Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Balfour Declaration Centenary: 6 Months to Go

I indicated on April 2 that in the countdown to the November 2, 2017 centenary of the infamous Balfour Declaration, I would be featuring a commentary/judgment on the subject on the second of each month.

Here then is the second such in the series. It is by Herbert Adams Gibbons (1880-1934), a noted American journalist and historian of the first half of the 20th century, and is an extract from his essay, Zionism & the world peace, which appeared in the January 1919 edition of the magazine Century:

"The Zionists fall back upon their acceptance of the clause in the Balfour Declaration, that 'nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.' Zionism, they say, does not mean oppression of or conflict with the other communities. If conflict arises it will be the fault of others, and help will be asked from Dr Weizmann's 'one just and fairly responsible guardian' [Britain] to defend the immigrants. But how can the setting up of the Jewish 'national home' in Palestine fail to affect the civil and religious rights of the present inhabitants of the land? What other result can it possibly have than to rob the Palestinian Arabs of their hope to evolve into a modern, self-governing state? The spirit of the twentieth century is unalterably opposed to government by communities constituted on theocratic principles. The evolution of self-governing democracies has been possible only through unification and secularization. Utah is an illustration. Doing away with polygamy was simply the rallying cry in the inevitable conflict with Mormonism. In Zionist congresses delegates have frequently advocated making the United States 'the promised land.' But the answer always was that the ideals of Zionism could not be realized under the American system of civil government. Mr. Lloyd George is now an enthusiastic advocate of Zionism - for Palestine. But years ago, when he was lawyer for the [Zionist] organization at the time of the eastern African proposal, he told his clients frankly that they would have to change their scheme of governing Zion if Zion was established in a British colony."

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