Bloody Balfour Declaration Debacle

Bloody Balfour Declaration Debacle

One hundred years ago today, a mischievous political promise gave rise to a mischievous political creed:  The Balfour Declaration of 1917.

“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use its 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 other countries.”

maxresdefault

This short letter amounted to what historian Monroe called ‘one of the worst mistakes in [British] imperial history’, and what novelist Koestler succinctly described as ‘one nation solemnly promised to a second nation the country of a third nation.’  Moreover, the only Jew in the British Cabinet, Edwin Montagu correctly objected on the grounds that the Jews were a culture, not a nation.  He rightly refers to Zionism, with deft political understatement, as ‘a mischievous political creed’, even calling the declaration ‘anti-Semitic’, a deftness ignored by Michael Prior who also rightly calls Zionism ‘pernicious’ and a ‘canonical’ ideology on a par with sacred texts.

Nevertheless, the declaration became a major milestone in Zionist history.  Its minimalist content achieving maximum impact for the Allies as nation states determined where their loyalties would lie.  The partition plans for post-War Middle East would significantly favour British interest whilst affording them the authority to carry it out.  On the aspirations of a return to Zion, two views were distinguished and both were achieved at this juncture:

  1.  The hope of a return and
  2.  Constructing a program to achieve it.

The declaration alarmed the Arab world not only by its wording, but because the political apparatus was now in place to achieve it, and this despite the promise that Palestinian residents, who formed ninety percent of the people on the land, would have their civil and religious rights protected.  By 1918, Arab consensus believed the Zionists aimed to take over the country and place them in subjection.  They perceived that civil and religious rights may be protected, but political rights were blatantly omitted, since the territory formerly belonged to a defeated enemy, the Ottomans.  The Arabs were right to be alarmed, for as Sizer demonstrates, not only was the Declaration itself penned by the Zionist Organization on Balfour’s behalf, the author was the same man in the British government who also drafted its response, a Jew – Leopold Amery.  Additionally, as Assistant Secretary to the British War Cabinet, Amery was responsible for establishing the Jewish Legion, ‘the first organized Jewish army for 2,000 years and forerunner of the Israeli Defence Force.’  Sizer then quotes historian Rubinstein who comments that this was ‘possibly the most remarkable example of identity concealment in 20th Century British political history’ because he misled officials as to his sympathy for the Jews.

20140901_124003

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goldman points out the ignorance of almost everyone, by highlighting the view that many understood Palestine to be uninhabited, and it should therefore be inhabited by Jews, ‘the descendants of the lands’ ancient biblical inhabitants.’  This grave oversight, fostered by idealised notions of a Jewish return contradicted the reports of many visitors to Palestine, who witnessed first-hand the hundreds of thousands of Arab dwellers.  The phrase ‘a land without a people for a people without a land’ was now used to claim that the Arabs of Palestine, despite their massive numbers, had no distinct “Palestinian identity”.  But this is a moot point.  Palestine was not empty, be it demographically or politically, as was attested by two unnamed Rabbi’s from Vienna, who visited Palestine in 1898, and reported, ‘The bride is beautiful, but she is married to another man.’  These two Rabbis knew only too well that Palestine was not only occupied by its indigenous people, but that this also meant that to deny them their national identity would be the first stage of dehumanization that would allow the Western powers and the Zionist movement to ignore their rights.  It would be colonisation and ethnic cleansing of the most nefarious kind.  And so it turned out to be just that!

 

 

We pray for holy peace and reconcilliation:

IMG_0957 (1)

 

 

Mission Impossible! a comment on the current escalation in Israel/Palestine violence

The following is a note by the President of Bethlehem Bible College, Jack Sara, on the current troubles engulfing the West Bank and Gaza.  It was published on the excellent ‘Come and See – a Christian web site from Nazareth‘.

This post is re-printed here with the personal permission of Jack, a faithful Christian, a fearless advocate of biblical truth and justice, a Palestinian, and a friend.  I will never forget our conversation over breakfast a couple of years ago!!

Mission Impossible! By Jack Sara

By: Bader Mansour

Continue reading

Sleep as Trust

I offer the poem below that I have stumbled across recently, not as one who finds sleep easy but one who doesn’t.  That means, given the poem’s content, I struggled to wrestle with the starkness of some of the comments. 

I think the point is true to all poetry, that we do not get lost in specific detail but we catch the wave, the ebb and flow, feeling the rhythm and beat of the poetry.  That way we insomniacs will not lose any more unneccessary sleep.

 

“I don’t like the man who doesn’t sleep, says God.

Sleep is the friend of man.

Sleep is the friend of God.

Sleep is perhaps the most beautiful thing I have created, and I myself rested on the seventh day.

He whose heart is pure, sleeps, and he who sleeps has a pure heart.

That is the great secret of being as indefatigable as a child, of having that strength in legs that a child has.

