a campaign against terrorists. The Islamic State (ISIS) was until 2014 called al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). Al Nusra is an al Qaeda affiliate which has committed countless atrocities in Syria.  It is now considered by the Obama administration as ...
READ MORE
American Unlimited Imperialism: Syria
Historically, this latest eruption of American militarism at the start of the 21st Century is akin to that of America opening the 20th Century by means of the U.S.-instigated Spanish-American War in 1898. Then the Republican administration of President William McKinley stole their colonial empire from Spain in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines; inflicted a near genocidal war against the Filipino people; while at the same time illegally annexing the Kingdom of Hawaii and subjecting the Native Hawaiian people (who call themselves the Kanaka Maoli) to near genocidal conditions. Additionally, McKinley’s military and colonial expansion into the Pacific ...
READ MORE
“Humanitarian Imperialism”: US, NATO Lie to Justify Genocide and Destruction in Yugoslavia
Seventeen years ago today, on March 24, 1999, NATO began a 78-day deadly and devastating U.S.-backed intervention of Yugoslavia. It was the first time in history that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization decided they would attack a country without the approval of the U.N. Security Council. Nineteen countries took part in the aggression led by the United States that was supposed to stop the repressive activities of the Slobodan Milosevic government and to establish a framework for its Southern province, Kosovo, under international law. Milosevic was president of Serbia from 1989 to 1997, and of Yugoslavia from 1997 to 2000. The attack was ...
READ MORE
Southeastern European Organized Crime & Extremism Review
The following research is a review around the theme of Southeastern European organized crime, mainly in the period 1995-2007, highlighting the emergence of powerful regional “Mafias” with an actual global presence. The main focus is the Albanian criminal syndicates centered on Kosovo. The research is composed by previous material of the writer, some of which was presented in international workshops.  Moreover the issue of radical Islam is being overviewed in a second part,for the same period, along with information regarding  the state of affairs of the Muslim communities in the region.Narcotics and the emergence of crime syndicates in the BalkansThe ...
READ MORE
The Syrian War of Imperialism
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
READ MORE
Independence on Nakba Day – Accountability and Healing as an Israeli Aggressor
I am an Israeli-American. I was raised in a middle-class academic ‘Liberal Zionist’ household (aligned with the Israeli Labor Party and Meretz), which is an inherent contradiction. Liberal Zionism maintains a belief in universal human rights yet it supports a Zionist ideology that endorses and promotes Israel as a Jewish state – one that has been systematically carrying out a project of apartheid and ethnic cleansing of the native Palestinian people. Since I can remember, my birth town of Jerusalem has been highly segregated. Growing up, I never interacted with Palestinians other than Abed the soft-spoken gardener from Hebron (aka El ...
READ MORE
Hillary Comes Out as the War Party Candidate
On June 2 (2016), a few days before the California primary, Hillary Clinton gave up trying to compete with Bernie Sanders on domestic policy. Instead, she zeroed in on the soft target of Donald Trump’s most “bizarre rants” in order to present herself as experienced and reasonable. Evidently taking her Democratic Party nomination for granted, she is positioning herself as the perfect candidate for hawkish Republicans. Choosing to speak in San Diego, home base of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, on a platform draped with 19 American flags and preceded by half an hour of military marching music, Hillary Clinton was certain ...
READ MORE
Israel: An Innocent Victim of Arab Imperialism?
For over 65 years, since the establishment of the State of Israel at the behest of the then American Zionist lobby, its successor has ensured that billions of US dollars in aid, grants, loans, guarantees, tax exemptions and ‘deals’ are funnelled to the Israeli Treasury Secretary in order to give the satellite state an unprecedented economic and military advantage over any other country in the Middle East or Europe. All paid for by an unwitting American tax payer. The total amount is sufficiently mind­-boggling that it is impossible to quantify. The current monies and ‘aid’ that flow openly from the US ...
READ MORE
“Mafia State”: Kosovo’s PM Accused of Running Human Organ, Drug Trafficking Cartel
In another grim milestone for the United States and NATO, the Council of Europe (COE) released an explosive report last week, “Inhuman treatment of people and illicit trafficking in human organs in Kosovo.”The report charged that former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) boss and current Prime Minister, Hashim Thaçi, “is the head of a ‘mafia-like’ Albanian group responsible for smuggling weapons, drugs and human organs through eastern Europe,” The Guardian disclosed.According to a draft resolution unanimously approved December 16 in Paris, the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights found compelling evidence of forced disappearances, organ trafficking, corruption and collusion between ...
READ MORE
Somnolent Europe, Russia, and China: Accept US Hegemony or Go to War?
Can the world wake up? On September 19, 2000, going on 16 years ago, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the London Telegraph reported: Declassified American government documents show that the US intelligence community ran a campaign in the Fifties and Sixties to build momentum for a united Europe. It funded and directed the European federalist movement. The documents confirm suspicions voiced at the time that America was working aggressively behind the scenes to push Britain into a European state. One memorandum, dated July 26, 1950, gives instructions for a campaign to promote a fully fledged European parliament. It is signed by Gen. William J. Donovan, ...
READ MORE
Washington’s Wars
Baltic States Sacrifice Economy on Altar of Politics
Kosovo Albanian Leader of Islamic Caliphate Units Worked for NATO
The 95th Anniversary of the Destruction of Greeks and Armenians in Smyrna
My Grandfather (Jonas Noreika) wasn’t a Nazi-Fighting War Hero — He was a Brutal Collaborator
Terrorism: How the Israeli State was Won
The Banana Republic of America: Democracy be Damned
Slobodan Milosevic: The Killing of an Innocent Man
America’s Renegade Warfare
In 1879 Chilean and British Imperialism Cut Bolivia Off From the Sea
Twenty-Six Things About the Islamic State (ISIL) That Obama Does Not Want You to Know About
American Unlimited Imperialism: Syria
“Humanitarian Imperialism”: US, NATO Lie to Justify Genocide and Destruction in Yugoslavia
Southeastern European Organized Crime & Extremism Review
The Syrian War of Imperialism
Independence on Nakba Day – Accountability and Healing as an Israeli Aggressor
Hillary Comes Out as the War Party Candidate
Israel: An Innocent Victim of Arab Imperialism?
“Mafia State”: Kosovo’s PM Accused of Running Human Organ, Drug Trafficking Cartel
Somnolent Europe, Russia, and China: Accept US Hegemony or Go to War?
Global-Politics.eu

Written by Global-Politics.eu

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu