History lecturer: “Britain should apologise for Balfour Declaration.”

James Renton and Deborah Maccoby of JfJfP at SOAS.

James Renton and Deborah Maccoby of JfJfP at SOAS.

A little known history lecturer is quickly becoming the new poster boy of the anti-Israel movement. Last night at SOAS James Renton detailed why he thinks the British government should apologise for the Balfour Declaration. He was invited to speak by Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

The thrust of Renton’s argument is that there should be such an apology because the Balfour Declaration lacked clarity on the meaning of “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, which, he said, unleashed an expectation of statehood amongst Jews that was never intended. He blames the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on this “misconceived, ill thought through policy of the British government”.

He also argued that the Declaration was based on the mistaken and anti-Semitic assumption that Jews had great power in America and Russia and that they were mainly Zionist. Therefore, such a declaration would encourage Russia and America against Germany during the Great War.

Renton thinks that there was never an intention to create a Jewish state and he quoted from a letter from David Lloyd George to the then Archbishop of Westminster, who told Lloyd George in 1919 that the Zionists in Palestine were “causing a stink and claiming that the country would soon be coming under their control”. Lloyd George replied to the Archbishop:

“If the Zionists claim domination of the Holy Land under a British protectorate then they are certainly putting their claims too high.”

Renton criticised Britain for advertising that it was a big supporter of Zionism while at the same time promoting national freedom for Arabs but without thinking either side really expected political independence in Palestine. This was because the British viewed both Jews and Arabs as “politically backward”.

You can read Renton’s thesis in Haaretz (contact me in you cannot access the link and I will send you the article).

However, his thesis is facile. For one he contradicts himself by saying both that the British thought the Jews had immense power but that they were also politically backward. Which is it?

For Renton the Balfour Declaration was mainly down to anti-Semitism. As he puts it “Balfour and Mark Sykes said nasty things about Jews” (Sykes was the government’s advisor on the Middle East at the time). And he downplays the role of Christian support for a Jewish state as well as Chaim Weizmann’s efforts in manufacturing ammunition for Britain during the Great War.

This campaign to have Britain apologise for the Balfour Declaration was dreamt up by the Palestine Return Centre. They launched a petition with the view to obtaining one million signatures in support of an apology by the time of the centenary of the Declaration in 2017. Unlike Renton, the PRC thinks the apology should be for the “tremendous injustices” the Balfour Declaration has caused to the Palestinian people.

The PRC are now using the recent decision in the Mau Mau rebellion case, where Britain has been found guilty of complicity in the torture of victims in the Mau Mau uprising against British rule in Kenya in the 1950s and 1960s, to give their campaign a boost.

Renton spotted one difficulty with the PRC’s campaign though. He noted that there will be no one alive from the era of the Balfour Declaration to attest. So he suggested to a representative of the PRC who was in the audience last night that the PRC might have more success if they asked the British government for an apology for the Arab losses during the Arab uprising of 1936-1939.

The problem with that is that the PRC’s raison d’etre is the destruction of Israel via the so-called Palestinian “right of return”. They want an apology to undermine Israel’s existence. I doubt that Arabs were killed during that Arab uprising is of great significance to the PRC in the scheme of things. Renton might not know of the PRC’s politics, but there’s a good clue in their name Palestine Return Centre as to why they might want an apology.

Anyway, the wording of the Balfour Declaration is clear. What is meant by “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” if not a state? The clue is in the words “national home”.

Renton gave us a sheet of homework asking all 10 of us in the audience some questions:

1. Did today’s talk differ from your previous understanding of this issue?
2. Has Dr Renton’s talk affected how you think about the Balfour Declaration?
3. What aspects would you challenge, and why?

Maybe you could email him at james.renton@edgehill.ac.uk with your answers. He wants to hear from you.


48 responses to “History lecturer: “Britain should apologise for Balfour Declaration.”

  1. Michael Cohen

    Sounds like a big turn out. Did you manage to get a seat?

