Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars A detailed account of the embryonic impetus that led to modern Israel, 4 Aug 2012
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This review is from: The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (Paperback)
'The Balfour Declaration' is a scholarly examination of the events and diplomatic skulduggery that led to the British army in Palestine (1917-1948) and the Establishment's legitimisation of the Zionist movement and its central ideal for a Jewish homeland in ancestral Jewish lands.

Set against the tumultuous background of the Great War, Schneer's book is a very detailed account of the key players in this process and provides an insight into Britain's subtle manoeuvring with the Arabs, the Zionists, the French and other significant players (even the Pope is included). Due to the level of detail here, it can be difficult to keep track of all the individuals involved so the 'Glossary of Names' at the outset is a useful addition (there are also 4 maps within the text).

This is an excellent and well researched contribution to the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict; however, personally, I would have probably preferred something half the size. That's not a criticism of this work; it's just a statement about what I was looking for with regard to this geopolitical and historical topic.

Beyond the Arab-Israeli conflict, 'The Balfour Declaration' would also be useful reading for those interested in the following topics:

*The First World War (particularly the 'Eastern' front)
*British Imperialist policy in the early 20th century
*The decline of the Ottoman Empire
*Asquith/Lloyd George
*Diplomacy and the hidden workings of the Foreign Office
*The Arab Revolt of 1916

Overall, this is a forensic study that highlights how the British used ambiguity as a means to duplicity in their dealings with others, and is a worthwhile exploration of how the advocates for a Jewish homeland moved from being a fringe movement to a strategic tactical tool within the corridors of power in London and Paris (mainly between 1914 and 1917).

This is a useful starting point if you're looking at gaining an understanding into how modern Israel eventually came into existence. Just be prepared for an exceptionally high level of detail into the inter-relationships and the elaborate and unpredicted sequence of events that ultimately brought this about.
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4.5 out of 5 stars (10 customer reviews)
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Location: scotland

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