"However, it is not till we reach the third and final clause of the Balfour Declaration that its character is quite revealed. '... 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 first part of this clause is the supposed 'safeguard' of the Arabs of Palestine, which protects them from Zionist encroachment. As far as protection goes, I am reminded of the experience of a relative. When about to land from a ship in a lonely corner of some docks in a distant country, he was warned to take very little money with him and, above all, 'to beware of the police.' A similar warning applies to this 'protective' clause.
"At first sight it does not seem so craftily phrased as the earlier clauses. The will-to-deceive in it is so patent; the description of the Arabs as the 'non-Jewish communities in Palestine' is so obviously slippery. At the time the Declaration was issued the population of Palestine was in the neighbourhood of 670,000. Of these the Jews numbered some 60,000. These are broad figures, but reasonable: there is no accurate census to quote: in an interim report to the League of Nations drawn up by the military administration the Jewish total was put at 55,000; in a note of the 1920 Government it was put at 65,000.
"Deductions can be made from the pre-War Jewish population. Estimates of this vary from the caution of the official Shaw Report, which says it must have been at least 60,000, to the futuristic 100,000 of Mr Bentwich. Mr Stein says well over 80,000, and quotes Ruppin's 1916 estimate of nearly 85,000. Accepting this last estimate, and allowing for a fall of 25,000 during the War, which tallies with the figures of those lost by death or exile (Arab wartime losses being infinitely greater actually and proportionately), a 60,000 total for 1918-19 is a fair assumption.
"Therefore we have Palestine with 91% of its people Arab and 9% Jew at the time of the Declaration. It was an Arab population with a dash of Jew. Half of the Jews were recent arrivals.
"Before this unpalatable reality, what did the framers of the Balfour Declaration do? By an altogether abject subterfuge, under colour of protecting Arab interests, they set out to conceal the fact that the Arabs to all intents constituted the population of the country. It called them the 'non-Jewish communities in Palestine'! It called the multitude the non-few; it called the 670,000 the non-60,000; out of a hundred it called the 91 the non-9. You might just as well call the British people 'the non-Continental communities in Great Britain.' It would be as suitable to define the mass of working men as 'the non-idling communities in the world,' or the healthy as the 'non-bedridden element amongst sleepers,' or the sane as 'the non-lunatic section of thinkers' - or the grass of the countryside as 'the non-dandelion portion of the pastures.'
"But of course there is more than mere preposterous nomenclature in the use of the phrase 'non-Jewish communities in Palestine' to describe the Arabs. It is fraudulent. It was done on order to conceal the true ratio between Arabs and Jews, and thereby to make easier the supersession of the former. It was as though in some declaration Highlanders and Lowlanders had been defined as 'the existing non-Irish communities in Scotland' in order that the Irish colonies might be deemed the essential elements of the population north of the Tweed. The Scots themselves thus would appear to be nothing but sporadic groups dotted about the Caledonian soil. Upon which, dispossessive action against the Scots could be attempted more easily. It was a pity indeed that Lord Balfour was not forced to try in Scotland what he and his Zionist friends carried through in Palestine: one airily disingenuous statesman the less would have been left in power.
"Just now it was stated that at first sight this phrase seemed not so crafty, because it was too manifestly deceitful. But on second examination it is perceived to be adroit in its mean way. It plays upon general ignorance. What in 1917 did the war-worn British public, what did the deluded Jews of Russia, what did any general body of people outside the Near East know about the composition of the population of Palestine? Nothing.
"It was upon this, then, that the drafters of the Declaration played. They concealed the Arabs' very name and called them 'existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine,' as though they were packets of monks who had strayed into the country and here and there had got a foothold in it. The qualification 'existing' provides the finishing touch. The impression given is that these Arabs have just managed to survive, that an explorer has returned and reported to Lord Balfour that he has discovered non-Jews existing in the hills.
"Consequently the average citizen, when he read the Declaration, concluded, if he gave the matter any further thought at all, that proper steps would be taken under its terms to safeguard the occasional remnants of other races than the Jews who might be found in the Holy Land. This was what it intended he should conclude. As for any odd individuals who in the thick of war might have sufficient interest to question the phraseology employed, for them what may have been thought a neat reply had been prepared. 'Community is the correct word to use since the population of Palestine is divided into the Moslem, Christian and Jewish communities.' The Druses and Samaritans might have been added for effect: otherwise there is no more to say about this equivocation. It is enough to write it down to expose it. Words are wasted on it."
To be continued...