I was a little over ten years old when I heard about the Balfour Declaration from our Palestinian teacher. It was in the mid-1950s when I was a student of the Al-Sabah Elementary School. It is 100 years ago Britain sympathized with the Zionist aspirations and made a promise to the Rothschild family for a homeland for the Jews in Palestine. Our ordeal began with this promise, statement, or the Balfour D e c l a r a t i o n .
The Declaration was translated on Nov 2, 1917 by our friend G h a n i m Al-Najjar. Since then we have done nothing. We have not even remembered the occasion but our enthusiasm continues to fade year after year. We look satisfied with the new translation. During a famous interview on the Israeli channel between former Israeli ambassador to London and Lord Jacob Rothschild, we heard the new facts for the first time about the circumstances surrounding the Balfour Declaration and the subsequent establishment of Israel.
Lord Jacob, the current head of the Rothschild family and the main supporter of the Zionist movement, says his cousin Dorothy played a major role in the Declaration, even though she was a teenager then. It was she who had the task of introducing Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann to the British government and helped him get acquainted and succeed very quickly.
Lord Jacob said the way the Declaration was issued was extraordinary. It was a pure case of ‘opportunism’ and Weizmann succeeded in meeting Lord Balfour and the then Prime Minister, Lloyd George. He convinced them that there is a need to create an opportunity to make a homeland for the Jews. He added, what Weizmann did was absolutely unusual which divided the family of Rothschild over the idea of establishing a homeland for the Jews. The Declaration passed through five stages before the final draft was adopted. That draft was circulated between the United States and Britain several times before agreeing on the final text. The finishing touches to the final draft of the Declaration were given by the Zionist Leopold Amre.
The Declaration was issued in the name of the British Lord Rothschild and not in the name of any of the Jewish leaders. This perhaps, was the most important factor from the dangerous political and financial point of view. In her book Against Our Better Judgment, researcher Alison Weir talks about many secrets of how the United States was pushed into founding Israel.
The book also states that the greatest incentive for the British politicians to issue a statement or Declaration (of Balfour) was the pledge given by the American Jewish leaders that the United States will fight in the World War I alongside Britain, if the latter allowed Zionism to occupy Palestine and establish Israel. A hundred years have passed since the announcement, the promise and the declaration, and we have done nothing other than giving speeches, put our hands on our waists and sigh. Decade after decade we continue to lose more and more land and we do nothing except shout ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Zionism’.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf