On November 15, London Socialist Resistance held a meeting commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.
The speakers were Bernard Regan and Roland Rance both of whom have worked in Palestine Solidarity work. The discussion addresses the historical context in which the Balfour Declaration was issued and its impact on the Middle East and especially the Palestinians.
The Zionists knew that they would never get their state without the support of an imperialism power. The Balfour Declaration supporting the creation of a “Jewish” state in Palestine whose purpose was to ensure that British military and economic interests would be protected following the inevitable collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
While Balfour was a friend to the Zionists, he was not a friend to the Jews; actually denying the entry of many Jews facing rising antisemitism and pogroms in Eastern Europe through the introduction of the Alien Act of 1905.
The Balfour Declaration must be understood in the context of the historical period of the collapsing Ottoman Empire, the carving up of the Middle East into French and British spheres of influence, and the deceptions of the British government to Arabs wanting their own states and the French, while supporting what they believed would maintain their influence in the Middle East and control over the Suez Canal.
Bernard Regan served for 25 years on the National Executive of the National Union of Teachers. A long time supporter of the right of the Palestinian people to self determination, he has been an executive member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Regan is the author of the newly released book The Balfour Declaration: Empire, the Mandate and Resistance in Palestine. His contribution’s is here:
Roland Rance is a founding member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Free Speech on Israel, Jewish Voice for Labour and Jews Against Zionism. His contribution is here: