The land of Lord Balfour hosted a rare but much needed conference on his infamous 1917 declaration. The event was convened by the appropriately named organisation, the Palestine Return Centre (PRC) on the 19th January 2013 in London. The aim of the meeting was to inaugurate a campaign for British “mistakes” and to “make reparations to Palestinians who endured human rights abuses at British hands.”
It is rare because not only is the ‘Balfour Declaration’ and its brutal ramifications greatly understudied but the entire period of British total military and political dominance of the Middle East between 1917 and 1948 is more or less whitewashed from contemporary discussion. Yet, if we are to fully understand today’s Middle East there is probably no more an important period than this.
The declaration let it be known Britain’s “view with favour” the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine Continue reading
For the average British pro-Palestinian human rights activist, the Balfour Declaration, published ninety- five years ago on the 2nd November 1917, is only mentioned in passing in their publications or agitations. For them, the declaration seems to have drafted in, one autumn day most likely alongside the brown and crimson leaves for then to triumphantly and jubilantly land on Lord Balfour’s, the British foreign secretary, desk. For them, it is more convenient to strongly imply that the Palestinian predicament began when the young United Nations partitioned Palestine on the 29th November 1947 or when the British Empire’s Palestine mandate officially ended on 15th May 1948. For them, the fact that up to 400,000 Palestinians under the Empire’s watch were ethnically cleansed between these latter two dates literally doesn’t warrant a footnote.
This is certainly the impression given by reading the literature of “revolutionary socialists” as well as other supposedly pro-Palestinians. In his book “Imperialism and Resistance”, “revolutionary socialist” John Rees argues Continue reading