Failure of the Balfour Declaration

For those who do not know, the Balfour Declaration was a note written in 1917 by British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour. It was a short letter explaining his governments position on a Jewish homeland in what was called Palestine. The letter would become know as the Balfour Declaration.

The Balfour Declaration states:

“His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors 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.”

The failure was not the declaration, but lack of action following the official notice.

(source)It is worded to make certain things perfectly clear. Palestine would become the homeland for the Jewish people. And the rights of non-Jewish Arabs, Christian and Muslim alike, would be respected.

There is no mention of an Arab state being created out of Palestine. Only a Jewish state.


Rather than carry through on their word, Britain dragged her feet for decades at the loss of millions of European Jewish lives who could not go to the land as promised.

There was no Jewish state created out of Palestine.

The Holocaust would have been far more limited had that Jewish state been allowed to go forward. Having a nation of their own, as promised by the British Foreign Secretary, would have saved millions of lives.

Rather than face the anti-Semitic Roosevelt Administration, who went out of their way to limit as many Jewish refugees from reaching America as possible, those fleeing for their lives could have gone to Israel.

Even with all the knowledge gained about what was happening under Hitler’s reign leading up to the war and during, Britain refused to budge on giving up Palestine.

It would take the newly created United Nations in 1947, 30 years after Balfour, to force Britain’s hand. But not without putting in place the first two-state solution. That was how Israel and Jordan both came into existence.

The land that today makes up Israel and Jordan was supposed to be the Jewish homeland. Despite the loss of a great deal of land, the Jewish people and Arabs who joined them accepted. The Arab world, including the newly created Jordan, did not. Those Arab Muslims who wrongly call themselves Palestinian today were Jordanians who either left of their own accord or fought against Israel.

The Arab response was to attack the newly formed state of Israel. The Arabs wanted to kill every Jewish person to continue what Hitler started. As well as the Arabs who joined with Israel.

Without any government coming to their aid, Israel fended off the Arabs armies. It should have been an overwhelming and quick defeat. God intervened, since there is no other explanation for Israel surviving.

Despite numerous wars and terrorist attacks by Islamic Arabs, Israel has never forced Israeli Arabs out of the country. They have always held their end of what Balfour called for. They have protected the civil and religious rights of Arab Christians and Muslims, unlike Jordan, who forced out not only the Jewish people who had been living on the eastern side of the Jordan River for thousands of years, but Arab Jordanians as well.

Those who wrongly call themselves Palestinians today are Jordanians who were either forced out or put in Jordanian camps. Israel never committed ethnic cleansing; Jordan did.

The failure of the Balfour Declaration was not the end result of Israel being an independent nation who continues to treat Israeli Arabs as Israelis. No, the fault lies in Britain not carrying it out when they should have.

Bob Ryan is a writer who has an MBA. He is an American Christian Zionist who staunchly supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. He has been a weekly blogger at the Times of Israel since 2019.

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