Inspiration

 

The Balfour Declaration (dated 2 November 1917) was a letter from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron Rothschild a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland.

‘His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.’

This declaration by the British Government was made in recognition of the Jewish peoples’ need, after many years of oppression and statelessness, for a homeland of their own. Much political skullduggery took place beneath the surface of what looks like a simple appeal to compassion, nevertheless, the document as it stands sets a precedent in the treatment of other oppressed and stateless people, such as, one might suggest, the Palestinians themselves.

Surely what is good and right for one, is good and right for another.

A word-for-word restatement of this declaration by the British Government might go some way to balance the unfortunate effects of the original by replacing the name ‘Jewish’, with ‘Palestinian’.

The Restated Declaration.

‘Her Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Palestinian people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Palestinian communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Palestinians in any other country.’

Apart from his immortalisation as the progenitor of the declaration Lord Balfour is little remembered, yet historically his name is for that very reason indelibly inscribed into the historical records.

Therefore should some aspiring and ambitious MP now wish to make his mark he could do no better than putting a motion before Parliament for the announcement of an equal declaration on behalf of the Palestinians; surely none would dare raise their voice in dissent towards this course since they qualify, as did the Jews, as an oppressed and stateless people.

Of course such a declaration would have no directly political effect, but its influence might polarise public sentiment around the issue, as was the case with the original, while exposing the extremely one-sidedness  of the original.

Dave Tomlin
Pic: Claire Palmer

 

 


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