FAQs on the Balfour Project:
1. Are you asking for an apology for the Balfour Declaration?
No. We are seeking more awareness, primarily in Britain, of the Balfour Declaration’s intentions and consequences; particularly the failure to implement its second clause, which promised to safeguard the rights of the Arab population in Palestine.
2. Are you pro-Palestinian? Yes. And pro-Israeli too. Our concern is for both , and all that promotes peace between them.
3. Are you against the state of Israel?
No. We uphold Israel’s right to exist, and we also uphold the right of the Palestinian people to independence.
4. Are you anti-Semitic?
No, we are not.
5. Who is behind this?
A network of British individuals who seek to promote a much greater awareness in this country about our country’s historical involvement in the Middle East.
6. How are you funded?
All the “Balfour Project” are volunteers and fund their own expenses. Our events are financed by registration fees and donations.
7. Won’t talking about the past just stir up old wounds?
It is the way you talk about the past that opens up or heals wounds. The Balfour Project seeks to create the space for each group to share their own story and to listen to the story of the other.
8. What are you hoping to achieve?
A greater public awareness of Britain’s role in the Middle East in the first half of the 20th century. We believe that we should, individually and collectively:
- acknowledge where British policy towards Palestine was marked by duplicity, denial and racism;
- seek pardon for our nation’s wrongdoing – from Palestinians for having ignored their legitimate aspirations, and from Jews for our part in the centuries of antisemitism
- aspire to integrity in our nation’s future dealings with Jews, Palestinians, and all peoples.
9. How should British people respond if their forebears were not involved in this history?
Britain has bequeathed a heavy legacy to the people of the Middle East. Anyone who decides to own that legacy can help contribute to its healing.
10. How can taking responsibility for the past make a difference now?
The victims of oppression remember injustice long after the oppressors have forgotten it. But we believe that when parties to conflict acknowledge their own past wrongs, healing can begin. In the words of the poet, Maya Angelou,
‘History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.’
11. How can I be involved with the Balfour Project?
- First and foremost, we hope people will learn more about this history. Our website is a great place to start.
- Then you might decide to run a seminar or workshop in your area. We can help with speakers and materials.
- You might want to create a service of acknowledgement and remembrance for your place of worship. We can help with ideas.
- Teachers may wish to have educational material for history lessons. Please contact us.
- You may have creative ideas about how to mark the forthcoming centenary in ways that honour the deep feelings of all the peoples who were affected by Britain’s actions. Please let us know.