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Shine On: The Balfour Declaration at 100

Anniversaries are fertile ground for historical distortions. So how should we understand today’s centenary of the Balfour Declaration?

Published on: November 2, 2017
Adam Garfinkle is editor of The American Interest.
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  • FriendlyGoat

    Most everyone would have been better off in 1917 and since had Britain encouraged Jewish people to emigrate to the United States of America.

    Several million might not have been killed in Europe, a great hot-button of controversy could have been avoided in the Middle East, the American evangelicals might not be as nuts as they are today, and the future nuclear risks to the world with Israel would be non-existent.
    Wherever 40% of the world’s Jewish people (6,000,000) now live in the safety of the USA would have been a dandy place for 80% of them (12,000,000).

    • Psalms13626

      We are back in our homeland, just as it was foretold thousands of years ago. Get used to the idea.

      • D4x

        That is way too soft for a blatant display of ignorance so outrageous that it might actually shock Garfinkle out of his frou-frou musings, if he bothered to read it.

        • Psalms13626

          Before he blocked me, we had this conversation at length. He is convinced that presence of Israel is the root cause of the instability in the region. Middle East would have been better off if we had Palestine from the river to the sea. Together we lamented that the land promised to Abraham’s descendants is a small piece of desert with no defensible borders without any natural resources in an absolute worst place on Earth. At that point I quoted one of my favorite Bible quotes:
          Isaiah 45:15

          Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.
          Apparently quoting Scripture failed to satisfy Comrade FG and I was forced to tell him that his opinion on whether Jews belong in Israel is irrelevant.
          So here we are.

          • D4x

            My shock was FG’s complete ignorance of history and geography in his [lack of] insight: “in 1917 and since had Britain encouraged Jewish people to emigrate to the United States of America.” and geography are NOT WELCOME in FG’s mental map. Actually, Britain DID ‘encourage’ the flood of Russian Jews who had immigrated to England between 1881-1914, to ‘move on to the USA’. After being Jew-free from the expulsion of 1290 to 1655, England managed well enough with 46,000 Jews by 1880, but the newJews meant 250,000 by 1919, when the USA was starting to cut off open immigration, because:
            “1899 – 1924 Jewish Immigration by Country of Origin Total: 1,838,000 to the United States of America, of which 1,606,000 were from Poland, Russia(Belarus, Ukraine: The Pale of Settlement), Romania, and Hapsburg Austro-Hungary”
   “European Jewish Population, 1939: 7,933,000 in USSR, Poland, Romania, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia” “European Jewish Population, 1946: 2,707,000 in USSR, Poland, Romania, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia” “Jewish Death Toll 1939-1945 5,406,000 Poland, Western USSR (Belarus, Ukraine: The Pale of Settlement), Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Romania.

            I was not going to post here, to protest Garfinkle’s frou-frou musings, but was just visiting syrialiveuamap.
            Israel is on the edge of entering civil war, because the Druze are suddenly getting attacked by the rebels, which means Israel is on Assad’s side because Syria’s Druze are. In the liveuamap comment threads, the Zionists are getting less flack than the Ottomans and Persians. I avoid commenting there because those Ottomans know how to hack. They took down TimesofIsrael yesterday.

            Elsewhere in Syria today, it looks like Mad Max Militias and Russian missiles are fighting Iraqi Hezbollah aka “League of the Righteous (Asa’ib Ahl al-Haqq)” at the Anbar border, while Turkey’s war against Kurds is on three fronts, one with Russia, ready to replay the Crimean War in Idlib. The Astana Process meeting on Oct. 30-31 reversed the de-escalation…

            Check out the next Caliphate: Their wiki entry is intellectual secular terror out of the ferment called Lebanon, but their look is Mad Max.

            This is my break from reading an account of the 1973 Yom Kippur War!

          • Psalms13626

            you seem to really know what’s going on there. All I know is that Israel is fighting venomous snakes on numerous fronts against forces with overwhelming numerical superiority. And yet I’m not worried. I can’t explain it, but I know Hashem will deliver a miracle and Israel will emerge victorious, Having faith is believing in things you can’t see; reward of faith is seeing things you can’t believe.

    • ——————————

      “Most everyone would have been better off in 1917”.

      That is true. Apart from medical technology, I can see few improvements in mankind since then….

      • FriendlyGoat

        There is such a thing as supporting Jewish people AS PEOPLE without making everybody crazy with insistence on Zionism. That, IMHO, should have been done in the USA.

