Balfour’s Shadow

Remember David Cronin? He’s the campaigning Irish ‘journalist’ who tried to arrest Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in Brussels in 2011. Now he’s contributed to the growing pile of Israel-traducing books offered at markdown prices by Amazon, ahead of the Balfour Centenary in November. His book is called ‘Balfour’s Shadow’ and it focuses in particular on relations between the UK and the Israeli Arabs and Palestinians (he wrongly calls them all ’Palestinians’) between 1917 and the present day. The book is published by Pluto Press, the former publishing arm of the far-Left SWP.   Cronin spoke about the book at a meeting on 27 July.

Mistake #1 comes with his timeline. In spring/summer 1948 he writes that ‘Zionist forces undertake major ethnic cleansing programme in Palestine’.  Not true, see Efraim Karsh. Only a handful of Arabs were attacked by Jewish irregular forces. The vast majority left because their leaders told them to go. They were told to leave for their own safety and that they would be able to return after the fighting. The Mayor of Haifa begged the Arabs to stay.

Mistake #2: Cronin says it’s a myth that Balfour was acting benevolently in issuing the Declaration.  No it’s not. Balfour’s appreciation of the history of the Jews was genuine.  See for example this quote:

“Here you have a small race, originally inhabiting a small country ….., at no time in its history wielding anything that can be described as material power, crushed between great Oriental monarchies, its inhabitants deported, then scattered, then driven out of the country to every part of the world and yet maintaining continuity of religion and racial tradition of which there is no parallel elsewhere…. We cannot forget how they have been treated during long centuries. Our whole religious organization of Europe has proved itself guilty of great crimes against this race. [Speech to the Lords (1922); Quoted in Lord Turnberg’s book ‘Beyond the Balfour Declaration’]

In fact Balfour and Weizmann became good friends. So much so that in 1930 when Balfour was on his deathbed, Weizmann was the only non-family member allowed to see him.

Mistake #3: Cronin writes that at the time of the Balfour Declaration, the most prominent Jews in the UK opposed Zionism.  Some did, others (Lord Rothschild, Herbert Samuel for example) didn’t.  The President of the Board of Deputies opposed Zionism but for this he was voted out of office (see this book).

Mistake #4: In Chapter 2, Cronin refers to the transfer policy of some Zionists in the 1930s, omitting to mention (as do all anti-Zionists) that transfer was a policy recommended by the Peel Commission (1936).

Mistake #5: In Chapter 6, Cronin writes that UN Resolution 242 required Israel to with draw from all the territories captured in 1967. No! It just said ‘territories’. Not ‘all territories’.  And the wording was deliberate, see here for example.

Mistake #6: In Chapter 8, Cronin warns about ‘conflating Judaism and Zionism’. Show me an anti-Zionist and I’ll show you someone who tries to separate Judaism from Zionism. Obviously you can’t:  Israel is a majority Jewish State, more Jews live there than anywhere else and Jews outside Israel both have very strong ties to the country and identify as Zionists (this applies to the vast majority).

Cronin’s talk included denunciations of Tony Blair and Theresa May. Plus most of the ritual, robotic slanders so beloved of Pappe and the others in the Israel Hate Brigade. Thus Israel is “imposing a medieval siege on Gaza” (nonsense, truckloads of goods go in every day); “the British government is conducting smear campaign against the PSC”; “the IHRA Definition of antisemitism is bogus”; the Conservative/DUP Alliance has “settler colonial” qualities; “bullies in the Zionist Lobby”.

In case you still don’t get it….I’m not a fan. Cronin’s book costs £16.99 (paperback) from Amazon. For £2 less you can get Lord Turnberg’s excellent book on the Balfour Declaration.  No contest!

About the Author
Jonathan Hoffman is a blogger who has written for United With Israel, CiFWatch (now UK Media Watch), Harrys Place and Z-Word.
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