Friday, November 28, 2008


Starting from Sunday 14 December, the ZF is organizing a three-day outdoor Israeli Market which will operate on the High Road of Temple Fortune. The Market will host 40 exhibitors displaying unique and interesting Israeli products.

This type of outdoor fair has been operated successfully many times in this location but none of the markets have ever hosted Israeli exhibitors.

The Zionist Federation will organize the first ever Israeli fair and we are calling it “ A TASTE OF ISRAEL”. The aim is to bring Israeli products to the British public. The Exhibitors will have stands to display their goods and sell them to the public.

The Zionist Federation is always keen to help Israeli trade - we will also be encouraging them to set up business with local shops for the future. Alan Aziz, Director of the Zionist Federation states: “this is a very positive step to showcase the best of Israeli products in time for Chankukah and Christmas – we are please to be hosting them”.

Additionally, this is an ideal opportunity for the general public to experience some of Israel’s unique and interesting artwork, wines, jewellery and food that they may not have otherwise been able to experience.

For more information please contact:
Gary Sakol
Zionist Federation
Tel: +44 (0)20 8343 9756

Monday, November 10, 2008


Following the many successful events held at Middlesex New Synagogue to celebrate Israel's 60th Anniversary, and in order to celebrate further the 60 years of Israel’s past and look forward to Israel 60 years in the future, MNS was delighted to welcome a panel of distinguished guests to address over 100 visitors.

After a short prayer for Israel read by Rabbi Kathleen de Magtige-Middleton, Michael Reik opened the proceedings by introducing Talya Lador-Fresher, the Israeli Deputy Ambassador, Geoffrey Smith, chairman of the Christian Friends of Israel, and finally Charlie Gluckman and Daniel Needlestone, the co-chairs of Pro Zion, all of whom spoke about achievements of Israel from different perspectives.

Talya Lador-Fresher referred to the internal and external events that shaped Israel’s achievements decade by decade. From the War of Independence and through the 1950s, Israel saw the building of a nation and a wave of immigration. The 1960s was marked by the tension before, and the euphoria after, the Six Day Way, and the trial of Adolf Eichmann. The 1970s saw the Yom Kippur War and the historic visit to Israel by President Sadat of Egypt, which led to the Peace Accords at Camp David. The 1980 saw the economic crisis and the Government bailing out the banks (sounds familiar?). The 1990s brought Peace Accords with Jordan, and immigration from Russia. The current decade was marked by the Intafada, and the advances in high technology - from oranges to Apples perhaps ;-)

Geoffrey Smith gave a very inspiring talk on the theme “Israel has blessed the nations” describing how Israel has fulfilled various Biblical prophecies, and how the rest of the world has benefited from its high technological advances. Charlie Gluckman and Daniel Needlestone gave their personal views of the changes in Israel during their student years.

During a short break for refreshments, visitors were able to watch a video, read the posters and time-line display, and browse through the brochures brought along by the Christian Friends of Israel.

The evening continued with a Q&A session; topics included proportional representation, the likelihood of a non-Jewish Prime Minister, the consequences of an increasing Arab population, and the Barak Obama effect. The meeting closed with a vote of thanks to the panel by Rabbi Simon Franses.

This was an ideal opportunity for Middlesex New Synagogue members to learn of Israel's past achievements and future plans and strengthen even further our commitment to “Eretz Yisrael”. The evening was supported and sponsored by the Zionist Federation.


A Reevaluation of the Balfour Declaration

Ashley Perry | UK Affairs

On November 2, the Balfour Declaration was 91 years old. Although seemingly irrelevant in today's political scenery, it was the crucial first official recognition of Jewish national aspirations, much disparaged even unto this day.

Although the declaration itself had little legal status, it was later incorporated into the Sèvres peace treaty with Turkey and the Mandate for Palestine, adopted unanimously by the League of Nations in the San Remo Resolution of 1920. This lent Zionism an international legitimacy enjoyed by few national movements before or since.

Perhaps most astonishing today, the leader of the Arab movement, King Faisal, supported the declaration when it was referred to in the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement of 1919.

Although many have since attempted to deny the central nature of the document and its relationship to the Mandate, that's not how its British drafters saw things. In fact, as stated in the 1937 Royal Commission Report, "the primary purpose of the Mandate, as expressed in its preamble and its articles, is to promote the establishment of the Jewish National Home."

The initial drafts of the Balfour Declaration spoke of the desire "that Palestine should be reconstituted as the National Home of the Jewish people." Clearly, Palestine as a whole was intended to become this Jewish national home.