  2. Dear Richard,  I think this unknown history teacher will remain thus, considering the attraction to the meeting. TEN!!! If the subject matter was not so important, the whole episode would be laughable. I doubt he’ll be invited again, considering his ‘pulling power,’ but I will repond to his questions. Kind Regards, BrianLux

    ======================================== Message Received: Jun 26 2013, 10:37 PM

  3. “All 10 of us”? And that includes obviously some people who don’t believe that thesis. Looks like a Meretz meeting!

  4. An excellent report about what sounds like an interesting lecture.

    My American cousin wrote an undergraduate (or graduate – I’m not sure) about the same subject, which I read when I was about ten or eleven. Strangely, as far as I can recall she reached similar conclusions regarding the British motivations for the declaration. I’ve always considered the story about how grateful they were to Weitzman for his help a bit far-fetched. Foreign policy decisions are usually based on the expectation of the realization interests in the future rather than on a wish to reward someone for something he’s already done.

    Regarding their belief that many Jews were among those who controlled the Soviet government at that time, it was a fact. These Communists were anti-Zionists but non-Jews often consider us to be more concerned for each other than we are. Anyway, they were clutching at straws at that point in the war.

    The use of the term Jewish National Home rather than Jewish State was of course the result of laborious negotiation, yes it was ambiguous, that was its point. It’s important to remember that this was before the Zionist organization had fully agreed among itself that its aim was the establishment of an independent sovereign state in Palestine. There were many who would have settled for a good deal less.

    That was, however, the only ambiguous part of the Balfour Declaration. Its attitude to the non-Jewish (Arab) population was crystal clear, They were guaranteed “civil and religious” but not even “political” rights. Neither was this an oversight as those same political rights were specifically guaranteed for Jews living in other countries. In other words, the Balfour Declaration gave more political rights to a Jew living in the East End over the running of Britain than an Arab living in Palestine over the future of that country. Again, all of this was negotiated.

    My conclusion is that since Britain didn’t want to offer us full statehood and since they had no intention of giving anybody else any sort of political rights, there might have been a hidden agenda that Palestine would ultimately be a Jewish national home controlled by Great Britain. If that was the case and the reason for the intentional ambiguity, it may be that we are all owed an apology.

    • Daniel, I think I agree with the last point you make. At the time India was still considered the Jewel in the Crown and a Jewish Palestine kindly overseen by colonialist Britain would have been a safe gateway to it. Then there was, alas, the increasing need for Arab oil…

  5. This lecture is part of a scheme over the next four years to force the Government to apologise for the Declaration. But the BD was made redundant by the League of Nations Mandate document, which enshrined the BD in international law! We need to hammer this point again and again – there is no point in apologising for a document that was superceded and indeed strengthened by another! (Excuse me for fuming!)

  6. Balfour’s attitude towards the Arab population of Palestine was indeed crystal clear.

    “The four powers are committed to Zionism and Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long tradition, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desire and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.”

    Arthur James Balfour, 11 August 1919

  7. He’s a “history lecturer” who has never read the Arabist Doreen Ingrams, whose research directly contradicts his ignorance (or worse). I seem to remember someone of this name in the B(enighted) B(roadcasting) C(oven).

  8. What counts is 51 members of the Leage of Nation who voted in San Remo for a Jewish home in Palestine.

  9. I once read piece in The Atlantic Monthly that argued pretty convincingly that the Balfour Declaration is owed to some robust arm twisting by the US. Now wouldn’t such an extended claim for apology be lovely? and with a bit of further research one can sure find some other powers of the time having meddled.

    Israel has become a state and made a success of it and that’s it

    • PS: I forgot to mention that there are 22 long and well argued pieces by eminent writers offered at The Atlantic if you search for Balfour Declaration reaching all the way to back then including at least one by Ben Gurion.

      How high are the chances that somebody has to offer a new argument on the matter as long as Arab archives are not accessible?

  10. In earnest I spoke when I said that the question of the motivation that lay behind the granting of the Balfour Declaration almost a century ago is extremely interesting, and certainly much more so than Aristotelian whores, porky pinkies or even the mental health of a single commentator to this excellent blog. Furthermore, we are oft to forget that this document was to become part of the British Mandate charter.

