News Release

Jews’ Loyalty to Israel: Trump’s Echo of Balfour Declaration

ABBA SOLOMON, [in NYC beginning Sept. 10] abbasolomon at gmail.com, @Abba_A_Solomon
Solomon is author of The Speech, and Its Context: Jacob Blaustein’s Speech “The Meaning of Palestine Partition to American Jews.”

Solomon just wrote the piece “Jews — ’Aliens and Foreigners’ Outside Palestine” for the LA Progressive: “President Trump’s current fixation on American Jews’ duty of ‘loyalty’ to Israel is not an oddity out of the blue. It is inherent in the Zionist achievement of recognition of Jews as a nationality. Until now American Jews have indulged in a rather charmed existence, able to both boost our ‘home country,’ the State of Israel, and proclaim our Americanness.

“In August 1917, Lord Edwin S. Montagu, Secretary of State for India, wrote a provocative memorandum to the British Cabinet, warning, as the only Jew in cabinet, of ‘the Anti-Semitism of the Present Government’ that had just committed the UK to a Jewish ‘national home’ in Palestine.

“Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour had written a statement, the ‘Balfour Declaration‘ [publicly released in Nov. 2, 1917] that

“‘His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors 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.’

“Montagu wrote the ‘declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet’ would damage the status of Jews in Britain and every other land outside of Palestine.

“He said the British assignment of Palestine as a Jewish homeland was a ‘conclusion which makes aliens and foreigners by implication, if not at once by law, of all their Jewish fellow-citizens.’

“Montagu warned that after the declaration of a ‘Jewish national home,’

“‘…the Jew will have the choice, whatever country he belongs to, whatever country he loves, whatever country he regards himself as an integral part of, between going to live with people who are foreigners to him, but to whom his Christian fellow-countrymen have told him he shall belong, and of remaining as an unwelcome guest in the country that he thought he belonged to.’

“Montagu also noted the unfairness to non-Jews in Palestine of the plan:

“‘It is quite true that Palestine plays a large part in Jewish history, but so it does in modern Mahommendan history, and, after the time of the Jews, surely it plays a larger part than any other country in Christian history. …’

“For some American Jews, anti-Zionism has been motivated by recognition of damage to the rights of Palestinians. The place of Jews in America is finally being impacted by the question of whether the State of Israel, the ‘Jewish state,’ is in any sense our country.

“The bell that Donald Trump has rung cannot be unrung. And we should not wish it to be.”