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The current time is: 11/24/2017 10:49:52 PM
 General History    
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Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2550

Balfour + 100
Posted on: 11/3/2017 10:13:27 AM
Yesterday marked the centennial of the Balfour Declaration.

Anxious not to start a toxic debate here, but bewildered by my own confusion and conflicting impulses , I would be very grateful for input from MHOers who might have a lot to offer in terms of differing perspectives and interpretation.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3454

Re: Balfour + 100
Posted on: 11/3/2017 10:23:35 AM
 If the Declaration seems to contradict other agreements, it was only one of several peas in the pod:


Quote:
Balfour Declaration, (November 2, 1917), statement of British support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” It was made in a letter from Arthur James Balfour, the British foreign secretary, to Lionel Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild (of Tring), a leader of British Jewry. Though the precise meaning of the correspondence has been disputed, its statements were generally contradictory to both the Sykes-Picot Agreement (a secret convention between Britain and France) and the Ḥusayn-McMahon correspondence (an exchange of letters between the British high commissioner in Egypt, Sir Henry McMahon, and Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī, then emir of Mecca), which in turn contradicted one another. (Encyclopedia Britannica)
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Cheers,

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5566

Re: Balfour + 100
Posted on: 11/3/2017 12:55:38 PM
Phil, when I saw the Balfour Declaration, I immediately thought of the 1926 version which accepted and acknowledged the autonomy of the Dominions of the Empire.

But I see that it is the earlier one.

Phil do you think that Britain had practical motives for the 1917 declaration? British troops were fighting in that territory and the region was considered important to the Empire.

Were there economic benefits accrued to GB by having a Zionist state declared within Palestine?

Would the existence of a Zionist state further the interests of the Empire?

That is my cynical side emerging because unless Britain's motives were purely altruistic, why would they accede to the wishes of the Zionist movement that had been pushing for a Jewish state for decades?

Cheers,

George

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2550

Re: Balfour + 100
Posted on: 11/4/2017 6:00:26 AM
George ,

This was surely a matter of pragmatism .

As much a war measure as the Emancipation Proclamation had been fifty five years earlier.

Things were hanging in the balance in late 1917 , and any expedient that was available to improve prospects of victory was bound to be grabbed.

Jewish finance, science and resourcefulness were turned to account by virtue of this declaration.

Large cohorts of Jewish people were of Austro German provenance , and it was a significant achievement to prise their sympathies away from the Central Powers.

The Declaration had a lofty appeal to those who championed self determination as a principle worth fighting for: to combine idealism with pragmatism is potent in the conduct of war.

Regards. Phil

---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5566

Re: Balfour + 100
Posted on: 11/4/2017 7:32:58 AM
Phil, were the future consequences of the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine considered by cabinet?

Were there dissenters on cabinet who called it a bad idea?

Perhaps the exigencies of war were more compelling but I have always felt that the British were analytical about these things.

Could the current state of unrest between Israel and many of the Arab states have been anticipated?


Cheers,

George

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2550

Re: Balfour + 100
Posted on: 11/4/2017 11:43:33 AM
George,
How I wish that I could answer your questions!

I just don’t know enough about it, but I intend to find out more.

I was surprised to read in a newspaper article that there were dissenting voices among jews, who preferred to nurture the cosmopolitan status of Jewry, and suspected that this might be compromised by association with a national homeland defined by physical borders instead of the more notional, or mystical, appeal of biblical traditions .

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5566

Re: Balfour + 100
Posted on: 11/4/2017 12:45:41 PM
That's an interesting point Phil. While most modern Jews seem to support the existence of a Jewish homeland, they don't live there and I suspect that they would not. I am amazed at the amount of money raised for the state of Israel by Canadian Jews alone and yet they are perceived, by me anyway, as mainstream Canadians. And they do identify as Canadians for the most part.

So you are suggesting that many Jews of the WW1 and post-WW1 era did not wish to see themselves isolated as a group in one part of the world, Palestine. I wonder what their reasons were for that sentiment.