    A few months ago a group from the German Federal Agency for Civic Education visited our humble settlement and in the Q&A session I was asked how I would like to see the future borders of Israel. Feeling in a playful mood I replied that the land offered me all those years ago hand represented only a tiny fraction of the total Middle East – less than one percent. However, I continued, that I am a man of peace and compromise (which I am) so I would settle for half of that; there were smiles on many faces. Then, I paused a few seconds and said that perhaps I could be even more generous and that one quarter of the land area of British Mandate Palestine would suffice if I could be assured that it would truly be a an enduring peace.

    It is a story the end of which I do not know. However, I was amused at the thought of these journalists, academic and civic leaders returning home in the belief that they had found a pragmatic and rational settler, only to inspect the maps and discover the terrible truth.

  11. With little insight to contribute to the historical topic of the Balfour Declaration the above commentator again endeavors to drag this page down into his verbal gutter. This time I shall not oblige and will languish there quite alone.

    As a very young teenager friends and I had occasion more than once to talk at the Israel stand in Hyde Park Corner. A rule we quickly learned was that the decision of an opponent to resort to foulness was invariably a sign that he was all out of information and the means with which to communicate it. At this point it was not unusual for spokesmen of Arabian origins to curse our sisters and mothers.

    Similarly, the above “commentator” supposedly on our side has no qualms about metaphorically dragging Jewish martyrs from their graves in the hope that by so doing he might shock me sufficiently to divert the subject of this page. In a previous posting I spoke about the over-use of the term Nazi as a means of trivializing the Holocaust. What better example could be found than such obscene gibberish?

    But this page’s purpose is to discuss the attempts of anti-Israel propagandists to campaign for a British apology for the Balfour Declaration and the motivations behind the original granting of that same document and as far as I am concerned, that it shall stay.

  12. I rather think than Britain should apologize for barring the gates of Palestine to all those doomed Jews of Europe and for turning back the rickety old ships laden with desperate escapees, fully aware that they would end up in the Nazi gas ovens or torpedoed by Russian or German U-boats.

  13. You are quite right Rubin.

    Britain has many reasons to ask forgiveness from Irish and Indian, Pakistanis and Palestinians. The first sin of British foreign policy since time immemorial gas been variously attributed to Benjamin Disraeli and the slightly lesser known Henry Labouchere is that of arrogance. One of them reputedly complained that when playing cards with William Gladstone, he didn’t mind the gentleman always having the ace of spades up his sleeve. He only took exception to Gladstone’s insistence that it was Almighty God who had put it there.

    The first goal of the foreign policy of any country should be to protect and further its perceived interests. In this way Britain is no different to France, China or Russia. However, only the British (and recently the US to a lesser extent) are able to muster up the gall to persuade large parts of the world that her actions are performed for pure altruistic motives and are first and foremost in the interests of whichever “natives” or “foreigners” they happen to be taking advantage of at that moment in time.

    Paradoxically, too often Israeli foreign policy often seems to be the opposite with leader after leader acting at the bidding of “our friends” and furthering their foreign policy interests, while declaring their actions to be what are best for Israel,

  14. Britain has very many reasons to apologise for the Balfour Declaration – and Sykes-Picott – but James Renton’s reasons aren’t among them.
    The problem with the BD is that it is too vague and open to different (mis)interpretations. Or, me being cynical, perhaps that was the intention.
    Let’s look at it

    His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their 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 any other country.

    Just two examples:
    A national home for the Jewish people? No one defined national home then (state, cultural autonomy, protectorate, etc), least of all the Zionist Movement, which was debating state or not at that point.
    …it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine…
    What does that even mean? No one defined rights, circa 1917, civil and/or religious regarding non-Jews in Palestine or Jews in the rest of the world. And as the “world” was about to undergo huge change – the beginning of the end of empire, for instance, or a huge economic crash that would bring the US and Europe to their knees or the rise of fascism and communism as alternatives to fragile democracies.

