It’s not ‘antisemitic’ for Jeremy Corbyn not to celebrate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration – it’s sensible

This celebratory dinner will no doubt see nostalgic celebrations of imperialism that ignore Britain’s role in fuelling an international conflict that has cost so many lives, and Corbyn is right to avoid it

The Balfour Declaration is a short letter, all things considered. A document of just 67 words. It was sent by Arthur Balfour, Foreign Secretary to Lord Rothschild who at the time was seen as a representative of British Jewry.

“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,” it reads, “and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object.” The caveat is added that no action shall be taken to “prejudice the civil and religious rights” of non-Jewish people living in Palestine.

Read in isolation it’s a letter that sounds rather inoffensive. With just a modicum of context it’s clear that – despite Theresa May’s desire for us all to feel proud of it – we as a nation should be deeply ashamed. Aside from the fact the document’s sentiment isn’t what happened in practice, Palestine wasn’t in the first place the British Government’s to offer or give.

In 1917, when the British Government – by almost all accounts an occupying force in Palestine – issued this promise, they did so as an empire giddy on power. The promise by a coloniser to create an ethnically controlled state on the land of those it oppresses isn’t something to be celebrated today. By 1948, the disastrous consequences of the declaration were already evident. Hailed as Israel’s War of Independence by its supporters, the Nakba “disaster” forced some 700,000 Palestinian from their homes during Israel’s formation. During the Deir Yassin Massacre in the same year, hundreds of Palestinians were killed in their homes. According to the United Nations, some five million Palestinian refugees are eligible for their services today, meanwhile Israel and Palestine look no closer to finding peace.

Next month will mark 100 years since this ill-fated declaration, and a celebratory dinner will be held in London to cement British and Israeli ties. In attendance at the dinner will be Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Theresa May and Labour’s Emily Thornberry too.

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4 replies

  1. Let’s see the Brits liberated the entire middle from Ottoman control. They gave 99% of that land back to indigenous Arabs and1% to the Jews who have lived there for 1000s of years, but that’s not enough, Muslims want it all…unbelievable …how did 700,000 displaced Arabs turn into 5 million refugees? It’s a complete fucking scam, only a moron would believe this narrative…and wat about the million Jews that were kicked out of the surrounding countries at the same time?

  2. “Let’s see the Brits liberated the entire middle from Ottoman control. They gave 99% of that land back to indigenous Arabs and1% to the Jews who have lived there for 1000s of years”

    Liberated? The entire third world is in Economic Slavery for the benefit of the West! It’s the source of cheap labour, cheap oil and cheap food! What do you think will happen if the Arab world decides not to sell oil? They will be bombed and invaded! Duh! If they sell cheap oil, it’s all good. This is exactly the meaning of slavery! Why else do you think the Saudi dictatorship is in bed with the US?

    It was the Romans, i.e. Europeans, who kicked out Jews from their land. Not Muslims. The Ottomans didn’t kick out the Palestinians. They ruled over them. There is a massive difference between kicking out a people and ruling over them!

    @fonald

    “how did 700,000 displaced Arabs turn into 5 million refugees”

    It’s called population explosion. In the 1930s there were 2 billion people. Now, we have 7 billion.

    “t’s a complete fucking scam, only a moron would believe this narrative”

    Read this by a Jewish scholar, if you have the guts, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ethnic-Cleansing-Palestine-Ilan-Pappe/dp/1851685553 then tell me what you think.

    “wat about the million Jews that were kicked out of the surrounding countries”

    That was a consequence of the establishment of the state of Israel. Not the other way round.There were too few Ashkenazi Jews to establish a working state following the genocide of Jews by Christian Europe (which, incidentally wouldn’t have happened if they were in Muslim lands as many Jewish scholars have pointed out), and many of them coming from European cities weren’t willing to work as labourers in factories and farms. That’s the primary reason why the new State promoted the exodus of Jews from Arab lands, who were in the sort of work. Until 1948, for 1400 years, Jews have have existed in Arab lands without a single genocide, whereas, the Holocaust was only the latest in a series of Jewish genocides in Europe.

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