1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Balfour Declaration

Discussion in 'Personal' started by donald_fear, Nov 2, 2017.

  1. donald_fear

    donald_fear New commenter

    I'm amazed to find no discussion on such a key historical event on the occasion of its centenary on an Opinion forum. There's a brilliant discussion about it led by Mehdi Hasan here:

    FWIW my opinion is that the Balfour Declaration is a cause for celebration amongst Jews but for Palestinians (the "non-Jewish communities in Palestine" as it so loftily and dismissively refers to them as) it was and is a tragedy. The rights they were promised were never delivered.
  2. T34

    T34 Lead commenter

    Better than most TV discussions. Reasonably balanced.
    But not enough about the quid pro quo aspect.
    The UK government expected something in return and this was only very briefly touched on. Obviously the return would be support in the war, which was going very badly for the UK. Germany was poised to finish it off with a final, massive blow at that particular time.

    How would an Austrian corporal in the Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 16, at the end of the war 12 months and nine days later explain his army's mystifying defeat? Who would he blame?

    How much of a contribution did the Balfour declaration played in the persecution of the Jews in Germany?

    Among Zionists, not necessarily among Jews.
    It has raised antipathy towards jews where previously there was none.
  3. elledriver

    elledriver Lead commenter

    colpee likes this.
  4. emilystrange

    emilystrange Star commenter

    This is actually called the Personal forum.
    Important though this is, we're not obliged to discuss everything.
    nomad likes this.
  5. red_observer

    red_observer Star commenter

    The Declaration was mainly about getting America in the war.
    It’s impact was certainly unfortunate for the Arab peoples when we have corrupt fools like Netanyahu in charge
  6. silvaran

    silvaran Occasional commenter

    Israeli Arabs must look with envy at the uncorrupt, highly democratic, tolerant and benign leadership that typifies the neighboring Arab nations.
    burajda, nomad and elledriver like this.
  7. red_observer

    red_observer Star commenter

    Diversionary and irrelevant
  8. silvaran

    silvaran Occasional commenter

    But true.
    The Balfour declaration was not about getting the USA into a war but the USA was certainly consulted. The French with the Cambon letter had indicated support for a Jewish homeland and increased Jewish settlement in Palestine six months earlier. It was clear the Britain and France wanted a sphere of influence to protect their interests post Ottoman era . The original plan was a nationalist pro Western Arab kingdom but internal differences amongst varying religious and nationalist Arabs meant realities were very different in 1915 to 1917 and different again in 1919 post victory over the Ottomans. Other methods of securing Suez and the Mediterranean from Russia, Arab revolt or a reborn Turkey were needed such as a puppet Christian majority Lebanon under the control of Paris. What is not under dispute is that many European Jews after centuries of persecution in Europe had always longed for a return to their ancestral homeland and was deep in the Jewish psyche. The Zionist movement had gained a lot of political ground and influence in the US and Western Europe since the late nineteenth century and it was pressure and on going migration even in Ottoman times to develop Palestine that was the driving force behind the Cambon and Balfour declarations.
  9. xmal

    xmal Established commenter

    No, they look at Israel with contempt and hatred. Israel is the only country within a thousand miles of Mecca that hasn't fallen to Islamic control. There is one Jewish country on this planet and yet, Islam, which is half the age of Judaism, has invaded and 'converted' dozens of countries. The Jews have a single, tiny slither of land; the same slither of land that they have always lived in. It is also the only liberal democracy in the region. Islam is a supremacist ideology that doesn't tolerate any other religions.
    silvaran likes this.
  10. NoseyMatronType

    NoseyMatronType Star commenter

    Historically, Islam certainly has taken on the form of a supremacist ideology. This is presumably why Richard Dawkins compares it to a 'carnivorous gene complex' in The God Delusion.

    But I would be wary of treating religions as if they are inflexible, monolithic entities. Again, history proves that this is not the case.

    For example, Buddhism is often touted as a benign faith, and a secular form of the it, one that jettisons belief in reincarnation, has become popular in recent years, it's appeal extending to vociferous critics of Islam like Sam Harris, and even Christopher Hitchens.

    But recent events in Burma and Sri Lanka suggest otherwise. It's also not very well known that Japanese war criminals found refuge in Buddhist temples at the end of WW2, and that some of the Japanese Buddhist spiritual teachers who subsequently became prominent in the West were enthusiastic supporters of the Japanese war aims and the supremacist ideology that underpinned them. Go back even further to a text like the Hagakure, and you will find a melding of the kind of Buddhist philosophy and fanatical samurai ideology that was later to infuse Japanese militarism.

