The Balfour Declaration, or "the cursed promise," as it's termed in Arabic, sets down in writing Britain's commitment to support the establishment of a Jewish homeland in the Land of Israel. The declaration does not nullify the establishment of an Arab state alongside the Jewish one, something the Arabs have rejected out of hand several times over the course of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas isn't the first Palestinian leader who has tried to take on the Balfour Declaration. In fact, the former mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, fought it tirelessly. Moreover, most of the mufti's political and financial support from the Third Reich had to do with the declaration and opposition to it.
Everyone has always known that the Arabs can create propaganda that sounds good to Western ears. Their lies and incitement are boundless. Today, they are cynically exploiting the Palestinian Nakba festival just as, in the past, the mufti of Jerusalem would vociferously and cynically protest in Germany on the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration to curry favor with the Nazis.
In effect, when the mufti arrived in Germany, he took care to mark the anniversary of the declaration with the Arab community in Berlin marching through the streets and a sermon at a Berlin mosque. This is what he said on November 2, 1943: "On this day, 26 years ago, the evil tidings of the Balfour Declaration, which intends to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine following the Jewish-English scheme in the previous war, was issued. This abusive declaration came from Britain, and it gives the Jews this Arab, Muslim land -- the direction of the first Muslim prayer, the homeland of Al-Aqsa mosque and other places holy to Islam."
"This British betrayal of the Arabs comes after the one that preceded it, when Britain and its allies divided the Arab countries that had lost their independence under the Sykes-Picot Agreement. Later, when the Arabs began to doubt [Britain's] intentions, Britain was not deterred from officially promising them in 1918 -- by that same [Arthur] Balfour -- that it would once again respect their independence. Thus, Britain made two contradicting promises to two different peoples in a single war. ... It kept its promise to the Jews, and violated its contracts with the Arabs."
The mufti's words won significant support from the Nazi leaders who participated in every event he held and even provided him with unlimited financial support. Take, for example, what Gestapo leader Heinrich Himmler wrote to the mufti on the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration: "Since it was founded, the National Socialist Party has always touted a war on the world's Jews. Therefore it has always been especially supportive of the war by freedom-seeking Arabs, especially in Palestine, against the Jewish invaders. This shared recognition of the enemy and war against them are the strong basis of the natural alliance between Germany and the freedom-seeking Muslims. On the anniversary of the miserable Balfour Declaration, I extend to you my heartiest sentiments and wishes for your success."
Instead of extending a hand in peace, Abbas the Holocaust denier is adopting the policy of the mufti and the Nazi Party -- a policy that seeks to destroy the Jewish state.
Edy Cohen is a Middle East scholar and a fellow of the Center for International Communication at Bar-Ilan University.
This essay was originally published by IsraelHayom at http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=16799