Military history

The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Issued in London in 1917, the Balfour Declaration was one of the key documents of the twentieth century. It committed Britain to supporting the establishment in Palestine of “a National Home for the Jewish people,” and its reverberations continue to be felt to this day. Now the entire fascinating story of the document is revealed in this impressive work of modern history.

With new material retrieved from historical archives, scholar Jonathan Schneer recounts in dramatic detail the public and private battles in the early 1900s for a small strip of land in the Middle East, battles that started when the governing Ottoman Empire took Germany’s side in World War I. The Balfour Declaration paints an indelible picture of how Arab nationalists, backed by Britain, fought for their future as Zionists in England battled diplomatically for influence. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to either side or even to most members of the British government, Prime Minister David Lloyd George was telling Turkey that she could keep her flag flying over the disputed territory if only she would agree to a separate peace.

The key players in this watershed moment are rendered here in nuanced and detailed relief: Sharif Hussein, the Arab leader who secretly sought British support; Chaim Weizmann, Zionist hero, the folksmensch who charmed British high society; T. E. Lawrence, the legendary “super cerebral” British officer who “set the desert on fire” for the Arabs; Basil Zaharoff, the infamous arms dealer who was Britain’s most important back channel to the Turks; and the other generals and prime ministers, soldiers and negotiators, who shed blood and cut deals to grab or give away the precious land.

A book crucial to understanding the Middle East as it is today, The Balfour Declaration is a rich and remarkable achievement, a riveting volume about the ancient faiths and timeless treacheries that continue to drive global events.

Glossary of Names

Postlude as Prelude

PART I: Sirocco

Chapter 1. Palestine Before World War I

Chapter 2. Ottomanism, Arabism, and Sharif Hussein

Chapter 3. First Steps Toward the Arab Revolt

Chapter 4. The Next Steps

Chapter 5. The Hussein-McMahon Correspondence

Chapter 6. The Sykes-Picot Agreement

Chapter 7. The Arab Revolt Begins

PART II: London and Zion

Chapter 8. Prewar British Jews

Chapter 9. Weizmann’s First Steps

Chapter 10. The Assimilationists

Chapter 11. The Road Forks

PART III: The Battle for the Ear of the Foreign Office

Chapter 12. Forging the British-Zionist Connection

Chapter 13. Defining the British-Arab Connection

Chapter 14. Managing the British-Zionist Connection

Chapter 15. Sokolow in France and Italy

Chapter 16. Revelation of the Sykes-Picot Agreement

PART IV: The Road Not Taken

Chapter 17. British Muslims, the Anglo-Ottoman Society, and the Disillusioning of Marmaduke Pickthall

Chapter 18. The Curious Venture of J. R. Pilling

Chapter 19. Henry Morgenthau and the Deceiving of Chaim Weizmann

Chapter 20. “The Man Who Was Greenmantle”

Chapter 21. The Zaharoff Gambit

PART V: Climax and Anticlimax

Chapter 22. The Ascendancy of Chaim Weizmann

Chapter 23. Lawrence and the Arabs on the Verge

Chapter 24. The Declaration at Last

Chapter 25. The Declaration Endangered

Conclusion

Chapter 26. A Drawing Together of Threads

Notes

Bibliography

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