#BALFOUR100 : The Colonization of Palestine Continues

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November 01, 2017
Balfour 100
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(Washington, D.C. - 11/1/2017)—Tomorrow marks a century since the British government issued the Balfour Declaration, affirming Zionist colonial ambitions in Palestine and helping pave the way for the creation of the State of Israel. On Nov. 2, 2017, then-UK Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur Balfour sent the letter to Lord Walter Rothschild, a financier and prominent Zionist leader, pledging support for "a Jewish national home in Palestine," which led to the expulsion of the majority of its native people from their land. 

As British Prime Minister Theresa May shamelessly vows to celebrate the centennial "with pride," inviting Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu's to attend next week, it is clear that the U.K. government still insists on following the misguided policies that caused Palestinian suffering. AMP condemns May's refusal to apologize for the destructive role the British played a hundred years ago in a country that did not belong to them, and it is clear the colonial mentality of the past that ravaged much of the Global South continues in the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine. 

In fact, a number of British politicians including May, who praised it as "one of the most important letters in history," have perpetuated the myth that Israel "rose out of the desert," as Tory MP Jonathan Djanogly recently stated. Many have called on the British government to apologize for its culpable role in facilitating the mass transfer of Jews to Palestine during the British Mandate (1920-1948), which resulted in massacres, dispossession, and the ethnic cleansing of indigenous Palestinians from their homeland.

Although the infamous letter ordered that the civil and religious rights of Palestinians should not be violated, its second half was totally disregarded by Zionists who celebrated its promise. Rather, it laid the groundwork for massive dislocation and land theft by a modern settler colonial project, denying the rights, ownership, culture, and history of the existing Palestinian population.

After nearly 70 years of a brutal military occupation and attempts at erasing their identity, Palestinians have never abandoned their struggle or hope to return to their land. The world is beginning to recognize Israel as yet another racist colonial enterprise and a form of apartheid. The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel is gaining momentum with numerous organizations, councils, and even cities around the world adopting its resolutions.

Christians, Muslims, a rising number of dissident Jews, and people of conscience from all backgrounds are speaking out and organizing against the occupation. Even members of the British government such as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have expressed support for Palestinians, called for an end to their "oppression," and recently turned down a "Labour Friends of Israel" dinner reception to celebrate the Balfour centennial. In Palestine, British solidarity activists offered an apology to the Palestinian people and marched with a coalition of activists to lift closures in the city of Hebron. Israeli settlers from the illegal Kiryat Arba settlement attacked demonstrators, cursing at and physically assaulting them. [Video of the demonstration and attack available here].

Please join us at the end of this month for AMP’s 10th Annual Convention for Palestine in the U.S., as we solemnly mark this historical moment, “100 Years Since Balfour”. The Balfour Declaration represents 100 years of colonization and repression against the Palestinian people. This year's AMP conference explores the devastating impact that this infamous letter continues to have on Palestinians today. Join us to hear notable speakers like Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, Dr. Rima Khalaf, Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi, Dr. Hatem Bazian, and many more.  Go to http://www.palestineconvention.org to register. 

American Muslims for Palestine is a national organization whose mission is to educate the American public and media about issues relating to Palestine and its rich cultural heritage. AMP is committed to upholding the principles of freedom, equality, and self-determination for all people through peaceful advocacy, education, and grassroots mobilization. 

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TAKE ACTION:

Join the international solidarity campaign on social media set to launch today at 1:00 PM EDT. Help us trend #Balfour100 on Facebook and Twitter.

Sample Tweets: 

"@theresa_may is proud of UK giving a land it doesn't own to Zionists! #Balfour100"

"100 years of crimes against humanity in #Palestine and for Palestinian refugees. #Balfour100"

"100 Years of Ethnic Cleansing of #Palestine #Balfour100"

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Articles about the Balfour Legacy:

Mondoweiss (10/16/2017): "Balfour at 100: A legacy of racism and propaganda"
Al Jazeera (10/31/2017): "Balfour Declaration at 100: Seeds of Discord" [VIDEO]
Hatem Bazian, Islamic Horizons (10/22/2017): Disenfranchising the Palestinians 
BBC (4/3/2017): Britian should apologise for Balfour Declaration - peer