The Balfour Declaration, 1917 – 2017: The letter that changed the World

Today, November 2nd 2017, marks 100 years since the Balfour Declaration. This 67 word letter changed the course of modern British history, and consequently the world.

100 years to date, Sir Arthur Balfour, the then foreign secretary, signed a letter promising Palestine to the Zionist federation. This unprecedented declaration initiated the Zionist-led movement toward the creation of the State of Israel.

Both the conception and implementation of this decree remains contested. Those in the social, political, economic and academic domains hold polarised perceptions of this British colonial legacy.

On a global scale, media outlets have followed suit through inversely expressing either their concern or the celebration of this declaration.

BBC has featured reports on diverse strands of the spectrum:

“Israel and Jewish communities view the pledge as momentous, while Palestinians regard it as a historical injustice. The UK has rejected calls to apologise anhas said it is proud of its role.”

Al Jazeera shifts focus to the British colonial legacy, highlighting the commonalities between the Palestine-Israel dispute, current civil unrest in Kashmir and humanitarian crisis in Myanmar. Author Salma Yaqoub calls for the UK to take this opportunity for reflection, learning and action.

The Telegraph exhibits the intensification of this polarisation, with London hosting galas, yet Jerusalem experiencing protests.

Robert Fisk takes to the Independent to pen his belief that an apology from the UK is necessary, as well as the need for the UK to take responsibility for the Palestinian refugee crisis.

The Guardian exhibits an article by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas , contending that 100 years of Balfour, or as he states, “100 years of suffering” requires humility, rather than celebration.

The varied and contrasting perceptions amount either to the celebration or condemnation of the Balfour Declaration. The articles linked above are simply a diverse array of opinions expressed by mainstream media outlets.


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