The final draft was altered to contain the proviso, "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."

The final declaration was altered at the behest of Edwin Samuel Montagu, an influential anti-Zionist Jew and secretary of state for India, who was concerned that the declaration as it stood could result in increased anti-Semitism. Montagu was also concerned that the declaration would make it harder for him to deal with Indian Muslims.

Many have argued that the term "Jewish national home" falls short of Zionist aspirations, and suggest that the declaration never meant to encourage the creation of a state. This interpretation fails because the major players in the drafting of the agreement thought otherwise.

It would have been diplomatically impossible for the British government to promise a state at that time, primarily because the territory was not even in its hands. The term national home was used as a first step on the path to statehood. Lloyd George, who was prime minister at the time, laid the onus for the transforming of a national home to a state on the Jews themselves:

"It was contemplated that when the time arrived for according representative institutions to Palestine, if the Jews had meanwhile responded to the opportunities afforded them by the idea of a national home, and had become a definite majority... then Palestine would thus become a Jewish commonwealth."

General Smuts, a member of the Imperial War Cabinet when the declaration was published, said in 1919 that he could see "in generations to come, a great Jewish state rising there once more." Influential figures like Lord Robert Cecil in 1917, Sir Herbert Samuel in 1919 and Winston Churchill in 1920 also spoke about the resulting Jewish state.

Churchill also told the Royal Commission regarding the Palestine White Paper of 1922, for which he had been responsible, that those who felt the Balfour Declaration or the Palestine Mandate precluded a Jewish state were mistaken. "There is nothing in it," the commission found, "to prohibit the ultimate establishment of a Jewish state, and Mr. Churchill himself has told us in evidence that no such prohibition was intended."

There are also those who look at the language of the declaration and the Mandate to claim that they give equal weight to Jewish national aspirations and the rights of various non-Jewish communities. This is erroneous simply because the main purpose of both the declaration and the Mandate, as expressed above, was to "promote the establishment of the Jewish National Home."

Nonetheless, during the early days of the Mandate there were voices in the British government which felt an equal obligation to the Jewish and non-Jewish communities. Many politicians wished to ensure that the Arab population was placated. This was rebutted by those who felt that not only was this incorrect, but that the text of the Mandate made Britain "responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish National Home."

The wording clearly points to active intervention on the part of Britain.

"Merely to sit still," wrote Churchill, "and avoid friction with the Arabs and safeguard their civil and religious rights and to abandon the positive exertion for the establishment of the Jewish National Home would not be a faithful interpretation of the Mandate."

Possibly the greatest argument is the fact that the text describing the rights of "non-Jewish communities in Palestine" appeared only in the preamble of the British Mandate; the actual text was replete with references to actions that would be taken to ensure the rise of a Jewish national home. The British administration was required to "facilitate" Jewish immigration, and "encourage" the settlement of Jews on the land.

There can be no denying that the Balfour Declaration was unique, not only in Jewish history, but possibly in the history of national movements. For a short period, all the major powers, the leader of the Arab world and most interested parties created a mechanism to fulfill the Zionist dream.

This should not be overlooked or understated as Zionism fights an enduring battle for legitimacy. Few national movements in the world have such a legal declaration in their arsenal.

The writer is editor for the Middle East Strategic Information.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Sunday, November 2 was the 91st Anniversary of the Balfour Declaration (1917), which stated that the British government "view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people".
To mark the occasion, a capacity audience of Zionist Federation supporters came together on Monday night in the magnificent Locarno Rooms of  the Foreign Office to hear the annual ZF  Balfour Lecture, which this year was given by Sir Richard Dearlove and chaired by The Marquess of Salisbury.
Sir Richard Dearlove, Head of MI6 from 1999-2004, is the Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge. He  spoke, under Chatham House rules, about the Security Services in the Middle East, and then took questions, a number of which concerned Iran. Sir Richard's themes were both clear and supported by a wealth of authoritative material  and personal recollections.
Sir Richard was introduced by Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, the 7th Marquess of Salisbury. He explained his connection to Israel. Arthur Balfour was his first cousin, three times removed. Additionally he is a direct descendant of Lord Robert Cecil, who, as Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, was supportive of the Balfour Declaration  and subsequently won the Nobel Peace Prize  for his role as an architect of the League of Nations. The Marquess also spoke about his paternal grandmother. She had a Jewish great-grandparent who during World War Two  was very outspoken against the Nazis. The Marquess commented that had Hitler invaded, she would have been high on a Nazi hit-list.
The highly successful evening ended with Hatikvah. It was generously sponsored by Djanogly Wealth Management.