    • Daniel Marks

      Hi Joe,

      These were points to which I believe I related in an early comment:


      • Sorry, Daniel, I completely missed it. Great analysis, tho.
        I don’t think anyone’s hands were particularly clean when it came to end of war promises.
        Maybe they – Britain and France – thought everyone would forget about it and there’d be some empire led protectorate.

      • that colonialism could end was not on their agenda

        the author of Germany Jekyll and Hyde which Churchill made his staff read said in the book that after Germany had been defeated in WW2 one should consider to leave her in possession of some of her colonies.

        From everything else I ever read by Sebastian Haffner I can’t imagine him as an imperialist but still that colonies would stop being colonies was apparently beyond his imagination in 1940 !!!!!!!

        my impression is that at the time they believed that being under their rule or protection was a truly beneficial and benign and advantageous and what have you thing …

    • If you read about the run-up to the letter’s publication, the text was debated endlessly in a typical political fashion and what came out was a typical government statement (plus ca change!). There is no doubt that vested interests and great power strategy played a big part, but also in my mind there is no doubt that there was a strong thread of pro-Israel evangelical Christian theology behind it as well. This drive to apologise for the BD is going to run, but there is an election in the way in 2015 that could put a big pause on the campaign. There are also moves to counter the campaign. Personally, I think it’s pointless to apologise for a vaguely worded document that was made redundant by the League of Nations Mandate documents, which not only enshrined the BD in international law but strengthened it.

    • I see that Millis is more prudent with words “national home” and “rights” than he is with the word “Nazi”, who has according to him a single meaning.
      Good! He may be becoming wiser and that would not be superfluous.
      Of course, the BD was vague. “National home” could mean an new Empire ‘jewel’ where Jews could be sent, as Australia was used for convicts. “Rights” could really mean very little for people who hadn’t any voting rights in 1917. And there is no doubt that rights of present Israelis (Arabs and Jews) are far better than those the British Empire granted them while it was ruling Mandate Palestine.
      Yet, the vagueness of it is precisely the reason while all this stuff is ridiculous. UK will not apologise because it can tell anyone that what happens was not what was intended in the BD and no one can prove that wrong. Then, the BD was endorsed by the League of Nations and since then, UK has lost all responsibility to the ‘benefit’ of international community. Since then, the UN is still bound by the decisions of the League of Nations, including it endorsement of the BD.
      Maybe we could get UK to apologise for having given 3/4th of Mandate Palestine lands to a Saudi prince? With a better chance of success, whatever small it can be.

  15. Daniel Marks

    Thank you for the link, Silke. It makes for a most interesting read and will require time to chew over.

    • … and I forgot to mention that of course what applies to the US applies to the EU also – for example given the Gezi-Park-happenings the EU wanted to delay or suspend negotiations on entry for Turkey but changed her mind – it would have been the effective thing to do but according to German media even the protesters were against it – it is conundrum wherever you look and I personally just hope that Merkel is as good as Netanyahu and not letting herself getting forced into something that she doesn’t want …

      … and all that after having had Turkish friends and/or colleagues all my life with no trouble whatsoever

      I wish there were a means giving those strutting loudmouths cold showers now and then

      PS: if I understand Joe M. correctly he expects politicians to know better what the future holds than what is possible for mortals.

  16. Silke,

    I agree that the British did often believe that their colonialism was for the benefit of the natives:

    “Take up the White Man’s burden–
    Send forth the best ye breed–
    Go bind your sons to exile
    To serve your captives’ need;
    To wait in heavy harness,
    On fluttered folk and wild–
    Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
    Half-devil and half-child.”

    However, I’m not sure that even Balfour or Churchill believed that this was the case regarding the Jewish People. Since the times of the Roman Empire, and perhaps before, the Jewish People never saw itself as an intellectual or cultural inferior to any civilization. There were Jews among the elites of most Western societies and they mixed socially with the authors of British foreign policy at that time. Martin Gilbert quotes a contemporary of Churchill as claiming that he had non-Jewish friends as well. Likewise the leaders of the Zionist movement in and out of Palestine in no way were similar to the natives that most of the Colonial Office was charged with administrating.

