Balfour’s Declaration, Jewish Celebration, and Palestinian Vexation: An Evaluation


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It is the centennial of the Balfour Declaration, affirming the right of Jews to a “national home” in Palestine. It was controversial then, and remains so today. What should we make of it?

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This is a segment from The “Is it Time to Retire the ‘Z Word’?” Edition.

One comment on “Balfour’s Declaration, Jewish Celebration, and Palestinian Vexation: An Evaluation

  1. Greg Pollock says:

    Both Balfour and the Israeli Declaration of Independence are simultaneously Zionist and post-Zionist. Both are Zionist in calling for a Jewish homeland, the Declaration explicitly forming a Jewish government, Balfour implicitly suggesting one eventually; both call for equality in the expression, so protection, of social and political rights for prior residents, which is post-Zionist: you are here now, let others here now be as well. Prevalent Jewish national opinion affirms neither document in totality. Homeland is read, not equal rights. As annexation creeps forward, the two continue to be fused in a mutually exclusive way. Indeed, with each annexation approved by Knesset, the Declaration’s stipulation (not promise) of equality in the expression of social and political rights is further denuded. Palestinians are not going to affirm half of Balfour, while Israeli nationalists are content to do so. So Balfour is decried as part of the expansion game, Israelis translating this into another push toward the sea.

    Israel is a member of the UN; its borders at time of admittance, such as they were delimited, are secured by the Charter. Balfour has no import for Israeli possession of the West Bank; assuming it status in international law (I wouldn’t), the existence of Israel within the UN fulfills its homeland call, leaving only Israel’s truncation of social and political rights in what I call the rump of the Palestine Mandate–the West Bank. So approving Balfour NOW holds Israel responsible for its actions in the Bank. As to Israeli’s existence, all one must point out to Palestinians is that Israel is protected by the UN Charter–the very document into which Palestinians cry for admission.

    The real problem is that the national right government has no interest in fulfilling either Balfour or the Declaration in totality. Palestinians play into this by focusing against homeland for leaving rights mute. Both sides have a word industry so powerful that it controls thought on both sides, really in alliance to that end. Let us scream our hatreds so we can publish and say and confer more of the same. So paychecks and donations are issued. So people feed their lives

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