Cite: Cohen, Was the Balfour Declaration at Risk in 1923?

Cohen, Michael J. "Was the Balfour Declaration at Risk in 1923? Zionism and British Imperialism." Journal of Israeli History 29,1 (2010): 79-98.


This article examines the nature of the British government’s commitment to the Balfour Declaration after World War I. It refutes the hypothesis that in 1923 the Conservative government was on the brink of abrogating the Balfour Declaration. After the war, the Declaration became Britain’s international license for her exclusive rule over Palestine. Palestine was not written off as an imperial asset but remained a vital British strategic interest. In addition, considerations of financing the administration of the country, and concern for her international standing, should she renege on her wartime pledge to the Zionists, ensured that Britain would continue to adhere to the Balfour Declaration. An understanding of the issues at stake in 1923 is essential for any comprehension of Britain’s 30-year-long control of Palestine.


Keywords: Balfour Declaration; British imperialism; British Mandate; Lord Curzon; Palestine; Suez Canal; Winston Churchill; History, Colonialism / Imperialism, Zionism: and World Powers

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