Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Corbyn’s Balfour Boycott Amounts to Statement of Justice for Palestine among UK Political Elite

Reports said UK Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn move to decline an invitation for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, amounts to a statement of justice for Palestinians among UK’s political elite.

The Balfour Declaration, signed on 2 November 1917, may have only been less than 130 words, but has changed the course of Palestinians ever since. The declaration had offered a “home for the Jewish people” in what was then the entirety of historical Palestine, New Arab reported. 

A century later, the descendents of the Palestinians forced out of their homeland before and during the build-up of the state of Israel have still not been able to return to their homes Around 2 million Palestinians besieged in Gaza. Meanwhile Israeli settlements and a policy of apartheid have drained the life out of the West Bank.

For Palestinians, Corbyn’s boycott shows that not everybody in the UK political establishment is proud of the historical Balfour document, which has affected the lives of so many Palestinians to this day. 

Corbyn is no stranger to Palestine. A huge part of his grassroots activism revolved around the issue of Palestine and the Israeli occupation. 

Even since he became leader of the opposition in 2015, the Labour manifesto has promised the “immediate recognition” of the state of Palestine should his party govern the UK. 
His decision to decline the Balfour invitation has undoubtedly sparked controversy. Jonathan Goldstein, chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council, described Corbyn’s action as “deeply unfortunate”. 

In contrary, for the Palestinian diaspora in the UK, this means more than a symbolic form of solidarity or a political statement. 

The fact that Corbyn has mirrored the views of a great portion of UK public opinion adheres to in the current political position he is in has expanded the debate in more elitist paradigms of British politics and society.

4 comments:

Ralph Musgrave said...

Why did so many Jews leave what was Palestine and is now Isreal over the last 2,000 years? Dispersal by the Romans, or was the dispersal mainly voluntary?

Matt Franko said...

Prophesies say it was to be a forced dispersal Ralph... here is words of the Lord from Luke 21:

24 "And they shall be falling by the edge of the sword and shall be led into captivity into all nations. And Jerusalem shall be trodden by the nations, until the eras of the nations may be fulfilled.“

And there is more in the prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures...

We’re still in the eras of the nations... “nations” (ethnicin) often translated improperly as “gentiles”...

We of the nations still have more to do until we reach our fulfillment the way it reads to me...

Pearce Tournier said...


The Jewish state came to an end in 70 AD, when the Romans begin to actively drive Jews from Judea. But the Jewish Diaspora ("diaspora" ="dispersion, scattering") had begun long before. When the Assyrians conquered Israel in 722, the Hebrew inhabitants were scattered all over the Middle East. When Nebuchadnezzar deported the Judaeans in 597 and 586 BC, he allowed them to remain in a unified community in Babylon. Another group of Judaeans fled to Egypt, where they settled in the Nile delta. So from 597 onwards, there were three distinct groups of Hebrews: a group in Babylon and other parts of the Middle East, a group in Judaea, and another group in Egypt. Thus, 597 is considered the beginning date of the Jewish Diaspora. While Cyrus the Persian allowed the Judaeans to return to their homeland in 538 BC, most chose to remain in Babylon. A large number of Jews in Egypt became mercenaries in Upper Egypt on an island called the Elephantine. All of these Jews retained their religion, identity, and social customs; both under the Persians and the Greeks, they were allowed to run their lives under their own laws. Some converted to other religions; still others combined the Yahweh cult with local cults; but the majority clung to the Hebraic religion and its core document, the Torah.

In 63 BC, Judaea became a protectorate of Rome. Coming under the administration of a governor, Judaea was allowed a king; the governor's business was to regulate trade and maximize tax revenue. Even with a Jewish king, the Judaeans revolted in 70 AD, unsuccessfully. The revolt ended in 73 AD with teh capitulation of Masada. After that the Romans destroyed much of Jerusalem, annexed Judaea as a Roman province, and systematically drove many Jews from Palestine. After 73 AD, Hebrew history would is largely history of the Diaspora as the Jews and their world view spread over Africa, Asia, and Europe.

According to Steven Runciman in Byzantine Civilization, the Jews were expelled from the Byzantine Empire during the reign of Romanus 1 (919-944), but were later readmitted. To use the words of Gibbon, the history of the Jews in the Byzantine Empire was also a "tedious and universal tale" of misery and persecution, even though, Runciman adds, "it is noticeable that the persecutors were the lay powers, not the [orthodox?] Church."

Matt Franko said...

Whole history seems to indicate a forced dispersal to answer Ralph’s question...