November 2, 1917
106th Anniversary of Balfour Declaration
End the Zionist Occupation of Palestinian Lands! Condemn and Stop the Genocide! Demand the Implementation of Palestinians’ Right of Return!
November 2 marks the 106th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, a 1917 letter sent by the British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to a prominent British Zionist leader promising land in Palestine for foreign settlement.
This criminal act of the British Empire to “give” the land of another people usurped during the First World War for colonial settlement created the conditions for countless atrocities against the Palestinians, as well as the subsequent proclamation of a Zionist state and the ongoing genocide and seizure of Palestinian land.
In considering the crime the British committed, it is important to keep in mind the aims of the British Empire at the time and its geopolitical strategy. British Prime Minister Lloyd George and his Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill informed the head of the Zionist Federation, Chaim Weizmann, in 1921 “that by the Declaration they had always meant an eventual state.” To ensure the Zionist minority had the upper hand on behalf of British interests, Lloyd George told Churchill: “You mustn’t give representative government to Palestine.” Researcher Nu’man Abd al-Wahid noted: “The newly European Jewish settlers were to be the Praetorian Guard of Egypt and specifically of the Suez Canal. As such, in the words of Winston Churchill, European Jews would then ‘be especially in harmony with the truest interests of the British Empire’ rather than ‘unassimilated sojourners in every land.'”
It is important to keep in mind the role played by successive Canadian governments in empire-building, the Zionist Project and its wanton aggression and pre-emptive wars. In World War I, the Borden government at the request of Lloyd George facilitated the recruitment in Ontario by David Ben-Gurion for the “Jewish Legion,” which marched into Jerusalem with General Lord Edmund Allenby’s British Egyptian Expeditionary Force just five weeks later on December 9, 1917. Allenby is said to have taken a stroll in the old walled city and declared, “Today the Crusades have come to an end.”
In 1947-48 the participation of Lester Pearson in the legalization of the occupation of Historic Palestine at the United Nations earned him the ignominious title of “the Canadian Balfour.” His role during the 1956 Tripartite invasion of Egypt and the occupation of the Suez Canal earned him a prize for “peacekeeping.” Further, on May 18, 1948, the Canadian cabinet decided that the question of applying the Foreign Enlistment Act to Palestine should be deferred so as to facilitate the military recruitment of Canadian nationals in the Haganah to suppress the Palestinians.
The Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization that existed from 1920 to 1948 in the British Mandate of Palestine. It would go on to become the core of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). It was said to be founded on the basis of self-defence, because the British could not be relied on to ensure the security of the Jewish population. In practice, it was part of the Zionist apparatus in Palestine, cooperating with the British when it served Zionist aims. While it began as an underground organization, it expanded to encompass nearly all the youth and adults in the settlements, as well as several thousand members from each of the cities.
During 1936-1939, while Palestinians rose up to reject the British Mandate, the Haganah developed from a militia into a military body. The British administration did not officially recognize the organization, but in practice the British Security Forces cooperated with it by establishing civilian militia as part of putting down the Arab Revolt.
The Haganah functioned not only in Palestine, it had branches in other parts of the world, including the United States, Poland, Germany, Italy, France, and Morocco. It carried out arms deals to bring in weapons from the United States, Western Europe, and Czechoslovakia, and carried out its own arms production.
In the spring of 1947, future Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion began to direct the general policy of the Haganah. Following the Nakba, in which Zionist Israel was founded by the dispossession of the Palestinian people, on May 26, 1948, the Provisional Government of Israel decided to transform the Haganah into the regular army of the State, to be called “Zeva Haganah Le-Yisrael” – the Israel Defence Forces.
On the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration which the state of Israel claims as “independence day,” the government of Canada issues statements which shield Israel and its settler colonial apparatus, apartheid and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, while granting it legitimacy. This is particularly unacceptable on the 106th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration as the entire world witnesses Israel commit terrible crimes against the Palestinian people, slaughtering them en masse in the name of high ideals. Any support for Israel by conciliating with its claims to be defending high ideals is unacceptable. Any claims that the government wants to provide humanitarian aide while it gives Israel the green light to carry out its slaughter is unacceptable. The stands of the government of Canada help those who allow Israel to act with impunity and encourages it to continue to deny the Palestinian people their fundamental rights of self-determination and return to their Indigenous homes from which they, or their ancestors, were uprooted in 1948.
The catastrophe of the Arab Palestinian people in 1948 continues at the hands of Israel, using the same old policies and laws established by the British such as land confiscation laws, home demolitions, ‘administrative’ detention, deportations, violent repression, and the continuation of the expulsion of about 7.9 million Palestinians who are denied their basic national and human rights, especially their right of return and to live normally in their homeland. It is actively aided and abetted by the United States, Canada, Britain and other big powers of old Europe. This catastrophe of the Palestinian people could not continue without the support of Israel by the United States, Britain and countries like Canada.
The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) condemns the infamous act known as the Balfour Declaration and the ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people.
1.”The Empire’s Balfour Declaration and the Suez Canal,” Nu’man Abd al-Wahi, Churchill’s Karma, December 20, 2012.