British MEP David Campbell-Bannerman hosted Wednesday an event in the European Parliament in Brussels marking the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, in cooperation with the AJC Transatlantic Institute and the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
Among the speakers were Israel’s EU ambassador Aharon Leshno-Yaar, Gillian Merron, Chief Executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Isaac Jacobson of the American Jewish Committee and Toby Greene of BICOM.
During the event, pro-Palestinian activists sitting in the room, expressed their displeasure of the conference by deploying a large banner bearing Palestinian flags, by shouting ‘Free Palestine’ and by calling for Britain to apologize for the Declaration. This led other people in the audience to respond ‘’long life Israel.’’ Security agents brought the demonstrators out of the room.
But when a Palestinian representative in Brussels took the floor during the Q/A session to describe the Balfour Declaration as the ‘’Holocaust of the Palestinians’’, this was too much….
To compare the Balfour Declaration which was issued in a time of growing anti-Semitism in Europe and in the context of the collapse of empires, to the systematic extermination of six million Jews, is simply outrageous and unacceptable as Daniel Schammenthal, Director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute, rightly stated.
Yes, the European Parliament is the place for democratic debates about various world issues. But it can’t be used to make such statements which are tantamount to denying the importance of the Shoah. Isn’t this pure anti-Semitism?
Some weeks ago, in the same European Parliament, former Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled used a platform to praise extremist violence and demonize Jews. She glorified terrorism and trivialized the Holocaust. "Don’t you see a similarity between Nazi actions and Zionist actions in Gaza?," she declared. "While the Nazis were tried in Nuremberg, no one has ever tried the Zionists," she said.
How can this be allowed without sanctions ?
“The Balfour Declaration is an historic statement for which HMG (her Majesty’s Government) does not intend to apologize,” the British Foreign office said in a statement in response to an online petition. “We are proud of our role in creating the State of Israel.''
“Establishing a homeland for the Jewish people in the land to which they had such strong historical and religious ties was the right and moral thing to do, particularly against the background of centuries of persecution,” the statement added.
The State of Israel was established 30 years after Lord Balfour made his statement. Before that, on 29 November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly voted in favour of the partition of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. While the Jewish Agency, which represented the Jews of Palestine, accepted the plan, the Arab Higher Committee, the Palestinian Arabs's political representatives, rejected it and Palestinian guerilla forces began attacking Jewish communities. As the British mandate on Palestine formally ended on 14 May 1948 and David Ben Gurion, declared the establishment of the State of Israel in line with UN resolution 181, the new state was invaded by several Arab countries....