London (Dec. 19)
“I believe that no important party and no important nation really desires the reversal of the policy with regard to the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine so long as it bears good fruit for the Jews and the world. I understand that this bold and difficult experiment is suceeding. I hope I may shortly have the opportunity of going to Palestine myself”, declared Lord Balfour before a deputation of Leeds Zionists whom he received yesterday.
“Those who come back from Palestine bring me reports that although the movement, like all other movements in their beginning, suffers from expected and unexpected difficulties, the prospects of this great and novel experience give hope to all who, like myself, are deeply concerned in the effort which is being made, that the cooperative efforts of the Jews of Europe and America, combined with the energy and self-sacrifice of the Jews in Palestine will overcome the obstacles. I believe that those who have so far been hostile to the movement for the rebuilding of Palestine, will be converted and will see the immemorial historic connection which exists between Palestine and the Jewish race. Of all the religions in the world, Christianity should be the first to recognize this fact and view with sympathy the growth of the Jewish National Home which the nations of the world, at Versailles, handed over to Britain in trust for proper government of its inhabitants. You may look forward with hope and confidence to the future of this great experiment”, Lord Balfour further declared before the Zionist deputation.
As to his Zionist sympathies Lord Balfour stated, “I am a Zionist of long standing. I first became interested in the project when Chamberlain sponsored the plan of setting the persecuted Jews under the British flag in Africa. Later, Dr. Chaim Weizmann convinced me of the impossibility of a plan for settling the Jews anywhere except in the historic land of the Jewish people. Since my conversations with Dr. Weizmann I have been a Zionist and consider lamentable any attempt in this direction in Africa, South America or elsewhere. When the results of the war indicated that Palestine would finally be in the hands of the Allies, I was not least forward among those who were anxious to make it a home for the Jews. The Balfour Declaration embodies an aspiration to which the Jewish people have always remained faithful. This reason for the declaration is more important than the fact that it bears my name”, Lord Balfour stated.