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Conscience of Empires

             What broader historical trends were influencing San Remo?

                                                                   Professor Efraim Karsh

                  hough relegated since Roman   In the 1880s, a different type of   recognition, by the-then foremost
                  times to a small minority in   immigrant began arriving: young   world power, of the Jews as a
             Tthe Land of Israel (renamed     nationalists who rejected diaspora   national group (rather than a purely
             ‘Palestine’ by the Romans), not   life and sought to restore Jewish   religious community) entitled to
             only was Jewish presence there   national existence in the historic   national self-determination in its
             never eliminated, but the longing for   homeland. In August 1897, the   ancestral homeland, but because
             the ancestral homeland occupied   First Zionist Congress was held in   it was rapidly incorporated into the
             a focal place in Jewish collective   the Swiss town of Basle, defining   post-WWI peace treaties that laid
             memory for millennia, with Jews   the aim of Zionism as “the creation   the legal foundations of the new
             returning to ‘Palestine’ from the   of a home for the Jewish people in   world order. That constituted a
             earliest days of dispersion.     Palestine to be secured by public   formal acknowledgement of Jewish
                                              law.”                             indigenous rights by the League
                                                                                of Nations: the newly-established
                                              The Balfour Declaration           world organisation and the UN’s
                                              During WW1, the British government   predecessor.
                                              decided to “view with favour” this
                                              goal, issuing a formal letter from   Recognising that the age of
                                              Foreign Secretary Balfour to Lord   empires must now give way to
                                              Rothschild on 2 November 1917 to
                                              this effect, and promising to “use   “the age of  empires
                                              its best endeavours to facilitate”
                                              its achievement.  Although not     must now give way to
                                              yet “secured by public law,”
                                              the significance of this Balfour    indigenous self-rule”
                                              Declaration cannot be overstated.
                     First Zionist Congress, 1897  Not merely because it signified

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