Delegates to the San Remo Conference of 1920. .
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The Balfour Declaration started off as the brainchild of the British, but it was the Allied powers that gave the pronouncement the lift that it needed to get off the ground, an author of a recent book about the Balfour Declaration said.
“It would not have been possible for the British government to announce the Balfour Declaration without the support of its Allies," Lord Leslie Turnberg from the House of Lords in the UK said at a commemoration event for the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration at the European Parliament this week, the same day that US President Donald Trump made his announcement regarding the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
"It was the endorsement of the French, the Italians, the Russians and the Americans that allowed them to proceed. Even the Pope gave verbal support and, at least initially, so did the Grand Sharif Hussein and his son Prince Faisal in Mecca," Turnberg, the author of "Beyond the Balfour Declaration: The 100-Year Quest for Israeli-Palestinian Peace." But he went on to explain that it was in San Remo, in 1920, and at the League of Nations, in 1922, that the internationally agreed legal basis of a home for the Jewish people in Palestine was established. It was here that the Balfour Declaration was converted from a simple, non-legal, expression of support – a "view with favour" - into the legal foundation for the Jewish state.Andrew Tucker, legal counsel for the European Coalition for Israel, a pro-Israel Christian group that co-hosted the event along with the European Christian Political Movement, pointed out that the Balfour Declaration is extremely important because it laid the basis for the creation of the State of Israel thirty years later in 1948.
“The State of Israel is remarkable for a number of reasons," he said. "Firstly, it is a Jewish state, which means it is the expression of the right of the Jewish people to self-determination. Secondly, it is a democratic state, which means it seeks to protect the civil and religious rights of all of its citizens - Jews, and non-Jews - just as was envisaged in the Balfour Declaration.
"Thirdly, it has sought to remain a democracy built on the rule of law, despite the fact it has to fight daily for its survival against the threat of terrorism. And despite those threats, it has managed to become one of the most successful nations on earth.”
The second part of the conference dealt with Israeli innovation in technology. Israeli Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan urged the EU-member states to enhance their cooperation with Israel in every field, from fighting terrorism to developing hi-tech products.
“European countries must stop funding NGOs promoting BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions], he said. "The anti-Israel BDS campaign is illegitimate and immoral, and any form of European support for it undermines the chances for peace." ECI Brussels Representative and conference co-host Ruth Daskalopoulou-Isaac thanked the participants and speakers and summarized the event by declaring that “from Zion shall go forth new technology which will benefit the whole world!”
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