The Balfour Declaration

The Balfour Declaration

The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Book - 2012
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Winner of the National Jewish Book Award

Issued in London in 1917, the Balfour Declaration was one of the key documents of the twentieth century. It committed Britain to supporting the establishment in Palestine of "a National Home for the Jewish people," and its reverberations continue to be felt to this day. Now the entire fascinating story of the document is revealed in this impressive work of modern history.

With new material retrieved from historical archives, Jonathan Schneer recounts in dramatic detail the public and private fight for a small strip of land in the Middle East, a battle that started when the Ottoman Empire took Germany's side in World War I. The key players in this conflict are rendered in nuanced and detailed relief: Sharif Hussein, the Arab leader who secretly sought British support; Chaim Weizmann, the Zionist folks-mensch who charmed British high society; T. E. Lawrence, the legendary British officer who "set the desert on fire" for the Arabs; and the other generals and prime ministers, soldiers and negotiators, who shed blood and cut deals to grab or give away the precious land.

A book crucial to understanding the Middle East as it is today, The Balfour Declaration is a riveting volume about the ancient faiths and timeless treacheries that continue to drive global events.

Publisher: [Toronto] : Anchor Canada, 2012, c2010
Edition: Anchor Canada edition
ISBN: 9780385662598
Branch Call Number: 956.04 SCH NVD
Characteristics: xxix, 432 p., [8] p. of plates : ill., map, ports. ; 21 cm


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Jan 25, 2016

This is a troubling but important book that gives background as to how the Arab-Israeli conflict began not after WWII but during WWI. Stunning is the duplicity of Britain, France and Russia who secretly (initially) agreed to divide the Arab world into spheres of influence and the rough borders of the countries of the region today - even as Arabs were fighting for independence from Turkey, led by the famous Lawrence of Arabia - while also agreeing to make Palestine a "condominium" under a joint Anglo-French protectorate. Also noteworthy is how the leading proponent of Zionism of the day, Chaim Weizmann, was double-crossed several times before the Balfour Declaration finally took hold. Much of the woes of the Middle East began during that period - not just Israel versus the Arab world, but the ongoing conflict between Arabs themselves and between Arabs and Iranians. Particularly prescient were fears among some Brits as to how a Sunni minority could rule a Shia majority in Iraq - predicting the coming of Saddam Hussein 60 years later. A must read for anyone who wants to understand this intractable region.

debwalker Feb 08, 2011

The British declaration that split historic Palestine between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Jan 18, 2011

An amazing historical account that reads like a thriller rife with duplicity, intrigue, deceit, treachery and deception at the highest political and international levels.

In a nutshell, as part of their efforts to defeat Germany during WW1, the British simultaneously: (1) Agreed that Palestine will be part of Sharif Hussein's Arab Kingdom after the Ottoman Empire's demise; (2) Promised to assist the Zionists to establish a national home for the Jews in Palestine; (3) In a secret treaty with the French, agreed that Palestine would be part of the latter's possessions after the war; and, (4) In secret talks with the Ottomans for a separate peace settlement, agreed that the Ottoman flag would continue to fly over Palestine after the war -- all this without ever once pausing to consider Palestinian aspirations, let alone consult with them. The British had one and ultimate objective: winning the war against Germany, and to that end stopped at nothing.

Abounding with detail and meticulously researched, this book is exquisitely written in a style that brings events to life as if they were unfolding right in front of the reader's eyes. It is objective and non-biased, strictly recounting historical and factual events that surrounded and led to the Balfour Declaration in 1917.

The book is intelligently structured and laid out, making a very complex tangle of events quite understandable and relatively easy to follow and digest.

One doesn't have to be a history buff to thoroughly enjoy it.

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