“One of the most extraordinary moments
in the history of the Jewish peoples.” (Baron Jacob Rothschild)
The 4th Baron Rothschild discusses the importance of the Balfour Declaration for Jewish Zionist aspiration. The Balfour Declaration was a letter from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Walter Rothschild (2nd Baron Rothschild and leader of the British Jewish community), 2 Nov. 1917.
“I saw Balfour on Saturday [mid December 1914] and the interview lasted one and a half hours. Balfour remembered everything we discussed 8 years ago and I gave him a brief summary of what has happened over these years (…) He listened for a long time and was very moved — I assure you, to tears – and he took me by the hand and said that I had illuminated for him the road followed by a great suffering nation [the Jewish nation], and expressed his opinion that the question of Palestine would remain insoluble (…) until there was a normal Jewish community in Palestine. He asked me whether I wanted anything practical at present. I said no, I would like to call on him again (…) when the roar of the guns had stopped. He saw me out into the street, holding my hand in silence, and bidding me farewell said warmly:
‘Mind you come again to see me, I am deeply moved and interested, it is not a dream, it is a great cause and I understand it’.” (Arthur James Balfour, December 1914)
Following 3 years later, the Balfour Declaration:
“His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours 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.” (Arthur James Balfour to Walter Rothschild, The Balfour Declaration Letter, 2 November 1917)
It’s important to the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine, a Zionist state — under British protection. Evangelical Christian beliefs from supporters and lobbyists played a role in this history as well, with the sense of obligation many Christians, especially in the United States feel they have to Jews and the land. The ideology of Jewish nationalism, or its particularistic nationalism of pride of culture and community is a manifestation of Western liberal democratic principles and ideas. However, in practice, those fundamental principles of the state is based on the idea of an exclusive and historic right of the Jewish people’s claim to the land.
There was “a divide in my family,” over the issue.
Jacob Rothschild discusses the importance of his Family to Israel’s creation
Jacob Rothschild touts a two-state solution.