    Closer to home, there's this extract from Asma Afsaruddin's Contemporary Issues in Islam to consider (with my italics added):

    'American Catholics once laboured under a black cloud of suspicion until the election of John F. Kennedy as the President in 1961. American Jews were also the perennial 'Other' in the majoritarian American psyche until roughly the middle of the 20th Century.

    A repertoire of accusations was hurled against these earlier immigrants calculated to cast doubt on their ability as Catholics and Jews per se to become loyal American citizens: that they owed loyalty to a different sovereign (the Pope) or a different code of law (the Halakah) by virtue of their religious and ethnic designation; their women dressed differently from 'normal' women; and they were incapable of separating religion from politics on account of the all-encompassing medieval religious/canon law they subscribe to, making them intrinsically anti-democratic and incapable of adapting to modernity.'

    To my mind, there is a difference: Catholics and Jews in the USA were not simultaneously engaging in acts of terrorism while they were being treated in this way.

    But I think that Afsaruddin's more general point, which is implicit within the quotation, is valid: we should be wary of essentialising any group of people and the faith they uphold, as that can potentially result in the eventual demonisation of them as 'the Other', as well as possibly making us blind to the failings of whatever ideology we happen to subscribe to.

    @silvaran , good to see you back!
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
    silvaran likes this.
  11. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    On any opinion forum? There are sure to be some out there somewhere :rolleyes:
    nomad likes this.
  12. donald_fear

    donald_fear New commenter

    Thank you to the two people who put me right that this forum is called "Personal" and not "Opinion" (am I right in saying it once was Opinion?). Thank you more to those people who actually addressed the issue in question, especially NMT for such an intelligent, nuanced answer. The Balfour Declaration and the Cambon Letter which preceded it were both the product of an imperialist, colonialist mentality. The local population simply didn't matter. A.J.Balfour couldn't even be bothered to name them, calling the Palestinians "the non-Jewish communities of Palestine". The land on which they lived was not theirs, nor the Ottomans who ruled it as part of their Empire but for Britain and France to dispose of as they saw fit. How many problems in the world today are the product of imperialists drawing boundaries on a map that made no sense in terms of traditionally antagonistic communities being shoe-horned into the same territory? The Middle East has some of the worst examples - Syria, Iraq, and yes, Jordan and what was to become Israel.
    Finally, a Zionist movement which was the product of post-Reformation Christian theology, rather than Judaism was enthusiastically picked up by the British political and military establishment. Many Jews themselves were very dubious about the whole idea of Zionism, and history shows this decision to be one of the greatest mistakes in British foreign policy.
    jomaimai and red_observer like this.
  13. red_observer

    red_observer Star commenter

    great post
  14. red_observer

    red_observer Star commenter

    ??? it was ALL about it and keeping Russia in the war.
  15. silvaran

    silvaran Occasional commenter

    Yes it was the product of a colonialist mindset and promises had been made to create an Arab nation. Yet the British and French seriously disagreed on what type of self determination the Arabs should have. Some British politicians and leaders such as Lawrence were virulently anti French. Clemenceau and Pinon wanted less Arab control, the British had made promises to both Arabs and Jews for their contributions in defeating the Ottomans and Germany. In the end the British knew that any new borders across the Levant from Antioch to Mecca would create problems in the future. Pragmatism meant that stability in Europe was more important and Britains friendship and relationship with France was immensely more important than the relationship with the Arabs.
    Why would Balfour mention 'Palestinians' when no such nationality existed at the time, there were no Iraqis or Jordanians or Israelis or Lebanese either. Many Levant Arabs disagreed with the concept of 'Palestine' and considered it a Zionist term for the territory. Others considered themselves 'Syrian' or even Southern Syrian. Most had no concept of a nation. Non Jewish included other ethnicities such as Druze, Bedouine, and the large collection of other religions and people that were native or relocated there by the Ottomans such as Circassions, Albanians, Greeks, Egyptians.
    Many Jews did have issues with economic and colonial Zionism, but Zionism was and is also about culture and spirit. Few Jews had any problems about the location of their ancestral homeland. Why would they as communities of Jews have lived there continuously for millenia. Half of the population of Israel today are descended from Middle Eastern Jews.

Share This Page