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 The Balfour Centenary

‘A chance to make good on Britain’s broken promise’ is the heading of Donald Macintyre’s article. ‘That outstanding broken promise is a theme of one of the most interesting forthcoming public meetings on Balfour on 31 October,’
In The contested centenary of Britain’s ‘calamitous promise’ Ian Black writes: ..The Balfour Project – … who want to see change in the UK’s Middle East policy – is holding a public meeting in Westminster on 31 October. Its slogan is: “Britain’s Broken Promise – Time for a New Approach”.

Central Hall Westminster

Opposite Westminster Abbey, London  SW1H 9NH

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Please join us at this unique event marking the centenary of the Balfour Declaration. In words, film and music, it will acknowledge Britain’s historic responsibilities in the Middle East. It will offer an opportunity to commit ourselves to support Palestinians and Israelis in building a peaceful future based on equal rights for all.

Speakers will include:

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Principal, Mansfield College, Oxford University
Rt Hon Tom Brake MP
Richard Burden MP, Chair Palestine All-Party Parliamentary Group
Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Anglican Bishop of Southwark
Rt Revd Declan Lang, Roman Catholic Bishop of Clifton
Dr Peter Shambrook
Layla Moran MP
Dr Philippa Whitford MP
Sir Vincent Fean, UK Consul-General, Jerusalem 2010-2014
Rabbi Danny Rich, Senior Rabbi, Liberal Judaism;
Dr Imad Karam, award-winning film-maker

There will also be music from  Chai for All  of Longing Belonging and Balfour

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to help us meet the costs of this event. We still need to raise £6,000 from ticket sales and donations

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 Britain’s Broken Promise: Time for a New Approach

The 1917 Balfour Declaration was a first step towards the creation of a sanctuary for a persecuted people, the Jews.

It was also the start of a process which has rendered Palestinians stateless, living under occupation in their own land, in refugee camps, or scattered throughout the world.

CONTRADICTORY PROMISES

The Declaration pledged Britain’s support for a ‘national home’ in Palestine for the Jewish people on the understanding that the rights of ‘existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine’ would not be prejudiced. The failure to uphold this second clause, for which Britain bears much responsibility, has caused conflict between Palestinians and Israelis ever since.

This was just one of Britain’s contradictory promises during the First World War. After the War we secured a mandate from the League of Nations which included a ‘sacred trust’ to prepare the people of Palestine for independence. But in the end Britain walked away.

The British Government recognises the right of both Israelis and Palestinians to self-determination. Israelis have achieved this. Now is the time to help Palestinians achieve this, in cooperation with both peoples and the rest of the international community.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND COMMITMENT

It will mean committing ourselves to work for peace with justice in the region on the basis of equal rights for both Israelis and Palestinians. It entails upholding international law, including the Geneva Conventions, without fear or favour. This is a huge, long-term challenge. Governments will only take it on if their citizens do so first. If Britain gives a lead, others will follow.

This Centenary event is an opportunity to acknowledge Britain’s legacy, consider our individual and collective responses, and make ourselves heard.

Balfour Project is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO)  SC 047090

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