The current Lord Balfour has made his first public statement about the Balfour Declaration.

Roderick Balfour, the 5th earl of Balfour and the great-grandson of Arthur’s brother Gerald William Balfour, wrote a letter that was read aloud to Jewish leaders at a conference for Limmud FSU in London.

“My family is very proud of the importance to Jewish people everywhere of this initiative by the British government of the day,” he wrote.

“The relevance to you all here today is that the imperative for it stemmed from the appalling Russian pogroms at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Thus, and this is what we are most proud of, the declaration was first and foremost a humanitarian act trying to repatriate a talented but much-persecuted people to the land of the original Judaic roots.”

It is pleasing to see Lord Roderick Balfour express his support for the famous letter that paved the way for the rebirth of Israel, written by Lord Arthur Balfour 100 years earlier.

On November 2, 1917, the UK foreign secretary, Lord Arthur Balfour, sent a letter to the leader of the British Jewish community, Lord Walter Rothschild, in which he stated his government’s support for a Jewish state in the area then known as Palestine. It was the foundation for the Israel to be reborn.

The Balfour Declaration reads, “His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object,” he wrote, “it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”