Zionism - III. Balfour Declaration and the Zionist Opportunistic Nature

Since 2008-07-01

Because of the great importance of revealing major aspects about the history of Zionism, two more essays will be devoted to providing a historical account of the international Zionist movement. A number of rationales were behind such discourse: (a) The current need of the Muslims to know about the major historical developments that led to the occupation of Palestine by Zionists. (b) The great efforts and sacrifices that many devout Zionist have executed to achieve their ultimate aim of establishing a Zionist state in Palestine. (c) Realizing the weak spots in our recent history that allowed such atrocities and catastrophes to take place in the heart of Muslim land.

During the previous two articles on Zionism, I tried to shed light on:
(a) The beginning of Zionism and the principles on which it was established.

(b) The main Zionist figures and some of the major roles they have played in promoting Zionist aspirations.

(c) The different schemes they followed to keep the Zionist front united for the sake of exerting a strong pressure on the world's leading countries to support their cause.

This essay will be concerned with the real reasons behind the Balfour Declaration and Zionist investment on it and the exaggerated Holocaust in attracting international sympathy to establish the ultimate goal of Zionism, which is a Jewish state in Palestine.

The Zionist Movement invested in World War I by selling the support of the world Jewry in exchange for the Balfour Declaration in 1917. However, I think there are other factors that convinced the British Government to take such a daring step in granting the Jews a homeland in Palestine and seek the approval of the League of Nations.

Among the main factors behind the Balfour Declaration are Chaim Weizmann's personal efforts and connections. Weizman was a Russian-born chemist and Zionist leader who became the first president of Israel (1949-52). He became a lecturer in chemistry at the University of Geneva in 1901 and reader in biochemistry at the University of Manchester in 1904. In 1910, he became a British subject. He invested on his key position as director (1916-19) of the British admiralty laboratories. Weizmann became more influential and was responsible for the discovery and development of a method for synthesizing actone, used in explosives manufacturing which was highly appreciated by the British government; he was personally admired for a discovery which was most needed. He invested in his key position and convinced Balfour of the (claimed) historical right of the Jews to have a homeland in Palestine.

The New (20th Century Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge) stated that "the Balfour declaration was a product of religious as well as political activities" (p.894).

Christian Zionists who believe that the Messiah will appear in Palestine pressured the British government to grant the Jews a homeland in Palestine. Using his personal contact, Weizmann invested on misinterpretations of the Old Testament to convince the British Cabinet of the time and the foreign minister Balfour about the legitimacy of the decision. So, there is no doubt about the existence of religious motivations behind the Declaration.

Other claimed rationale was to obtain the support of the International Jewry during the war.

The latter rationale as a reason behind Balfour Declaration could be refuted because of two reasons:
First: the Jews formed a small minority among the population of the countries they lived in during the war.

Second: the Arab leader of the time King Hussein ibn Ali of Alhijaz sided with Allies during the World War I and later led the Arab revolt against the Ottomans in 1916 and proved to be reliable ally with the British. In contrast, the Zionists rebelled against the British White Paper decree.

So, none of the rationales presented by the British to legitimize their decision to displace a nation from its own country and place in another. The only possible interpretation is the one mentioned above.

After World War I, the Zionist movement faced two major setbacks. The new Soviet regime sealed off Jewish migration, the traditional source of increasing the Jewish population in the newly established settlements.

A dispute erupted between two of the main Zionist leaders: Judge Louis Brandies, leader of the American reform Jews, and Dr. Chaim Weizmann the man credited for obtaining the Balfour Declaration and the president of the World Zionist organization (1921-29) and lately became the first president of the Zionist State. The dispute involved both personal issues and an ideological debate over the future of Zionism.

American Reform Judaism, for example, proclaimed that Palestine was no longer a Jewish land and that the USA was "Zion". To these Jews, Zionism was damaging to the fabric of Judaism and only served to stir up Russians that resulted in the claimed death of thousands of Jews on the hands of Russian army units (1919-1921). However, the unbelievable killing of millions of Jews during the exaggerated Nazi Holocaust during World War II drew all Jews together in support of Palestine as a Jewish commonwealth a heaven for the persecuted and the homeless. Even if that would result in creating another genuine Holocaust against the original people of Palestine who were driven out of their homes at the point of the gun to become unwanted refugees.

Therefore, Weizmann's synthetic Zionism, which advocated both political struggle and colonization, won over Brandeis's pragmatic approach, which concentrated on colonization with no reference to future nationhood.

Due to these emerging events, Weizmann was turned into an unchallenged Zionist leader. Nevertheless, Brandeis and his group gave up their difference with Weizmann and turned into supporters of his proposals.

After obtaining the support of major Jewish leaders and organizations, Weismann set up the wider Jewish Agency in 1929, a body that harnessed the financial support of Jews who were willing to aid their brethren in Palestine. This political and financial support resulted in the increased number of Kibbutz and the escalating inhumane deportations of Palestinians. The number of Jews emigrants jumped from 50,000 in 1929 to 600,000 during the British mandate, which was one of the factors encouraging Jews immigration. In the next essay, discussion will be focused on the many historical fallacies behind the Holocaust.

Dr. Abdallah H. Al-Kahtany
* from his book new zionism


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