The Balfour Declaration and its Legacy

A panel of scholars explore the history of the declaration and its significance for today.

In a letter dated November 2, 1917 from British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour to Lord Walter Rothschild, a leader of British Jewry, the British government stated its support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people…” The contents of the letter became known as the Balfour Declaration. At the 100th anniversary of this milestone event in Jewish and Zionist history, a panel of scholars of British, Middle East and Jewish history and politics will explore the Balfour Declaration’s origins and its significance for today.

Issues addressed include: the circumstances that led to the declaration; its impact on the Zionist movement at the time; its influence on diaspora Jews’ connection to the land of Israel/Palestine; and its relevance for current debates about the future of the region.

Jonathan Schneer is the modern British historian at Georgia Tech in the School of History, Technology, and Society. Dr. Schneer is the author of The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict which won a 2010 National Jewish Book Award, as well as six other books including, most recently, Ministers at War: Winston Churchill and his War Cabinet; London 1900: The Imperial Metropolis; and The Thames: England's River. He has published articles in leading scholarly journals and collections of essays.At Georgia Tech, Professor Schneer teaches modern British and modern European history to undergraduate and graduate students.

Ian Lustick is Professor and Bess W. Heyman Chair in Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Lustick is interested in comparative politics, international politics, Middle Eastern politics, and agent-based, computer assisted modeling for the social sciences. He is a past president of the Politics and History Section of the American Political Science Association and of the Association for Israel Studies, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


Mark A. Raider is Professor of Modern Jewish History in the Department of History at the University of Cincinnati and Director of the University’s Center for Studies in Jewish Education and Culture.  Professor Raider teaches courses on U.S. history, American culture, the American Jewish experience, modern Jewish history, and Zionism and Israel.

Shira Efron (Moderator) is a policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, a special advisor on Israel with RAND's Center for Middle East Public Policy, and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School.  Dr. Efron was also a research analyst at a hedge fund in New York, an editor at the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, and a reporter in the Israeli Defense Forces. Dr. Efron has a Ph.D. in policy analysis from the Pardee RAND Graduate School, an M.A. in international relations/international business from New York University (NYU) and a B.Sc. in biology and computer science from Tel Aviv University.


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