    Leaving aside talk about the White Man’s burden, the usual British method of justifying continued colonialism was to encourage a minority group to demand independence and take up arms and then explain that if British soldiers were to leave there would be a bloodbath. This explains the Protestant paramilitaries in Ulster, the Muslim rebellions against Indian independence that would lead to the creation of Pakistan and the Arab revolts in Palestine – as well as many other lesser known uses of the “Divide and Rule” principle.

    • I don’t remember where I’ve read it but my memory is positive that Churchill somewhere wrote or said that he expected Jews in Palestine to make such a success of it that it would influence/inspire their Arab neighbours to imitate them and thereby pacify that vexatious region.

      My memory also says that he said that shortly before WW2 but about that I am not so sure.

      i.e. according to Churchill Jews were amongst those who could bring the light and thereby help the Empire as to which in all I have read by him he constantly affirmed that it was a benign power for the good and a peace loving one.

      … there is a German conviction that theory and practice (praxis) differ very much and seldom match or rather it is normal for them to occupy completely different worlds.

  17. Earth to James Fenton.
    What year did the British make an Israeli state between 1917 and 1947? Never.
    How much land did the British give the Jews between 1917 and 1948? Zero

    The East Bank was part of the Mandate borders of 1917 and the Brits gave the Entire East Bank to the Arabs and named the country after the Jordan River.
    (Jordan) Jordan is 75% of the land. So James Renton learn some history.
    Israel has 20% of the land, which they won after defeating the 5 invading Armies in 48. The Arabs right now have 80% of the land. Jordan also passed a law stating their country must be Jew free, pretty much like all the Arab countries.
    Oh but wait, there are 10 Jews in Yemen.
    The only thing the British did was give out a white paper in 39 barring all Jewish immigration while letting in thousands of Arabs.

    Here’s a good article how the British have always supported the Arabs over Israel.
    In the service of the Palestinians
    Op-ed: In light of its dark past, Britain’s involvement in building of PA’s army very problematic
    Elyakim Haetzni

  18. The Palestinians’ plight is due to their own fanaticism, hatred, intolerance and intransigence.

    The worst thing about the Palestinians is that unlike the Israelis – the Palestinians deliberately target women and children.

    The Palestinians have no basic human morality and believe in killing all Jews, including women and children.

    Opinion polls show the majority of Palestinians support killing Israeli civilians.

    73% of Palestinians Believe Jews Should Be Killed Wherever They Hide
    Jim Hoft
    July 16, 2011,

    Palestinians use their woman and children as meat shield. Hamas fires missiles behind hospitals, mosques and schools.
    Fatah uses ambulances to hide suicide belts under children in the ambulance.

    The Israelis fight a war against military targets. The Palestinians’ war consists of almost nothing but war crimes against civilians.

    The Palestinians are quite open about targeting women and children in their homes, schools, and in their daily life: “All the Jews are targets, whether military or civilian. I advise everyone to go on Palmediawatch to see the racist Palestinian media against Jews.

    This is Islam for you.

  19. Hi Barry,

    I can’t recall you having written here before, so I’ll welcome you to this excellent blog.

    I believe that there may have been some kind of misunderstanding, however, as you appear to be under the impression that this is an anti-Israel page and that we need convincing. I think that most commentators here are supporters of Israel and have visited Palmediawatch, etc.

    Though, I personally consider myself to be quite a right-wing Israeli settler, I would advise a little more circumspect approach when representing the views of Palestinians and might prefer to talk of “a great deal of Palestinians” rather than just “Palestinians”.

    My reading of Palestinian public opinion is slightly different to yours, though I must admit that my own anecdotal evidence based on many conversations is greatly at odds to the kind of statistical evidence that you quote, and which I do not contest.

