Historical Documents

The 1929 Palestine Riots – A Conflicted Jewish Historiography by William M Mathew

Mathew compares the work of two Jewish historians on the long-term effects of the inter-communal violence and harsh response by British forces which rocked Palestine in 1929. Where their accounts overlap Mathew explores their markedly different approaches.Violence in Palestine in … Read more here 

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Book Review: Part II The 1929 Palestine Riots – A Conflicted Jewish Historiography by William M Mathew

IV: Commissions & Reports; White Paper & Letter These, 1929-31 – from Shaw and Hope Simpson to Passfield and MacDonald – have been cited in the opening paragraph above. Hillel Cohen`s approach is merely to list them, largely without comment. … Read more here 

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Unfinished business? Seeking peace through the door of justice in the Holy Land

Read the article by The Very Revd Nicholas Frayling, Dean Emeritus of Chichester,  on Unfinished Business  in the Pax Christi newsletter of June – July  2017

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Peel Commission

The Peel Commission published its Palestine Royal Commission-Peel Commission report in July 1937. The report admitted that the mandate was unworkable because Jewish and Arab objectives in Palestine were incompatible, and it proposed that Palestine be partitioned into three zones: … Read more here 

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Woodhead Commission

The commission, led by Sir John Woodhead, was formed in March 1938 in response to dissension within the British government over the July 1937 Peel partition plan for Palestine and the re-ignition of the Arab revolt that had followed its … Read more here 

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The reversal of the Passfield White Paper, 1930-31 : a reassessment.

Beckerman-Boys, Carly (2016) ‘The reversal of the Passfield White Paper, 1930-31 : a reassessment.’, Journal of contemporary history., 51 (2). pp. 213-233. Abstract British mandated Palestine has attracted scholarly attention for its role in the development of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. … Read more here 

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The Balfour Declaration

It is no exaggeration that the history of Israel/Palestine for the last hundred years has turned on the seminal Balfour Declaration of November 1917. Loved and loathed in equal measure, this was the letter that changed the future. The following extract … Read more here 

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Reclaiming the lost Jewish voices of the Balfour Declaration, by Robert Cohen

This article was part of Robert Cohen’s talk  at the Balfour Project conference,’How will we mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration’ in Southwark Cathedral on November 5th 2016:   A leading British Rabbi has written: “Zionism and Zionistic activities not … Read more here 

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Palestine and Britain 1917-1948: Competing Policies, Creative Commemoration

This talk was given at  the Balfour Project  conference in Southwark Cathedral  on 5th November 2016  entitled: ‘How will we mark the Centenary of the Balfour Declaration’ By Dr Peter Shambrook Context: it is only in the context of the … Read more here 

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Book Review: Balfour, Weizmann and the Creation of Israel by Charles Glass

Charles Glass, writing in the London Review of Books in 2001, reviewed two books looking at the period of the British Mandate in Palestine. It was also published in the Guardian under the tile: The Mandate Years; colonialism and the … Read more here 

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‘Britain in Palestine’ shown in UK Parliament

Parliamentarians from all four of Britain’s main political parties sponsored a showing of ‘Britain in Palestine, 1917-1948’ in The Attlee Suite – one of the main conference suites in the British Parliament. The audience of 130 watched the documentary, which … Read more here 

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McMahon, Sykes, Balfour: Contradictions and Concealments in British Palestine Policy 1915-1917

by WILLIAM M. MATHEW Lecture given to the History Group of The Norfolk Club, 14 April 2016 to mark the centenary of the Sykes-Picot Agreement 1916 Abstract These three war-time initiatives are presented as part of a compressed, uncoordinated, two-year … Read more here 

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J.M.N. Jeffries` Palestine Deception: Modern Resonances

In a recent review article (New Middle Eastern Studies 5 [2015]) on , The Palestine Deception, 1915-1923: The McMahon-Hussein Correspondence, the Balfour Declaration, and the Jewish National Home. ed William Mathew Dr. Nadia Naser-Najjab of the Institute of Arab and … Read more here 

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Britain made the mess and should help sort it out

Scores of people squeezed into Sarum College, Salisbury, to hear from experts on the Balfour Declaration of 1917 which gave British support to a home for Jews in historical Palestine. The Very Reverend Nicholas Frayling said the declaration was the … Read more here 

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Britain and Palestine: past history & future role

Held at St Chad’s College Durham 31st October 2015 Summary Report Seventy people from places as far apart as Omagh, Norwich, Somerset, Inverness, Salisbury and Edinburgh, spent Saturday 31st October in Durham reflecting on Britain’s responsibilities, past and present, for … Read more here 

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Balfour 1922-23: Fragile commitment and Zionist Response

By Dr William M Mathew Paper given at Balfour Project Annual Conference St. Chad`s College, University of Durham, 31 October 2015 In the limited time available I should like to make three basic points around this specific issue of fragility … Read more here 

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The McMahon-Hussein Correspondence revisited. A lapse into clarity.

