Balfour’s declaration

17 November 2017

November 16th, 1917.

MR BALFOUR has addressed an important letter to Lord Rothschild, in which he announces that the Government views 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 purpose. In obtaining this definite pledge, the Zionist Federation has achieved a notable success. But its fulfilment, we take leave to point out, will be largely dependent upon the temper of Zionists themselves; Palestine may mean much to the Jew, as the land whence he has been driven out, but it means infinitely more to the Christian, as the Holy Land, the setting of that Life in which he reposes all his hopes. The settlement of the Jews in Palestine on any large scale and with any powers of self-government is really contingent not upon the favour of this or that national government, but upon the goodwill of Christians throughout the world, which the more extravagant among the Zionists have already done much to alienate, talking quite openly of the time when — firmly established in Palestine — they shall be able to expel the Christians. The Government is not unaware of this, and Mr Balfour says plainly that the fulfilment of the pledge is conditional upon nothing being done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine. It must be made an absolute condition, we affirm, that the Holy Places shall be in Christian hands, and the right of free access to them fully guaranteed. The Zionist Federation is not in a position to dictate terms. It is a movement of quite modern, though of rapid growth, and even now does not command the support of an undivided Jewry.

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