    On the one hand Palestinians consistently choose political parties that wish to see the destruction of Israel (there aren’t many who don’t) and state the kind of opinions that you quote in opinion polls. On the other hand, in conversation they often express great frustration with that same leadership and claim to want nothing more than peace and quiet. Most also claim that if there was a Palestinian State and the option of staying elsewhere under Israeli rule, they’d choose the latter. I don’t know how to reconcile this contradiction, but strange as it sounds I don’t believe they are lying to me or to the pollster,

    My conclusion, however, is that as long as we have dealings with Palestinians, we should be extremely courteous and respectful on the one hand, but equally cautious and indomitable on the other. Roadblocks, for example, are a necessary evil because they save lives, and the soldiers manning them should both efficient and polite. When I was in the IDF I saw too many cases when they seemed rude and inefficient insulting the driver without even checking his car properly.

    I do believe peace will come, because I pray for it three times a day. I once thought it might be in my lifetime, then my children’s, but as my youngest daughter sets off for officers’ course I think it may take a generation or two more than that.

    It’s okay. Despite impressions to the contrary, we are a people that knows how to wait.

    • Hi Daniel

      googling made me guess that the book this talk is based on has been widely noticed in Jewish media but maybe you or one of your friends interested in the subject finds an hour of listening easier to do than to read the whole book.

      I liked the author/presenter for implying/hinting that the message hasn’t trickled down as far and wide as it should have and that he finds that worrying.


      From Enemy to Brother: The Revolution in Catholic Teaching on the Jews, 1933-1965
      A book talk with author John Connelly, UC Berkeley, History. Discussant: Paul Lerner, USC, History.

  20. Daniel Marks says, My conclusion, however, is that as long as we have dealings with Palestinians, we should be extremely courteous and respectful on the one hand.

    When you deal with sane people, Yes.
    When you deal with the racist Palestinian leadership. NO.
    Pat Condell said it best about the Palestinian Rejectionist Leadership.

  21. The Palestinians have also put a lot of energy into celebrating the murders of Israeli civilians by Arab terrorists.
    They don’t just celebrate murdering us once or twice – they still celebrate murders they committed of Israelis in the 1970s.
    Their culture is one big murder cult (with Israeli civilians as their targets) and to think the Europeans support these barbarians.

    • Europeons have a long history of love affairs with fascists.

      Today it’s Islamofascism.

  22. Just look how many streets the Palestinian Arabs have named for terrorists who murdered Israeli civilians.
    The Palestinians have run out of streets and are now naming park benches after terrorists!

  23. Hi Barry,

    So often do I hear the words of Almighty G-d quoted out of context, that when you do it to me, I console myself that at least I’m in good company. What I said was:

    “My conclusion, however, is that as long as we have dealings with Palestinians, we should be extremely courteous and respectful on the one hand, but equally cautious and indomitable on the other.”

    Strangely, you omitted the second half of the sentence together with its explanation. This not only emasculates its intended meaning, but no less troublingly makes my English usage appear even shoddier than it is. I would only advise you that next time you wish to misquote, you might want to distance your comment a little further from the source, thus making it more difficult to get nabbed.

    However, my real point is that you’re among friends here and you don’t need to preach to the choirboys. Furthermore, if 33 years of living in Israel hadn’t convinced me of the righteousness of our cause, I’m not certain that your re-posting that excellent Pat Condell monologue would have done it.

    I don’t know your biography, but if you do not believe in respecting your enemy, I suspect it has not included much time wearing battle fatigues. Few things are more hazardous than disrespecting a foe and working under the assumption that “they” are collectively not “sane”. The latter has never been the premise for Israeli intelligence analysis, and were it to be so, it would undoubtedly lead to reaching incorrect conclusions that would in all likelihood form the basis for erroneous decisions.

    Both you and Condell seem to believe that Israel is all right and the other side are all wrong. We are all good and they are all bad. I see no reason to dispute those points, but, so what? Is that really all we need to know? Does the very knowledge that you’re the goodies and they’re the baddies – very good and very very very bad – answer any questions or solve any problems? If so, I’d be interested to hear what exactly you suggest.

