The Balfour Declaration: From Imagining a State to Re-imagining Majority-Minority Relations in Jewish Thought and the Jewish State

By Ophir Yarden, ADAShA program director

Read the full article at Academia.edu
To the full book: Religious Imaginations: How Narratives of Faith are Shaping Today’s World, James Walters (ed.), 2018

 

In exploring the international status of the Balfour Declaration at the time of its promulgation, this essay demonstrates that it represented the global consensus circa 1917.  France, the U.S., Italy, Japan, Greece, Serbia, China, and Siam all concurred and supported the idea of “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”  Additionally, the idea was recognized at the San Remo conference of 1920.

The essay follows the evolution of Balfour Declaration text, examining pressures and considerations exerted regarding its potential influence on the future status of (1) Jews living outside the Jewish national home; and (2) Non-Jewish minorities living in what would become the Jewish state.  These concerns yielded the declaration’s two caveats that sought to insure 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 author then considers the realities of these caveats’ implementation, giving examples of Jewish communities outside Israel which were compromised (particularly, but not only, in the Arab world).

Finally, the essay explores the status of Arab citizens in the State of Israel in light of traditional Jewish teaching regarding majority-minority relations and against the background of the Jewish minority experience, and concludes that the State of Israel has been deficient in fulfilling the obligations imposed upon it by the Balfour Declaration’s second caveat.

Rossing Center logo

Other news and updates

Rossing Center logo
  • All
  • Annual Reports
  • News and Updates
  • Public events
  • Webinars
Fundraising campaign
Partnership is Power – Fundraising Campaign

Today there are many forces working to make the place where we live less democratic, less inclusive and accepting, who believe in a world based on hatred, separation and ethnic, national and religious discrimination.

We say no.

No to the prevailing cycle of hatred and fear, no to prejudice and discrimination.

Instead we say yes.

Yes to mutual respect and shared society. Yes to creating the desire and the capacity to live together. Yes to a future of equality and inclusion.

We need you because partnership is power!

Students singing together
From Separation to Inclusion – The Rossing Report July 2022

As a parent who raised three children in Jerusalem, I insisted that they engage in some type of interreligious or Israeli-Palestinian dialogue initiative before they graduated from High School. Had I not placed such a condition, my children would have had no contact with the ‘other’ before starting their adult lives.

Webinar invitation
Challenges in Peacebuilding after May 2021

How have the events of May 2021 affected peacebuilding efforts? How has the field coped with those challenges? What can we learn from these events to work more strategically and more successfully? Are there new opportunities which have arisen?

Children
Seeing Eye to Eye

1200 Jewish, Muslim and Christian students from 38 schools in Israel gathered at the Sabach el-Shir (Morning Song) Event, to celebrate 16 years of the “Dialogue and Identity” project and to sing “Seeing Eye to Eye” written in Hebrew and Arabic for the occasion.

Annual Report
The Rossing Center 2021 Annual Report

If you want to see what we’ve been up to this last year, click here for the PDF version

Presentation
The Power of Stories in Interreligious Dialogue and Peacebuilding – The Rossing Report April 2022

As we spend time with our families during Ramadan, Passover and Easter, stories will be shared between us. We often forget about the power of a story and how it shapes who we are – a lesson that was the focus for one of our groups over the past few months. Within the walls of an old house in Ramle, eleven students sat down together to start a conversation.

Scroll to Top