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7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Room 116, SOAS University
Thornhaugh St, Russell Square, WC1H OXG, London, London
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Talk by James Renton



The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) has launched a five-year international campaign, leading up to the centenary of the Balfour Declaration on November 2nd, 2017 and seeking an apology from the British government for the Declaration.


Hosted by Jews for Justice for Palestinians, the historian James Renton, author of “The Zionist Masquerade: The Birth of the Anglo-Zionist Alliance 1914-18”, will be providing a complex response to the question: Should Britain apologise for the Balfour Declaration?


Description of “The Zionist Masquerade” on amazon.co.uk (where the book is given a five-star rating):


The Zionist Masquerade is a new history of the birth of the Anglo-Zionist alliance during the Great War – a critical chapter in the history of the Zionist-Palestinian conflict. James Renton argues that the Balfour Declaration was the result of a wider phenomenon of British propaganda policies during World War I that were driven by mistaken conceptions of ethnicity, ethnic power and nationalism. From this vantage point, Renton contends that while a number of Zionist activists played a crucial role in the making of the Balfour Declaration, the end result was not the great Zionist victory that has been widely assumed. Although the Declaration came to be the basis for the British Mandate for Palestine, which made a Jewish State possible thirty years later, this was far from being the original intention of the British Government. The primary purpose of Britain’s wartime support for Zionism was to secure Jewish backing for the war effort. The unintended consequences of this policy, however, were to be explosive and far-reaching.