I think that I can understand the position, though. I mean, did a German Jew or a British Jew or any Jew from anywhere feel more Jewish or more attached to his country. I suspect that latter given that a Jewish homeland did not yet exist in 1917.

This modern fealty to Israel can be explained by the almost complete disaster that befell that religion and its multicultural groups, in WW2 and in previous pogroms.

Cheers,

George

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2550

Re: Balfour + 100
Posted on: 11/4/2017 1:39:21 PM
Some random thoughts, George, on my part that I might well have to disown if I learn that my outlook is not supported by facts.....

I doubt that the British politicians and statesmen of a century ago would have been able or willing to predict the scale of the demographic catastrophe that befell the Jewish people a generation after The Balfour Declaration. The Holocaust imparted a dynamic to the settlement of Palestine and was to lead to the creation of the state of Israel .

My suspicion is that the historiography of the Declaration fails to take into account the pressures of the war as a determining factor. But then I am so gripped by the history of WW1 that my perception might be distorted.

There appear to be complexities and ironies in the story.

Last week I spent time drinking beer in a pub with a young Israeli archaeologist who is fascinated by the history of the Palestine Campaign in the Great War .

He explained that there was a contingent of Jewish soldiers that fought for the Ottomans against the British !

We should also remember that a principal champion and protector of the rights and safety of Jews in Palestine was none other than Erich von Falkenhayn .

I wonder if the Balfour Declaration was a British attempt to forestall any further Jewish allegiance to the Central Powers and their Ottoman allies.

Inducement and bribery can make willing bedfellows with idealism .

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2550

Re: Balfour + 100
Posted on: 11/5/2017 2:53:48 AM
George,

You allude to Jewish Canadians.

One of the most imposing developments in London - that literally dominates the skyline - is the pair of towers at Canary Wharf in the Docklands development.

These are the Reichmann Towers, designed by orthodox Jewish brothers of that name.

The buildings symbolise the extent of the reach of Judaism, and its cosmopolitan nature and impact .

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5566

Re: Balfour + 100
Posted on: 11/5/2017 6:14:38 AM
There are some very successful Canadian businessmen who happen to be Jewish. That's the way I like to look at it anyone.

But I am not naive. Canada is not a utopia for people of the faith. We have our share of anti-semitism.

Greater Toronto has pockets that are known to be Jewish areas. I taught in one of them. The high school was about 80% Jewish kids. For the most part, other than cultural characteristics which I could go into, they were just like all of the other teens with whom I worked. They didn't seem particularly religious and neither did their parents though like many Christian parents, they did try to keep up with the traditions and encourage the kids to do so. They played sports and flirted with one another. Most were just nice kids. Not all were fabulously wealth either just to dispel the stereotype. Some single moms too.

My point I guess is that while there are areas where Orthodox Jews worshipped and congregated, most of the Jewish families were Conservative or Reformist or secular. I call them mainstream. Like the Italians who came here decades ago, the Jewish people are also represented in most aspects of Canadian life.

The Reichmann brothers and family owned Olympia and York. One of the brothers is dead I believe.

They are land developers with a world wide reach. The Canary Wharf project in London nearly destroyed them.

So I believe that they went from $20 billion in assets to currently a paltry $2.5 billion.

And like all of us, sometimes there is trouble with the children. One of the kids, as an adult sued the family in 2013 because his parents allegedly cut off his income. In court, the parents described the son as an unemployed man with millions of dollars in assets.

Ah, the trials and tribulations of the rich and famous.


Cheers,

George

scoucer
Berlin, Germany
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 1946

Re: Balfour + 100
Posted on: 11/5/2017 8:46:36 AM

Quote:
We should also remember that a principal champion and protector of the rights and safety of Jews in Palestine was none other than Erich von Falkenhayn .


Regards, Phil --Phil andrade


Yes Phil, Falkenhayn despised the anti-semitism he found within the German General Staff (particularly around the Ludendorff clique ), as did Crown Prince Rüpprecht. It should also not be forotten that Liman von Sanders was jewish which brought him in conflict with General Von Schellendorf ( a personal friend of Ludendorff ) a rapid anti-semite who supported the armenian genocide.

Trevor
---------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie

Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.

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