Lord Balfour’s Great-Grandson Praises Declaration That Paved Way to Israel’s Founding by the Forward

Lord Balfour’s Great-Grandson Praises Declaration That Paved Way to Israel’s Founding

The great-grandson of the British diplomat who expressed support for a Jewish homeland in the historic Balfour Declaration has spoken out for the first time about the pride his family feels to have played a role in the founding of Israel.

A century after then-Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour penned the famed declaration supporting the tenets of Zionism, his great-grandson, Lord Roderick Balfour, told a gathering of Jews from the former Soviet Union that he believes the document was a key “humanitarian act.”

“My family is very proud of the importance to Jewish people everywhere of this initiative,” Rodrick Balfour wrote in a letter to the Limmud FSU conference in Britain. “The declaration was first and foremost a humanitarian act trying to repatriate a talented but much-persecuted people to the land of the original Judaic roots.”

The 1917 Balfour Declaration held that Jews should have a right to a homeland in what they claim as a historic home in the land of Israel.

Although the document is often viewed through a political lens, the younger Lord Balfour called it a gesture to the widespread persecution Jews faced in Eastern Europe.

“It stemmed from the appalling Russian pogroms at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries,” the letter said.

Author

Dave Goldiner

Dave Goldiner

Dave Goldiner is the Forward’s director of digital media. Dave is a veteran journalist who has spent two decades working at newspapers in the United States and Africa. A native New Yorker, Goldiner wrote for the New York Daily News, where he covered some of the biggest stories of our time, including the attacks of September 11, along with thousands of stories of hope and heartbreak. He also studied and worked in Southern Africa and has written for publications in South Africa and Zimbabwe. He holds masters degrees in journalism and public administration from Columbia University. Dave can be reached at goldiner@forward.com, or follow him on Twitter @davegoldiner

Lord Balfour’s Great-Grandson Praises Declaration That Paved Way to Israel’s Founding

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