In the coming months leading up to the centenary of the Balfour Declaration on 2nd November 2017, the Balfour 100 Steering committee has been working on a number of events and commemorations to mark the anniversary.
Such activities have included an interview with Lord Jacob Rothschild at Waddeston Manor, where he speaks for the first time publicly and in detail about his family’s involvement in the Balfour Declaration. Lord Rothschild described the declaration as “the most incredible piece of opportunism. You had an impoverished would-be scientist, Chaim Weizmann, who somehow gets to England, meets a few people, including members of my family, seduces them, he has such charm and conviction, he gets to Balfour, and unbelievably, he persuades Lord Balfour, and Lloyd George, the prime minister, and most of the ministers, that this idea of a national home for Jews should be allowed to take place. I mean it’s so, so unlikely.”
Lord Rothschild also speaks in detail about the role of his cousin, Dorothy De Rothschild, and said that “What she did, which was crucially important, was to connect Weizmann to the British establishment, and extraordinarily, she told Weizmann how to integrate, how to insert himself into British establishment life, which he learned very quickly.”
You can watch the interview with Lord Rothschild on the Balfour 100 website here.
The Balfour 100 Steering Committee has also launched a community fund for activities relating to the centenary of the Balfour Declaration. Grants of up to £500 will be awarded to applications from synagogues, youth groups, schools and other Jewish communal organisations.
The deadline for applications is 30th June, and applications are being considered of a ‘first come, first served’ basis.
A range of activities are anticipated, including panel discussions, debates and presentations, meals, Shabbat events or even summer/winter camps.
You can download the application form here.
The Balfour 100 website now also has a page dedicated to the role that Manchester played in the Declaration, and in particular, the time that Chaim Weizmann spent there.
You can read more about Manchester and the Balfour Declaration here.