On November 2, 1917, the British government, represented by Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour, declared that they were in favor of “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” This short note would be one of the most controversial documents of its time.
A hundred years after its signing, Bernard Regan recasts the history of the Balfour Declaration as one of the major events in the story of the Middle East. Offering new insights into the imperial rivalries between Britain, Germany and the Ottomans, Regan exposes British policy in the region as part of a larger geopolitical game. Yet, even then, the course of events was not straightforward and Regan charts the debates within the British government and the Zionist movement itself on the future of Palestine.
The book also provides a revealing account of life in Palestinian society at the time, paying particular attention to the responses of Palestinian civil society to the imperial machinations that threatened their way of life. Not just a history of states and policies, Regan manages to brilliantly present both a history of people under colonialism and an account of the colonizers themselves.
“In this major account of the Balfour Declaration, Bernard Regan's timely book sheds light on the most powerful symbol of the official British-Zionist alliance over the last century. It deserves to be widely read by those yearning for truth and reconciliation in the Middle East.”
“This is a meticulously researched account of the background and aftermath of a transaction that launched in 1917 a malignant conflict that has poisoned the Near East and the wider international arena ever since. Bernard Regan places the Balfour Declaration in its proper context … It is compelling essential reading to anyone who wishes to understand the roots of one of our world's most dangerous potential explosion spots.”
“Most have heard of the Balfour Declaration, without fully appreciating its history and consequences. With this meticulous and insightful study, we have a fascinating and timely guide to British colonial policy in Palestine, and its devastating impacts for the Palestinian people to this day”
“An insightful overview of the troubled history...It should become a standard university text for those studying this history”