By Dr Peter Shambrook Paper given at the Balfour Project conference, Britain and Palestine: past history & future role, Durham, Oct 31st 2015 Abstract The origins of the McMahon-Hussein Correspondence – and the subsequent official interpretations, and the controversies surrounding … Read more here 

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The Companion Guide to our film ‘Britain in Palestine 1917-1948’

The Companion Guide has been professionally written for us, and gives fascinating background to the history introduced in the film. To give you an idea of what is in it  see the section on the Balfour Declaration. It has 83 … Read more here 

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Film of Britain in Palestine, 1917-1948

With Arabic and Hebrew subtitles The Balfour Project is pleased to announce the release of the film ‘Britain in Palestine 1917-1948’ Telling the story of 30 complex years in less than 20 minutes is a challenge, and so the narrative … Read more here 

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Rescuing Balfour: Winston Churchill at the Colonial Office 1921-22, By William Mathew

                    Given the sheer improbability of the Balfour Declaration, its source in temporary war-time contingencies, its activation of inter-communal conflict in Palestine, and its exposure to increasing opposition both at home and in the Levant, the 1917 War Cabinet pledge … Read more here 

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The Balfour Project comes to the Scottish Parliament

By Claudia Beamish MSP Posted on February 11, 2015 by Claudia The Scottish Parliament recently played host to an exhibit from the Balfour Project on British historic involvement in Palestine. The Project seeks to raise awareness of the Balfour Declaration, an agreement made … Read more here 

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Christian Zionism’s flawed vision of Israel, by Rabbi Dow Marmur

My dictionary defines Zionism as “a movement for the re-establishment of a Jewish national homeland and state in Palestine.” This was realized in May 1948 when the State of Israel was established. Many Jews are Zionists and committed to the … Read more here 

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The McMahon promise to Hussein

By Roger Spooner In 1915 Sir Henry McMahon, British High Commissioner in Egypt, offered Sherif Hussein of Mecca an independent Arab state if he would help the British fight against the Ottoman Turks. Hussein’s interest in throwing off his Turkish … Read more here 

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Struggling to Maintain the Mandate’s Iron Cage, 1930 – 1947 by Peter Shambrook

Peter A. Shambrook presents the history of the British Mandate for Palestine in the period 1930-1947, highlighting its very negative outcomes for the Palestinian population. In doing so, Shambrook calls for Britain to accept responsibility for its past wrongdoings as … Read more here 

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Dec 11th 1917, General Allenby shows how a ‘moral man’ conquers Jerusalem

On this day he entered Jerusalem, modestly on foot, two days after the Turks surrendered it, after several attempts. By David B. Green | Dec. 11, 2014 | 3:46 AM  from Haaretz In December 11, 1917, General Edmund Allenby, commander … Read more here 

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British policy and Arab Displacement in Palestine, 1915-23: Contingency. Imperialism and Double-Dealing

            By  William M. Mathew, Senior Fellow in History, University of East Anglia Lecture given as part of the Contemporary Middle East Lecture Programme,               School of Oriental and African Studies, 28 October 2014                                                      I I should begin by … Read more here 

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The Balfour Declaration and UK recognition of the Palestinian State….

On Oct 13th 2014 British MPs voted in favour of recognising Palestine as a state alongside Israel. The House of Commons backed the move “as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution” The full motion stated: “That this House … Read more here 

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Sir Harold Nicholson and the Balfour Declaration

From Nick St Aubyn Dunsfold, Surrey Daily Telegraph 13th Oct 2014 SIR – In 1917 my great-uncle, Sir Harold Nicolson, was a private secretary to the foreign secretary at the time of his Balfour Declaration. Nicolson, who was involved in … Read more here 

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Joseph Jeffries and the ‘Palestine Deception’, 1923, by William Mathew

In 2015, historian William Mathew published a book consisting of a series of articles from the Daily Mail of 1923. These presented a hitherto uninformed British readership  with details of official promises made to the Arabs in 1915-16 of post-war … Read more here 

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Perfidious Albion: Britain’s broken promises: the Balfour Declaration (1917) and its impact on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict: what are our responsibilities today?

This lecture was given by Professor Mary Grey in the URC Church, Crondall, Northumberland for their Peace and Reconciliation centre, 5th September 2014 Here in Northumberland, it is impossible to forget the bloodshed of the Battle of Flodden in 1513, … Read more here 

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The Balfour Declaration – Key players and events by Mary Grey

Introduction – what motivated the Balfour Declaration?  (Powerpoint of Key Players) There is still conflict as to which motive for the Balfour Declaration is stronger – there are at least three motives, and some may interlock: 1. According to Avi … Read more here 

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War cabinet minutes leading to the Balfour Declaration, 1917

On November 9th 1917 the Times published the minutes of the 4 War Cabinet meetings  where, what became known as the Balfour Declaration, was discussed. They had before them the document produced by the Zionist Organisation on July 18th 1917 … Read more here 

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French support for the Zionist cause in 1917

On the 4th June 1917 Jules Cambon,  wrote to Nahum Sokolow expressing French support for his project which aimed for ‘Jewish Colonisation in Palestine’ This preceded war cabinet discussions in London which did not start until July 1917     … Read more here 

