Here we link to several publications, conferences and debates related to the marking of the Balfour Declaration Centenary in November 2017.
On Saturday 18th March, Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine (LDFP) held a fringe event about the Balfour Declaration at their Spring Conference in York. They advertised the event at our conference stall, and filled the room with an audience of 45. Nasser Butt was in the Chair and showed the Balfour Project film ‘Britain in Palestine, 1917-1948’. After this Jonathan Coulter gave a talk highlighting Britain’s historical responsibility and making the case for an apology. Then Tom Brake, the Foreign Affairs spokesman, spoke of the Balfour Project (of which he is a patron) and related matters, and there followed a lively discussion, notably as to how the Party should handle the Israeli/Palestinian cause internally, and about the viability of a ‘Two-State Solution’. All the feedback on the meeting was very positive, adding to the strong impact of LDFP’s conference stall. We signed up many new supporters, to whom we shall continue communicating through our newsletters about the Balfour centenary.
16th February 2017 The Earl of Balfour calls for Palestinian state to honour ancestor’s declaration In a letter to the New York Times the 5th Earl, Roderick Balfour acknowledged that while one part of the Balfour Declaration, which gave Jews a homeland in Palestine, had been fulfilled, the other, respecting the rights of the native Palestinian population, had not.
25th January 2017 The joint public issues team of the Baptists, Church of Scotland and Methodists published an article entitled: Marking the 100 year anniversary of the Balfour Declaration that promised a homeland for the Jewish people. They link to articles on the Balfour Project web site.
19th January 2017 Professor Avi Shlaim writes: British policy towards Palestine reveals a persistent pro-Israeli bias, from Lord Balfour to Theresa May in a recent article entitled Perfidious Albion and Israel-Palestine. He quotes an article on the Balfour Project web site on the promise to the Arabs.
9th January 2017 The Methodist recorder had an article on the Balfour Project in the Methodist recorder . It was produced by Christians Aware.
In November 16th 2016 the House of Commons debated the Centenary of the Balfour Declaration. The debate was secured by Caroline Ansell a Conservative friend of Israel. However, many MPs commented on the unfinished business of the Declaration, the promise to protect the rights of the Arab population which had not yet been fulfilled. Tom Brake noted that he was a Patron of the Balfour Project and gave our aims. He finished by saying:
The UK has a particular historical responsibility towards the Palestinian people. We failed to honour our promises nearly 100 years ago. We have a duty now to actively support the peace process and to secure a viable Palestinian state. That is what our Government must do—indeed, a number of Members have said today that they want the Government to do it. It will be the most effective and meaningful way of marking the Balfour declaration and would mean that in future years its anniversary could be celebrated by both the Jewish people and the Palestinian people.
Tobias Ellwood, Minister for the Middle East and Africa, spoke:
The Balfour Declaration had its flaws. It called for the protection of the “civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”. It should have protected their political rights too, most especially their right to self-determination…. The seriousness of the situation faced by millions still affected by the conflict is testament to the fact that the achievement of Jewish and Palestinian self-determination in the former British mandate of Palestine is a task as yet unfulfilled.
5th Nov 2016 Balfour Project had a conference in Southwark Cathedral, entitled ‘How will we mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration’
2nd Oct 2016 Balfour Project’s Liverpool conference ‘Balfour Declaration Centenary, 2017: towards constructive commemoration’