        It’s not like we can change this history. But we are currently in a political situation where a far greater number of Christians are “supporting Israel” (for reasons they do not understand) than there are Jewish people who “support Israel”. This is actually nuts.

        • Tom

          Why would that shock you? In the US alone there are more than ten times as many Christians as there are Jews in the entire world.

        • ——————————

          It is not as “nuts” as you think, if you use statistics…about 2.5 billion Christians VS about 17 million Jews. But you are very correct in the statement that many Christians “do not understand” why.
          I do not believe in organized religion, so I don’t believe in ‘holy land’, ‘chosen people’, etc. (man-made dogma), but I support Jews completely. They have had a rough time, but are at the top of the human food chain in their intelligence, and their skills. If they want Israel, let them have it.
          The Arabs weren’t doing anything with the land anyway….

          • FriendlyGoat

            If you don’t believe in “chosen people”, don’t humor them with it. THEY DO. Trust me, I have been through this here with “JR” (and his many aliases after being banned from sites, currently “Psalms 13626” below) too many times. I have had too many “God is gonna get ya” scriptures thrown at me by him from the Old Testament. I’ve been called too many ugly and hateful names by him. I have met the ultimate arrogance on this subject RIGHT HERE at the American Interest comment section and it swayed my whole world view on Israel.

            YES, America should have taken in as many as would come BEFORE The Holocaust (back when Balfour was making a mess). Yes, we should have saved Anne Frank and millions more because they are PEOPLE. Yes, we should treat our 40% of the world’s Jewish people wonderfully here. No, we never should have supported Zionism. Why? Because its most fervent supporters now are batsh*t crazy, in the mold of either JR or the evangelicals who voted 81% for Trump. Meanwhile, what did 71% of American Jewish voters do? They voted for Clinton. Are they going to Israel? No, they are staying here, which is my point.
            We would all be better off if most all were here and “support Israel” was extinct history.

    • Y.K.

      Nice idea, but I think you’re not going far enough. If George Washington and the other traitors had lost in Saratoga, there wouldn’t have been Native American genocide, slavery would have been abolished peacefully, WWI would have ended sooner probably without the Bolshevik Revolution and very likely no WW2 and Holocaust. Quite possible Israel would still exist though, since Great Britain would have controlled the same area and the Zionist movement had a fair bit of influence at the time, but the world isn’t perfect, is it?

      • FriendlyGoat

        Please remember that all I suggested was a free country kindly taking in a persecuted minority group at a timely moment—-40% of which ended up here anyway.

        • Y.K.

          The problem is that this ignores the will of both most of the minority group (a bit too complacent, except for those involved in the Russian Civil War) and of the host country (not so pro-immigration, probably would be outraged by British interference) at the time. For time travellers, changing the outcome of a single battle is so much easier than changing mass opinion. Besides, I think my history is more optimistic 😉

          Oh, well, we live in the here and now, and unless something like Multiple Worlds is true (a-la ‘Sliders’) this is it.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Well, with Washington at Saratoga, you managed to incorporate a “vision” for the avoidance of more catastrophes (Mr. Peabody’s Improbable History?)—-but, Israel itself is still in a lot of danger except for nuclear weapons. We can only hope that Zionism does not eventually trigger some of those being fired.

          • Y.K.

            Oh, it’s not *that* improbable. After all, the British not allowing further expansion into Indian territories was one of the explicit reasons mentioned in the American Declaration of Independence, and Britain did ditch slavery peacefully. The Americans wouldn’t have entered WWI fashionably late – if it had started at all – but on time, probably ending it sooner.

            Now, as for the spectre of nuclear war – I’d like to avoid it too. We can’t change the past, but we can change recent policy. I just wish there was such concern before a certain deal with a particular foreign power, but The President at the time was of the ‘right’ political party (not many evangelicals there), so that was apparently fine. No matter, it’s still possible to deal with that safely. If you’re worried about the political blame game, we can find some way to blame the other political party.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Iran is a lot like DPRK. It will be getting nukes.

  • mbermangorvine

    Oy. Intoxicants producing funhouse mirror images that in turn form echo chambers and become like nails without heads? Time to dial back those metaphors.

  • AaronL

    The three word remark made by Pharoah’s magicians, referred to by Mr. Garfinkle , are three words in Hebrew in Exodus 8:15. My transliteration (following no known transliteration guide) is “Etzba Eloheem Hoo” . Translated to English this means “It is the finger of God”.

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