    • I wouldn’t bother, Daniel. These appear to be either more aliases or sock puppets. I suggest Richard check the ip. Probably sent from behind a proxy or something like that.
      Just don’t engage.

  24. Abbas Hate media glorifies Palestinian terrorists for slaughtering Holocaust survivors at Passover massacre, Jewish Kids at a Bat-Mitzva celebration, students at the Hebrew University massacre, Jewish children being exterminated eating Pizza by Palestinian Islamo Nazis at the Sbarros massacre in 01.
    Daniel Marks says Israel should be extremely courteous and respectful to these killers. You must be kidding me!

    PA Glorifying terrorists and terror
    June 27, 2013

    PA TV attacks PMW for calling planners of suicide bombings “terrorists”
    PA TV host: “I want to tell the Israelis that our prisoners are heroes and not terrorists. What I saw reminded me of an Israeli website called “PMW” or “Palestinian Media Watch,” a site that monitors the Palestinian media. Of course every visit that we film for a prisoner gets them angry. I was surprised a week ago that [regarding] brother Ibrahim Hamed (54 life sentences), brother Abbas Al-Sayid (35 life sentences), and brother Abdallah Barghouti (67 life sentences), they [PMW] objected, they were upset, they slandered these heroes and claimed that they are terrorists. If they see Abdallah Barghouti as a terrorist, Abbas Al-Sayid as a terrorist, Ibrahim Hamed and Nasser Awais (14 life sentences), if they see all these prisoners as terrorists, we see them as heroes… I salute you, all you heroic fighter prisoners, and of course I always wish you freedom.”

    Note: Abbas Al-Sayid – serving 35 life sentences for planning two suicide bombings, one in 2002 at a Passover dinner, killing 30 Israelis, and another in 2001, killing 5 and wounding 100.

    Abdallah Barghouti – serving 67 life sentences for preparing explosives for terror attacks in which 66 Israelis were murdered – Sbarro restaurant (15 killed, Aug. 9, 2001), Moment Cafe (11 killed, March 9, 2002), and the triple attack at the Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall (11 killed, Dec. 1, 2001).

    Ibrahim Hamed – Hamas military leader serving 54 life sentences for orchestrating suicide attacks that killed a total of 46 Israelis. These attacks included the bombings at the Hebrew University cafeteria (9 killed, July 31, 2002), Moment Cafe (12 killed, March 9, 2002), Hillel Cafe (7 killed, Sept. 9, 2003), Zion Square in the center of Jerusalem (11 killed, Dec. 1, 2001), and others.

    Nasser Awais – serving 14 life sentences for planning terror attacks in which 13 civilians were murdered: 6 killed at a Bat-Mitzva celebration (Jan. 16, 2002), 2 killed in Jerusalem (Jan. 22, 2001), and the throwing of a hand grenade that killed a baby (March 9, 2002), and other attacks.

  25. Leave it to the Arabs…if it shows a Jewish presence. They will deny or destroy it.

  26. Israeli on Arab TV: J’lem Was Ours When Moslems Worshipped Idols
    A Bar Ilan Univ. researcher told Al Jazeera, “Jews were in Jerusalem while Muslims were drinking wine; we don’t need your permission to build.”

  27. Barry,

    Here we go again:

    “Daniel Marks says Israel should be extremely courteous and respectful to these killers.”

    The statement I made was:

    “My conclusion, however, is that as long as we have dealings with Palestinians, we should be extremely courteous and respectful on the one hand, but equally cautious and indomitable on the other. Roadblocks, for example, are a necessary evil because they save lives, and the soldiers manning them should both efficient and polite. When I was in the IDF I saw too many cases when they seemed rude and inefficient insulting the driver without even checking his car properly.”

    Now either you’re intentionally distorting my intent or you’re incapable of simple reading comprehension. I was talking about “Palestinians” while you paraphrased me to be talking about “killers”. Are you suggesting that these words are synonymous? Are all Palestinians “killers” in your eyes? Or perhaps all Muslims? Does someone not have to kill in order to be a killer or is it a genetic trait which characterizes all Palestinian or Palestinian babies even before they’re old enough to actually kill?

