The commemoration of the centennial of the Balfour Declaration begins on Long Island this Thursday, Oct. 19, when author Edwin Black launches a national “Balfour 100” lecture tour at Rambam Mesivta in Lawrence.
The Nov. 2, 1917, letter by British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Lord Rothschild, a leader of Britain’s Jewish community, was a “declaration of sympathy with Zionist aspirations,” the first such statement by a major world power.
In his talk, Black will explore the historical underpinnings of the declaration, which was issued in the midst of World War I, and Israel’s position in international law. He will explain what the Balfour declaration is and what it is not.
The public is invited to the Rambam event, starting at 5:30 pm at 15 Forest Lane. Black’s series continues on Friday in Manhattan before moving to Washington, DC, Maryland, Flordia, and California.
Numerous other Balfour-related events are planned for coming weeks in various locations, including a talk at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Woman by Dr. Daniel Gordis on Monday, Oct. 30.
“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object,” Balfour’s letter stated, “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.”
Black is the author of 11 bestselling books, including “IBM and the Holocaust” and “The Farhud.” His work has appeared in numerous publications, both secular and Jewish, including The Jewish Star.
Dr. Gordis is the author of 10 books — including his latest, “Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn” — and is a regular columnist for both the Jerusalem Post and Bloomberg View. At Stern College, his topic will be “Balfour Declaration: Origins and Legacy.”
Dr. Gordis’ Oct. 30 lecture will take place at 15 W. 16 St., in cooperation with the American Jewish Historical Society, at 7 pm. Free tickets are available at yeshiva.imodules.com/balfour or email firstname.lastname@example.org.