Last updated on: 5/15/2008 1:03:00 PM PST

Did the British Have the Right to Promise "the Establishment of a National Home for the Jewish People" in Palestine?

PRO (yes)

Douglas J. Feith, JD, Middle East specialist on the White House National Security Council staff during the Reagan administration, in a Fall 1993 National Interest article titled "A Mandate for Israel," wrote:

"Traditional international law would have supported the Allies' right, as victors, to dispose of Palestine as they saw fit. It is noteworthy, however, that Britain and the League took pains to ensure that their 'legislative' decision in favor of the Jewish national home was associated harmoniously with the Jews' claims of historical ties to the Land of Israel. They wanted to make clear that the new positive law on Palestine had a definite moral and historical foundation."

Fall 1993 - Douglas J. Feith, JD 

The Esco Foundation for Palestine, in its 1947 study titled "Palestine: A Study of Jewish, Arab, and British Policies Vol. 2," wrote:

"It was not, obviously, an arbitrary act when the League of Nations with the concurrence of fifty-two of the leading nations of the world and with the formal approval of the United States recognized the Jewish claim to establish a national home in Palestine [the Balfour Declaration]. It is not the single fact that the Jews once occupied Palestine, but a whole complex of facts that makes the Jewish claim acceptable to the international conscience."

1947 - Esco Foundation for Palestine 

Alan Dershowitz, LLB, Harvard Law Professor, in his 2003 book titled The Case for Israel, wrote the following:

"A de facto Jewish homeland already existed in parts of Palestine, and its recognition by the Balfour Declaration became a matter of binding international law when the League of Nations made it part of its mandate."

2003 - Alan M. Dershowitz, LLB 

CON (no)

Fouad Abdel-Moneim Riad, an Egyptian lawyer and former judge, in a May 22, 2002 Al-Ahram article titled "The battle for a moral world," was quoted as saying:

"The 1917 Balfour Declaration and the UN's 1947 Partition Decree were both exercises in ultra vires, which means surpassing one's authority, and powers."

May 22, 2002 - Fouad Abdel-Moneim Riad 

Daoud Kuttab, Director of the Institute of Modern Media at Al Quds University in Jerusalem, in a Nov. 3, 2001 editorial titled "The Balfour declaration and Palestine," wrote the following:

"The Zionists, and later the Jews of the state of Israel were successful in marketing this document [the 1917 Balfour Declaration] as the legitimizing document for their policy of illegal immigration, unilateral declaration of an exclusive state, the expropriation and takeover of Palestinian Arab lands and property and the expulsion of the majority of the Arabs of Palestine."

Nov. 3, 2001 - Daoud Kuttab 

Clifford A. Wright, MA, former staff fellow at the Institute of Arab Studies (Massachusetts), in his 1989 book Facts and Fables: The Arab Israel Conflict, wrote the following:

"It is difficult to imagine how a letter from a British Foreign Minister, Lord Balfour, to a British Zionist leader, Lord Rothschild, could be the legal basis for dispossessing an indigenous population in the Middle East. If anything, Balfour's letter was a political maneuver meant to further British imperial interests in the Middle East during World War II by rallying Jewish support for the Allied effort."

1989 - Clifford A. Wright, MA