Fanfare around Beersheba and Balfour Declaration based on myth-making

November 3, 2017
Members of the Australian Light Horse Association take part in a reenactment of the famous World War I cavalry charge known as the ‘Battle of Beersheba’, on October 31.

The following, slightly abridged, statement was released by the Australian-based Jews against the Occupation on October 29.


The jingoistic festivities to mark the centenaries of the Battle of Beersheba (in present day Israel, October 31, 1917) and the Balfour Declaration (November 2, 1917) are being accompanied by an orgy of myth-making as well as the expenditure of significant Australian taxpayer dollars (reportedly more than $600 million).

Jews against the Occupation condemns the attendance at these celebrations by the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten.

They mendaciously promote the story that Australia, through its mythological role in the battle with the Australian Light Horse Brigade, led to the foundation of the State of Israel.

This is supposedly a cause for great celebration and pride in the brotherhood of war leading to the “special” Australia/Israel relationship.

In fact, the charge of the Australian Light Horse Brigade was just one of many elements in the British conquest of Palestine.

This conquest enabled the eventual handover of the bulk of Palestine to the Zionist movement – over the heads and protests of the Arabs and Palestinians – to form the modern State of Israel.

But the Palestine campaigns by the British Empire were based on a total betrayal of the Arabs. They fought alongside the British on the promise in the letter from British High Commissioner in Egypt Henry McMahon to Sharif Hussein of Mecca, that an allied victory would bring them independence.

The current fanfare around the Battle of Beersheba promulgates a lie. It erases the Arabs and Palestinians from history.

The Balfour Declaration was made in the famous letter, dated November 2, 1917, from the British Foreign Minister to Lord Rothschild of the World Zionist Congress.

It has been described by respected journalist Robert Fisk as “the most mendacious, deceitful and hypocritical document in modern British history”.

It promised “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”, noting that it should be “clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”

In this document, the Arabs and Palestinians and their national rights are disappeared into silence, a silence which persists to the present day in the current festivities.

And even the implicit promise that there should be no prejudice to their civil and religious rights has been dramatically and systematically broken.

The deceitfulness of the Balfour Declaration is exposed both by the McMahon letter and Balfour's own comment in a letter to his successor: “Zionism ... is ... of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit the ancient land.”

In 1944, a British Labour Party statement said: “Let the Arabs be encouraged to move out as the Jews move in”.

Even the British do not pretend, as Zionist mythology has it, that Palestine was a “land without people for a people without a land”.

As recently as 2015, Boris Johnson, then mayor of London, described the Balfour Declaration as “bizarre”, “a tragically incoherent document”, “an exquisite piece of Foreign Office fudgerama”. He has changed his tune since becoming Foreign Minister.

The current love-in between Australia and Israel over these historical events is designed to shore up Israel's rapidly declining position on the world stage, with only the United States and its lapdog Australia as reliable allies.

Jews against the Occupation calls for an honest history of these events, instead of mythology to promote political agendas of continuing occupation, dispossession and oppression.

Like the article? Subscribe to Green Left now! You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.