The Historical Significance of the Balfour Declaration

By Dore Gold, JCPA

  • On July 24, 1922, the British pledge to help build the Jewish National Home was explicitly incorporated into the text of the League of Nations Mandate, which called for “putting into effect” its terms. The Balfour Declaration thus was transformed into a binding obligation under international law. Moreover, it was approved unanimously by the Council of the League of Nations, made up of 51 member states.
  • The Balfour Declaration is important because it recognizes the historical bond of the Jewish People to the Holy Land, a bond which existed long before the declaration. What was significant was its public and formal recognition and its incorporation into international law.
  • In his testimony before the Peel Commission on Jan. 7, 1937, David Ben-Gurion noted: “I say on behalf of the Jews that the Bible is our Mandate, the Bible which was written by us, in our own language, in Hebrew in this very country. That is our Mandate. It is only recognition of this right which was expressed in the Balfour Declaration.” Thus, the British Mandate and the Balfour Declaration, upon which it was based, did not create Jewish historical rights, but rather recognized a pre-existing right.
  • The historic Jewish attachment to the Land of Israel is the real claim to statehood. The tendency to justify Zionism on the basis of the Holocaust is totally misconceived. Not only was Zionism a thriving and successful movement prior to this tragedy, but the Holocaust destroyed its largest human reservoir and severely set it back.
  • The Jewish population of Mandatory Palestine contributed large numbers of volunteers and committed its manpower, agriculture, manufacturing and expertise to the Allied cause. Unfortunately, this contribution was soon forgotten.
  • When the State of Israel was born in 1948, it was invaded by a coalition of Arab armies which received their training and weapons from the main colonial powers: Britain and France. Ironically, the rise of Israel was an anti-colonial development accelerating the demise of European colonial empires.
  • Israel’s enemies seek to misrepresent and falsify the historical facts. They try to portray modern Israel as a product of European colonialism, with no roots in the land and no historical rights. Modern Israel is the heir and successor to ancient Israel. The Balfour Declaration recognized this bond.

Ambassador Dore Gold has served as President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs since 2000. In June 2015, he was appointed Director-General of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he served until October 2016. Previously he served as Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and as Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations (1997-1999).

November 2, 2017 | 2 Comments »

Leave a Reply

2 Comments / 2 Comments

  1. ISRAEL should hold responsible those 51 member states who continue today to violate the then balfour/ L o N declaration document which is still today international law written in stone.
    ISRAEL should hold responsible it’s politicians and citizens dead or alive who continue to work against the STATE and international law, eg: the land cannot be given away nor negotiated away to a foreign body etc.

  2. I recall reading that shortly after the first Zionist Congress, Theodor Hertzl said that “I don’t know exactly when, but certainly within 50 years, there will be a Jewish State in Palestine” (slightly paraphrased)

    And there was, almost to the year, over 40 years after he died. What prescience.