Current Lord Balfour heartily endorses 1917 declaration
search

Current Lord Balfour heartily endorses 1917 declaration

Roderick Balfour sends letter to Limmud conference expressing pride in great-great-uncle’s famous letter supporting Jewish statehood

Lord Arthur Balfour and the Balfour Declaration (Wikimedia commons)
Lord Arthur Balfour and the Balfour Declaration (Wikimedia commons)

Marking the centenary of the Balfour declaration, which laid the foundations for the State of Israel, the current Lord Balfour has expressed pride in his family’s assistance to the Jewish people.

Roderick Balfour had never before made a public statement about the famous declaration.

In a letter read aloud to Jewish leaders at the Limmud FSU regional conference in Britain, he wrote of the importance of the State of Israel as a refuge for persecuted Jews and described the declaration as “first and foremost a humanitarian act.”

“My family is very proud of the importance to Jewish people everywhere of this initiative by the British government of the day,” he wrote. “The relevance to you all here today is that the imperative for it stemmed from the appalling Russian pogroms at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Thus, and this is what we are most proud of, the declaration was first and foremost a humanitarian act trying to repatriate a talented but much-persecuted people to the land of the original Judaic roots.”

Roderick Balfour (Courtesy)
Roderick Balfour (Courtesy)

On November 2, 1917, the UK foreign secretary, Lord Arthur Balfour, sent a letter to the leader of the British Jewish community, Lord Walter Rothschild, in which he stated his government’s support for a Jewish state in the area then known as Palestine.

“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,” he wrote, “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.”

Roderick Balfour, the 5th earl of Balfour, is the great-grandson of Arthur’s brother Gerald William Balfour. Arthur never married and died childless.

Balfour, who is also 5th Viscount Traprain, of Whittingehame, East Lothian, received both titles from his father in 2003. He does not sit in the UK parliament’s House of Lords but is a financial director who worked most recently as director of the Rothschild Trust Corporation.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more:
comments