The Balfour Declaration, Reflections for the Centenary


A Conference organised by the Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Manchester, and the Jewish Historical Society of England: Open to the public, no need to register.


Time and date: 3-7pm, 8 November 2017

Venue: S.LG.12, Samuel Alexander Building (67 on campus map)

Conference Programme (pdf)

3.00 - 3.15 Welcome: Prof. Philip Alexander

3.15 - 4.30 The Balfour Declaration in its British Context

3.15 - 3.45 Prof. Philip Alexander: ‘Why did Balfour back the Balfour Declaration?’

3.45 - 4.15 Dr. Jean-Marc Dreyfus: ‘A local perspective: the itinerary of Daniel Dreyfus, who introduced Weizmann to Balfour’

4.15 - 4.30 Discussion

4.30 - 4.45 Break

4.45 - 6.00 The Balfour Declaration in its Middle Eastern Context

4.45 - 5.15 Dr. Lauren Banko: ‘Race and settler-colonial citizenship as a legacy of the Balfour Declaration in Palestine, 1917-1948’

5.15 - 5.45 Dr. Moshe Behar: ‘The Balfour letter: an anti-teleological consideration’

5.45 - 6.00 Discussion

6.00 - 7.00 Panel Discussion: Chaired by Dr. Jean-Marc Dreyfus


In the modern history of Palestine/Israel -- and possibly of the Arab Middle East -- it is hard to think of a single-page document that has been showered with more popular or scholarly attention, anger, and joy than the Balfour Declaration. This open letter, published on 2 November 1917, stated that the British Government viewed with favour ‘the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.’ On 8 November 2017 the Centre for Jewish Studies and the Department of Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Manchester, together with the Jewish Historical Society of England, will hold a one day workshop to reflect on the centenary of the Declaration. Individually and together, disciplinary-diverse scholars will discuss the origins, causes, varied reactions, consequences, and subsequent socio-political implications of the declaration vis-à-vis the question of Israel/Palestine, from 1917 to 2017.