 

Those new legs, those new souls,

And to begin afresh every morning, ever new,

Like young hope, fresh hope.

But they tell me that there are men

Who work well and sleep badly.

Who don’t sleep.  What a lack of confidence in me.

I pity them.  I have it against them.  A little, they don’t trust me.

 

Like the child who innocently lies in her mothers arms, thus they do not lie

Innocently in the arms of my Providence.

They have the courage to work.  They haven’t enough virtue to be idle.

To stretch out.  To rest.  To sleep.

Poor people, they don’t know what is good.

They look after their business very well during the day.

But they haven’t enough confidence in me to let me look after it during the night.

As if I wasn’t capable of looking after it during one night.

He who doesn’t sleep is unfaithful to hope.

And it is the greatest infidelity.”

 

Charles Peguy in Basic Verities, p.209-11

boatA painting by Hannah Dunnet entitled ‘Trust in God’

Christ and the World

This is stunning…..

Subversive Preaching in a Postmodern World – A Targum based on Colossians 1:15-20 by Brian J Walsh

In an image-saturated world,

a world of ubiquitous corporate logos

permeating your consciousness,

a world of dehydrated and captive imaginations

in which we are too numbed, satiated and co-opted,

to be able to dream of life otherwise.

A world in which the empire of global economic affluence

has achieved the monopoloy of our imaginations;

in this world,

Christ is the image of the invisible God.

In this world,

driven by images with a vengeance,

Christ is the image par excellence;

the image above all other images,

the image that is not a facade,

the image that is not trying to sell you anything,

the image that refuses to co-opt you.

Continue reading

Why Bother?

DSC_0786#1“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!”  Psalm 27:13

I consider the brokenness of the world and I think, “Why bother?”

I look at the corruption all around me and I cry, “Why bother?”

I wonder at my inability to live with my neighbour and I ask, “Why bother?”

I face my war with sin inside and outside, and I ponder, “Why bother?”

I look at the problems of the culture around me and I lament, “Why bother?”

I scan my world, broken by disease and misuse, and in sadness say, “Why bother?”

I consider the statistics of violence and abuse and I think, “Why bother?”

I am assaulted with the reality of endless wars between nations, and overwhelmed say, “Why bother?”

I am defeated by temptations power and cry, “Why bother?”

I ponder how good is called bad and bad good, and in frustration say, “Why bother?”

I search for hope like a parched man for water but end up thinking, “Why bother?”

Perhaps I should live for leisure and comfort and give into “Why bother?”

Maybe I should exist for the here and now, and forgetting forever say, “Why bother?”

I am tempted to live for power and control, and for greater things say, “Why bother?”

Perhaps personal pleasure in the here and now is what it’s all about; “Why bother?”

But in exhaustion I look up and not around and I say, “Why bother?”

Why bother?

Because You are and You are good.

Why bother?  Because [in You] is goodness and grace.

Why bother?  Because You bring life out of death.

Why bother?  Because You have a plan and it will be done.

Why bother?  Because I have been welcomed into your Kingdom of Life.

Why bother?  Because I am always with you.

It is true that my eyes don’t always see and my heart isn’t always confident.

It is true that darkness overwhelms me and fear leaves me weak.

But You come near.

You remind me once again that I can be confident because You were unwilling to say, “Why bother?”

 

shelterinstorm

 

 

 

 

From ‘A Shelter in the Storm of Life – meditations on God and Trouble’ using Psalm 27 by Paul David Tripp p.139-141

The Drugged Baby

THE DRUGGED BABY – a poem by Gralefrit

babyfaye

The Lord says to me, ‘Fight the fight’

Give up your right and step into the light.

Pick up your cross

Lose all that dross

Count it all loss

Again I say, ‘Pick up your cross.’

‘But Lord’ I stutter, ‘there is no way’

‘I must speak and have my say

What about my human right

To choose whether to pick up my cross and fight?’

The orphan and widow; the sick and poor

What will you say when they knock on your door?

‘Come in’ says I,  ‘I’ve a great speech to give!’

‘But only speak life’ they say, ‘we want to live!’

Human rights can be human wrongs

But the question is, for whom do you long?

‘You say you long for me,’ declares the Lord, ‘you even bend your knee’

But my Spirit knows when you don’t want to see.

A baby has been born this very day

Her mother’s on crack, she has no say

You had the call to provide a way

A way to make her life pay.

This new born baby, will you take her in?

Into your home, out of life’s bin

Will you take her, a gift from me?

To show her my love and help her to see?

‘Yes Lord, I will pick up your cross

and answer the door.

Let her invade our home our hearts

But only if you invade my heart and make it your home!’

I accept the call, this gift, this poor drugged up broken baby girl

To love ’til it hurts and then some more

To see her break free of drugs and pain

And pray all the while that in Christ, a new life she’ll gain.

Glory to Christ

I accept your gift.

Amen and amen.

(c) Gralefrit 2014