November to remember the Balfour Declaration

100 years ago the world was in a terrible state. People could find themselves in the hell on earth. In 1917 November and December a fierce battle with the Turk was going on. Britain understood that at that time control of the Middle East was the back door to defeating Germany in Europe. On December 11th 1917. General Allenby liberated and literally walked into Jerusalem.

Arthur James Balfour, c. 1900.
Arthur James Balfour, 1st earl of prime minister of United Kingdom, c. 1900. Bassano and Vandyk

On November 2nd 1917 the British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour had written this in a letter:

“His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of that object, 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.”

Although this was only a letter –and not a decision of UK parliament, or a cabinet decision it became the hallmark of Britain’s relationship with Palestine and was attached to the mandate for Palestine given to the United Kingdom later.

In November 1947 – as Britain wished to terminate its mandate for Palestine, the United Nations adopted resolution ‘181’ the Partition Resolution for Palestine – leading in 1948 to the proclamation of the State of Israel.

The event of the Balfour Declaration has been marked in The Christadelphian this month with an article by Brother John Botten, which sees the declaration as

“a landmark in the purpose of God with Israel” (November, page 509).

It is not merely Christadelphians who recognise the importance of this document. There have been many articles about it recently in the press and it is interesting to see that it is not simply viewed as an historical document but as having a continued relevance to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the wider problems of the Middle East, and today’s relationship between Britain and Israel.

Earlier this year, in response to a petition launched by the Palestinian Return Centre calling for Britain to apologise for the Balfour Declaration, the British Government stated robustly that it did “not intend to apologise”, adding, “We are proud of our role in creating the State of Israel”. For students of prophecy who see Britain and her allies as the latter-day “traders of Tarshish and all her young lions” (Ezekiel 38:13, Rotherham), it is clear that Britain has a continuing role to play in God’s purpose with Israel.

> Read more:

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Additional reading

  1. The Great War changed everything
  2. 100° birthday of war and war tourism

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Further reading

  1. The Balfour Declaration
  2. The centenary of the Balfour Declaration: myths and facts
  3. Inaccurate BBC Balfour Declaration claim misleads audiences
  4. Palestine Solidarity Campaign smears the Holocaust on anti-Balfour Declaration protest in London.
  5. It’s not ‘antisemitic’ for Jeremy Corbyn not to celebrate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration – it’s sensible
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