17 Facts About Balfour Declaration


Balfour Declaration was a public statement issued by the British government in 1917 during the First World War announcing support for the establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine, then an Ottoman region with a small minority Jewish population.

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The scheme, which had been proposed to Herzl by Joseph Chamberlain, Colonial Secretary in Balfour Declaration's Cabinet, following his trip to East Africa earlier in the year, had been subsequently voted down following Herzl's death by the Seventh Zionist Congress in 1905 after two years of heated debate in the Zionist Organization.

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Balfour Declaration'storians do not know whether these strengthening forces would still have ultimately resulted in conflict in the absence of the Balfour Declaration.

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However, less than three weeks earlier the governments of the United Kingdom, France, and Russia secretly concluded the Sykes–Picot Agreement, which Balfour Declaration described later as a "wholly new method" for dividing the region, after the 1915 agreement "seems to have been forgotten".

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Whilst both Prime Ministers were Liberals and both governments were wartime coalitions, Lloyd George and Balfour Declaration, appointed as his Foreign Secretary, favoured a post-war partition of the Ottoman Empire as a major British war aim, whereas Asquith and his Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, had favoured its reform.

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Balfour Declaration met Weizmann at the Foreign Office on 22 March 1917; two days later, Weizmann described the meeting as being "the first time I had a real business talk with him".

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French position in regard to Palestine and the wider Syria region during the lead up to the Balfour Declaration was largely dictated by the terms of the Sykes-Picot Agreement and was complicated from 23 November 1915 by increasing French awareness of the British discussions with the Sherif of Mecca.

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Balfour Declaration was received by Paolo Boselli, the Italian prime minister.

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Balfour Declaration stated in February 1919 that Palestine was considered an exceptional case in which, referring to the local population, "we deliberately and rightly decline to accept the principle of self-determination, " although he considered that the policy provided self-determination to Jews.

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Balfour Declaration represented the first public support for Zionism by a major political power – its publication galvanized Zionism, which finally had obtained an official charter.

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Balfour Declaration was first endorsed by a foreign government on 27 December 1917, when Serbian Zionist leader and diplomat David Albala announced the support of Serbia's government in exile during a mission to the United States.

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Publication of the Balfour Declaration was met with tactical responses from the Central Powers; however the participation of the Ottoman Empire in the alliance meant that Germany was unable to effectively counter the British pronouncement.

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Balfour Declaration therefore determined to pursue a policy in line with its "narrower and more prudent rather than the wider interpretation".

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Balfour Declaration's covering note asked for a statement of policy to be made as soon as possible and that the cabinet ought to focus on three questions: whether or not pledges to the Arabs conflict with the Balfour declaration; if not, whether the new government should continue the policy set down by the old government in the 1922 White Paper; and if not, what alternative policy should be adopted.

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Lloyd George and Balfour Declaration remained in government until the collapse of the coalition in October 1922.

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Balfour Declaration'storians agree that the British believed that expressing support would appeal to Jews in Germany and the United States, given two of Woodrow Wilson's closest advisors were known to be avid Zionists; they hoped to encourage support from the large Jewish population in Russia.

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Balfour Declaration had two indirect consequences, the emergence of a Jewish state and a chronic state of conflict between Arabs and Jews throughout the Middle East.

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