    I don’t expect you to actually relate to most of these questions, because their answers can’t be simply copied and pasted from palwatch.org. Incidentally, I find it hard to believe that anyone on that excellent site would use the words “Palestinians” and “killers” interchangeably.

    As I was talking about “Palestinians” in general, rather than “killers” in general, analyzing the rest of what I’ve said becomes a little redundant. Because I think that I expressed myself quite clearly the first time, if you didn’t understand me then, I doubt that any amount of rephrasing would help. However, if you really were incapable of comprehending such a simple principle as “Respect him but suspect him”

    “The source of this is in a story of the Talmudic sage Rabbi Yehoshua. A complete stranger asked to stay the night. Rabbi Yehoshua obliged him by giving him a room in the attic, but also exercised prudence by removing the ladder so that the guest wouldn’t be able to sneak out. The guest turned out in fact to be a thief; he wrapped all the valuables in the top floor in a cloak and tried to sneak out, but fell in the dark because of the missing ladder, and was caught red-handed.

    Our sages summarized: “Other people should always be like thieves in your eyes, yet respect them as if they were Rabban Gamliel” (an especially honored and dignified Torah leader).”


  28. N. Friedman

    However, his thesis is facile. For one he contradicts himself by saying both that the British thought the Jews had immense power but that they were also politically backward. Which is it?

    Contradictory as this sounds, such confusion about Jews has been the norm in history. Jews were feared as all powerful while seen as good objects for the role of scapegoat due to their weakness. The same people held both views at the same time. It is delusional but people, after all, are not logical.

    As for the supposed history, different people in the UK government saw the Balfour Declaration differently. And, as with all documents, the meaning is not wholly what the actual authors intended. It is what the words mean and how they came to be understood by virtue of the actions of those impacted.

    As for the campaign to malign Israel, as historian Benny Morris has noted, the ground is being well prepared by elites to abandon Israel, just as the world first promoted and then abandoned Czechoslovakia before WWII. As he writes:

    Tyler’s purpose in writing this book was not to offer his readers an honest history, it was to blacken Israel’s image. Fortress Israel is just the latest in a spate of venomous perversions of the record that have appeared in the past few years in the United States and Britain, all clearly designed to subvert Israel’s standing in the world. Deliberately or not, such books and articles are paving the way for a future abandonment of the Jewish state.

    I am reminded of the spate of books and articles that appeared in Western Europe in 1936 through1938 repudiating the legitimacy of the newly formed Czechoslovakia before its sacrifice to the Nazi wolves. In 1934, the Conservative weekly Truth hailed Czechoslovakia as “the sole successful experiment in liberal democracy that has emerged from the post-War settlement.” By the end of 1936, The Observer was writing it off as “a diplomatic creation with no sufficient national basis either in geography or race.” By March 1938 The New Statesman, in the past a great friend to central Europe’s only democracy, was writing: “We should urge the Czechs to cede the German-speaking part of their territory to Hitler without more ado.” Of course, as all understood, this meant leaving Czechoslovakia defenseless. Hitler conquered the rump of the country a few months later without a shot. The appeasement of the Arab-Islamist world at Israel’s expense is in the air and Tyler is one of its (very, very) minor harbingers.

  29. Paul Louis Muslin

    A forerunner to this was held on the 18th May ,2013 at Winchester University.It was entitled;Evaluating the Balfour Declaration:Breaking the Deadlock in the Middle East.It was a one day Conference.The Speakers were Rabbi Professor Dan Cohn-Sherbok,Dr Dawould El-Ami,Rabbi Charles Wallach and John Bond.It was conveniently held on a Shabbat although two of the speakers you will note were Rabbi`s.The agenda as you might expect was the dismantling of the legitimacy of the Balfour declaration and of course all that would follow from that ( the illegitimacy of the State of Israel) Surprise,surprise !Among the audience was guess who? Baroness Jenny Tongue.No need to comment further.Shalom,Paul Muslin