While Israel and the UK prepare to celebrate 100 years since the Balfour Declaration was published, Arab Knesset members, such as Zionist Camp MK Zouheir Bahloul, announce boycott of the Knesset’s commemorative event.
MK Zouheir Bahloul Photo Credit: Amir Levy, Flash 90/Channel 2 News
This week marks the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration for which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will take off for London to attend a ceremony marking the historic date. The Knesset will also commemorate the special anniversary in a special Knesset session. Members of the Joint List have already announced they will not participate in the session, and MK Zouheir Bahloul from the Zionist Camp joined today in their boycott.
“I will not attend the meeting and not in the name of defiance,” explained Bahloul in an interview with Channel 2 News. “This is not a joint celebration for me and my fellow Jews. I am not fully part of the celebration.”
MK Bahloul claimed that he cannot ignore, despite his Israeli identity, feelings of affinity towards his Palestinian side: “What about my people? You have received the right towards self-determination through the Balfour Declaration. Everyone completely ignores the Palestinian’s right.”
Asked about his membership in a Zionist party, MK Bahloul explained that boycotting the event was his basic right: “I am a part of the Zionist Camp, but I am not a Zionist myself and I cannot be a Zionist.” Bahloul added: “I believe that as part of my identity and story as a Palestinian, my narrative should be acknowledged. I do not think I should participate when I am not free.”
The founding document formulated by British Foreign Minister Lord Balfour expressed the administration’s support of the establishment of the Jewish people’s national home in what was the British Mandate of Palestine. Throughout the generations, the Balfour Declaration was considered the most important political Zionist achievement and was used by the Zionist leaders in every discussion of rights in Israel.
Last year, at the Arab League Summit, Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas called on the Arab states to support him in filing a suit against the Great Britain in light of the Balfour Declaration given to the Jewish people a hundred years ago. “After the declaration was issued, hundreds of thousands of Jews from Europe and other places were transferred to Palestine, at our people’s expense,” Abbas claimed.