Lord Arthur Balfour

Finally, and probably most significantly of all, Lord Arthur Balfour who pioneered the Balfour Declaration in 1917, was himself also a premillennial Christian Zionist,154 who regarded history as, 'an instrument for carrying out a Divine purpose.'155 From 1905, for example, Chaim Weitzmann, then a professor of chemistry at Manchester University, began to have regular meetings with Balfour to discuss the implementation of that goal. Like Lloyd George, Balfour had been brought up in an evangelical home and was,

...predisposed to the Zionist positions solely on the basis of his limited understanding of the Bible. He subscribed to a simple, lay-person's version of the premillennial dispensational theology.156

Following a meeting with Weitzmann on 9 January 1906, Balfour wrote to his wife saying that he could see, 'no political difficulty about obtaining Palestine, only economic ones.'157 Weitzmann convinced Balfour that none of the other Jewish homeland 'solutions' such as Uganda or Argentina were tenable, and according to his niece, shortly before his death, Balfour remarked that,

...the Jewish form of patriotism was unique... Their love of their country refused to be satisfied by the Uganda scheme. It was Weizmann's absolute refusal even to look at it that impressed me.158

The British Colonialist presence in the Middle East, at the beginning of the 20th Century included both those sympathetic to Zionism like Balfour and others who for a variety of reasons had become 'Arabists.' The American, Kaplan terms them, 'sand-mad Britons' and identifying Sir Richard Francis Burton, Charles Doughty, T. E. Lawrence ('of Arabia'), Harry 'Abdullah' Philby, Wilfred Theisiger, and Gertrude Bell.159 Ultimately, both British Zionists and Arabists were committed to the same end - a strong British presence in the Middle East. Kaplan draws an important distinction between British and American Arabists in the late 19th Century and early 20th.

It was the advantages of power and privilege that imperialism offered that allowed these British men and women to work out their personalities and fantasies upon such an exotic stage. Their myriad eccentricities notwithstanding, men such as Lawrence and women such as Gertrude Bell were in Araby as British government agents, and thus it was the mechanics of imperial power that primarily concerned them... While British Arabists were imperialists, American Arabists were originally-and therefore, most significantly-missionaries. Mission work defines the American Arabist, much as imperialism defines the British Arabist... The British sought to dominate, to acquire a culture and a terrain as one acquires a rare and beautiful book. But Americans... sought something more tantalising. They sought to change this terrain, to improve upon it, using their own model. They manifested a psychology that grew out of the American Revolution. 160

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