By Richard Mather
Following discussions with government ministers and Jewish leaders in the UK, the British government endorsed the establishment of a Jewish home in Palestine. The decision, dated November 2 1917, was made public in a letter from British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour to Lord Walter Rothschild. It became known as the Balfour Declaration and was incorporated into the Sevres peace treaty with the Ottoman Empire, and the Mandate for Palestine, which was ratified by the League of Nations on July 24 1922.
Fast forward ninety-nine years and we have witnessed the shameful spectacle of an anti-Israel/anti-Balfour event hosted by the House of Lords and chaired by the notorious anti-Semite Baroness Jenny Tonge, during which Israel was compared to Islamic State, and Jews were blamed for pushing Hitler over the edge and thereby bringing the Holocaust on themselves.
The event, which was organised by Baroness Tonge and the London-based hate group Palestine Return Centre, marked the launch of the so-called Balfour Apology Campaign ahead of the Balfour Declaration centenary, which occurs in November 2017. A couple of months ago, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas told the UN General Assembly that Britain should apologise for the Balfour Declaration. We can expect much of the same absurd and offensive rhetoric over the coming year as anti-Zionist campaigners in Britain and abroad continue to urge the UK government to show remorse for so-called “colonial crimes” in the Middle East.
Indeed, next year, 2017, may well be the high water mark of British anti-Semitism. The situation for Jews in Britain has been getting steadily worse over the past ten to fifteen years. It reached an unprecedented level in the summer of 2014 (during Operation Protective Edge) and has been worsening ever since. The centenary of the Balfour Declaration may see the biggest avalanche of hatred on the Anglo-Jewish community since the medieval period, especially if Abbas’ proxies in Britain fill the airwaves and newspapers with vile slanders against the Jews.
To attack Israel’s very existence is appallingly anti-Semitic but don’t expect the mainstream media in the UK to point this out. On the contrary, the majority of media outlets in Britain will very likely take a very strong pro-Arab line and single out Jews for condemnation. Even so, Jews must continue to affirm and celebrate the role Britain played in the reestablishment of Israel. And Britain’s Jews must urge the UK government to uphold its historic commitment to Israel, without apology or remorse.