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Contradictory Promises, by Peter A Shambrook

The seeds of 100 years of conflict Britain, the Arabs and the Jews, 1914 – 1918 2014 – 2018: Britain’s opportunity to acknowledge. In 2014, the centenary of the Great War will be marked in a variety of ways right … Read more here 

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“Perfidious Albion” The British Legacy in Palestine, by Ilan Pappe

Professor Ilan Pappé’s  paper at the Balfour Project conference in October 2013, was entitled “Perfidious Albion” The British Legacy in Palestine. Many participants thought it was very inspiring.  He revealed that British involvement in the Middle East and Palestine specifically … Read more here 

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As the Arabs see the Jews, by His Majesty King Abdullah

The American Magazine November, 1947 Summary This appeal to the American people, written by King Abdullah, son of Sharif Hussein and grandfather of the current King of Jordan, appeared in the United States six months before the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. … Read more here 

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Thought WWI was history? In the Middle East, think again

By Lindsey Hilsum Europeans may think WWI is history, but people in the Arab world are still living with the fury and violence the conflict caused. After the jihadi group, Isis, seized the Iraqi city of Mosul in June, they … Read more here 

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Britain’s legacy to the tortured Ottoman Empire

Selfish imperial agreements between Britain and France, combined with the publication of the contradictory Balfour Declaration of 1917, fuelled hostilities in the Middle East This article appeared in The Sunday Telegraph on 2 February 2013 Bad times ahead: Sir Edmund … Read more here 

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Setting the Desert on Fire. Book Review

James Barr, Setting the Desert on Fire: T.E.Lawrence and Britain’s’  Secret  War in Arabia, (London: Bloomsbury 2006) This book does not fit easily into any one category: it is dramatic, a thrilling account of the last struggles of the Ottoman … Read more here 

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Contradictory Promises

See also Contradictory Promises by Dr Peter Shambrook where these promises are explored in more detail. 1915  The McMahon-Hussein Correspondence, • In 1915 Britain promised the Arabs that after the war they would be granted independence in their lands, in … Read more here 

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Britain’s Secret Re-Assessment of the Balfour Declaration. The Perfidy of Albion, by John Quigley

John Quigley* President’s Club Professor in Law, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, United States of America From the Journal of the History of International Law Revue d’histoire du droit international Volume 13, Number 2, 2011 … Read more here 

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Powerful symbols and the British-Zionist alliance: approaching the centenary of the Balfour Declaration by Nur Masalha

  Masalha writes that as the centenary of the Balfour Declaration approaches it is timely for a reassessment of the impact of the statement and British policies towards Palestine and its indigenous people. The Declaration is commonly attributed incorrectly to … Read more here 

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Recommendations of the King Crane Commission

Below is a part of a preface to the publication of the King-Crane Commission Report, published in Editor & Publisher, V.55, No. 27, 2nd Section, December 2, 1922. This is followed by their recommendations on Syria and  particularly Zionism. The … Read more here 

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Wartime contingency and the Balfour Declaration of 1917 William Mathew: an Improbable Regression

Review by Mary Grey Although for many Jews this Declaration represented a dramatic re-entry of Jews into history, this article argues that it was more a regression than an advance. True, the  Balfour Declaration promised to protect the  civil and … Read more here 

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The Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate, 1917–1923: British Imperialist Imperatives

By William M. Mathew ABSTRACT The article sets the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the final confirmation of Britain’s Palestine Mandate in 1923 within the context of national imperial concerns: in particular, anxieties over the security of the Suez Canal … Read more here 

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Evaluating the Balfour Declaration: Breaking the Deadlock in the Middle East

A one day conference exploring the different legacies of the Balfour Declaration and how a greater understanding of history can contribute to justice and peace in the Middle East today was held in Winchester University on May 18th 2013. Over … Read more here 

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Balfour and Palestine, a legacy of deceit, by Anthony Nutting

Anthony Nutting resigned  from Anthony Eden’s givernment when he found Eden was going into Suez. Writing around 1975, he reflects on Doreen Ingram’s book “The Palestine Papers: 1917-1922: Seeds of Conflict”. The papers in this book made clear that during … Read more here 

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‘Perfidious Albion? The British Legacy in Palestine’ – Prof. Ilan Pappe

Prof Ilan Pappe spoke at the Kenyon Institute in Jerusalem  17th September 2012 on the topic ‘Perfidious Albion? The British Legacy in Palestine’ .

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Britain’s betrayal of the sacred trust in Palestine, Prof John Dugard

Extracts from a talk given by Professor John Dugard,  at the Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine fringe meeting during the party’s annual conference in Brighton in September 2012. Let me now turn to Britain’s sacred trust British policy towards Palestine … Read more here 

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Biography: Arthur Balfour by Brian Klug

From Brian Klug, Being Jewish and Doing Justice: Bringing Argument to Life London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2011, pp. 199-210 There appears to be a conundrum about Arthur Balfour.1 On the one hand, his name is inseparable from the Declaration he signed … Read more here 

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