Palestine: the Reality: Balfour in the Dock


J. M. N. Jeffries, was a war, foreign and political correspondent based in the Middle East from 1914 until the 1930s. He was also a man of conscience as he turned his incredible reporting skills analyze the most catastrophic foreign policy mistake Great Britain ever made: the Balfour Declaration of 1917. In Jeffries’ famous description it was ““unlawful in issue, arbitrary in purpose and deceitful in wording.” One might add destructive of the entire Middle East. Thousands of Russian secular Jews descended  on an Arabic culture with the expressed purpose of turning it into a Jewish state. This  colonial project was destined to end in chaos. A 70 year occupation is the result.

His book Palestine, the Reality. The Inside Story of the Balfour Declaration” (Olive Branch Press, 2017) has an extraordinary history. By the time Jeffries finished his exhaustive tome of double-dealing, prevarication and  outright lies Britain was at war and despite the odd favorable view Albion’s survival was front and centre. To top it all off, all copies in Jeffries’ publishing house n went up in flames in the 1940 blitz. Only 3 remained extant in university libraries and 20 worldwide.The book disappeared for decades.


Jeffries was writing in 1939 in the midst of a brutal intifada  against the British mandate which created the unholy. He acknowledges he will probab;ly be called an antt-Semite.


He writes in his intro:

The Arabs, the people of that country, are suffering from a supreme injustice. We have abstracted from them the control of their own destinies and by force of arms have imposed upon  them a multitude of undesired immigrants and an alien system of life.or  twenty years now they have essayed every form of pacific appeal to have this  injustice remedied. Interviews and petitions, mass-meetings, public  pronouncements, protests to the League of Nations, repeated embassies to England, all have been tried. All of them have failed. Not only have the Arabs’  petitions not been granted, but of what was fundamental in them consideration  itself has been refused. They have never been allowed to place their full case  before any national or international Court in the world, with a right to win a verdict upon the facts.


Arabs he acknowledges had few interlocutors in England at the time

These Zionists and their British backers hold prominent  positions in Parliament, in the Press, in the social and in the professional and commercial spheres of our national life.


Chaim Weizmann

Jeffries was disgusted  at the perfidy of his country which had in 1915 (Hussein-McMahon correspondence) promised an Arab independent government in Palestine  for entering the war against the Ottoman Empire. He  writes:

In October, 1915, there  was no thought in responsible quarters of anything in Palestine but of an Arab  State under British guidance. There was no question of Palestine being  considered a Jewish or part-Jewish country which required a special regime. …In October, 1915, the official doctrine of dual ownership of Palestine had not yet been concocted.

They pursued a policy involving fraud and perfidy. They tyrannously  withdrew from the Arabs the Arabs’ natural and inherent rights over their native land. They broke Britain’s word to the Arabs. To suit their aims in Palestine they gerrymandered as far as they could the Covenant of the League of Nations, and where they could gerrymander it no further they broke it. They falsified the Mandate.

Thanks to Olive Brand Press we have an invaluable trove of documentation of how the Balfour Declaration paved the way for the Zionist takeover  of Palestinian land which had been in Muslim possession for 1300 years.

Wriettn 8 years before the state of Israel was procliaimed,  Jeffries presciently saw the ctatastrophe unfolding.

The [political Zionist] proposal is the more inadmissible because the Jews are and probably long will remain a minority of the population of Palestine, and it might involve them in the bitterest feuds with their  neighbours of other races and religions, which would severely retard their progress and find deplorable echoes throughout the Orient.


Sadly, Jeffries’s prediction has come true and finally Lord Balfour  the architect of this disaster is in the dock.