Lord Balfour will forever have a prominent place in modern Jewish history as a friend of the Jews and as a symbol of a new attitude toward the race by the nations of the world, and the Balfour Declaration will be remembered as giving the Jews a legal right to a Jewish National Homeland in Palestine, and as the first step in the realization of the Basle Declaration, speakers told the 4,500 Zionists who attended the Balfour memorial meeting held by the Zionist Organization of America Thursday evening at Mecca Temple.
In eulogizing the former prime minister, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, chairman of the meeting and principal speaker, declared him one of the greatest figures in contemporary history and asserted his name would go down in the memory of Jews along with Woodrow Wilson, Clemenceau, Dr. Masaryk, Jan Smuts and Lloyd George.
“The Earl of Balfour has entered into the immortal company of a small number of men, led by King Cyrus, who stand in the annals of a deathless people as Israel’s friend,” Dr. Wise declared. “Oblivion discrowns Israel’s many foes. Immortality crowns Israel’s fewer friends and furtherers. Though Balfour be dead and Arabs slay, the Jewish National Home will come to pass, for Israel lives and the Balfour Declaration is become a page of light in the golden book of the Jews’ story,” he concluded.
Morris Rothenberg stressed the importance of legal guarantees in the upbuilding of Palestine and asserted they were provided by the Balfour Declaration.
Dr. Shmarya Levin, in a Yiddish address that brought forth many bursts of applause from the audience, emphasized the importance of such legal guarantees as are provided by the Declaration, but admonished Zionists not to forget their more important moral right to a Jewish National Home.
Other speakers included Maurice Samuel, Emmanuel Neumann, Bernard A. Rosenblatt, and Mrs. A. H. Vixman, vice-president of Hadassah.
Messages were read from Louis Lipsky, who paid tribute to the British statesman, and Nathan Strauss, subsidizing the planting of one hundred trees in a proposed memorial to Balfour in the form of a forest in Palestine. A large number of donations were received from the audience for the Balfour Memorial Forest.