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THE BALFOUR DECLARATION OF 1917
The 100 years of deceit, devastation
and genocide–I
William A Cook
 
Since 1948 the state of Israel has celebrated annually its independence as a nation, though it is not clear from what or whom it has declared independence. The UN had portioned Palestine in November of 1947 and the British Mandate had made clear that its last day in Palestine would be May 15, of 1948. The Zionists determined that they would declare their independence on May 14 and so notified Britain and the United States of that intention; yet neither had opposed the declaration.
Perhaps the celebration should be for the existence of the state of Israel. But that lacks the ring of the glory that attends a state that fought the good fight against a determined enemy and vanquished them.  In fact, the Zionists had from 1939 to 1948 fought an enemy in Palestine, the very Mandated authority placed there by the League of Nations and later by the United Nations and the British Government.  The Zionists were committed to destroy that Mandate despite its efforts to establish “a home for the Jewish people” from 1922.
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William A Cook
 
Since 1948 the state of Israel has celebrated annually its independence as a nation, though it is not clear from what or whom it has declared independence. The UN had portioned Palestine in November of 1947 and the British Mandate had made clear that its last day in Palestine would be May 15, of 1948. The Zionists determined that they would declare their independence on May 14 and so notified Britain and the United States of that intention; yet neither had opposed the declaration.
Perhaps the celebration should be for the existence of the state of Israel. But that lacks the ring of the glory that attends a state that fought the good fight against a determined enemy and vanquished them.  In fact, the Zionists had from 1939 to 1948 fought an enemy in Palestine, the very Mandated authority placed there by the League of Nations and later by the United Nations and the British Government.  The Zionists were committed to destroy that Mandate despite its efforts to establish “a home for the Jewish people” from 1922.
Ruthless modern terrorism
And so began the ruthless modern Terrorism that plagues the mid-east and beyond. It began in deception and continues to the present day.  Indeed on February 8, 2017 the world had a rather unique look at how this state came into existence through an interview with Lord Jacob Rothschild about, what he declared to be, “a miracle.” “It was the most incredible piece of “optimism”  (emphasis mine) made more so by Dr. Chaim Weizmann’s “seduction” of Lord Balfour, as Lord Rothschild fondly recalls (“Lord Rothschild discusses cousin’s crucial role in ‘miracle’ Balfour Declaration.” The Jewish News, February 8, 2017).
Curious word “opportunism” when it refers to an official British document declared such on November 2, 1917 before Britain had mandated authority to govern Palestine, before Britain consulted with the people that lived in Palestine, before WW II and the suffering inmates of Nazi Germany’s camps gave sympathy for the Jewish people, and before the Mandate government could act on behalf of the Jews being brought to Palestine in fulfillment of the Balfour Declaration. The result, a British government forced to interact with an agency they had designed to help care for the Jews entering Palestine. That Agency declared war against the British authorities as they established a clandestine government in Palestine and acquiesced in silence to the terrorism mentioned above.
There remains but one more word to add to “miracle, opportunism, and seduction” as the good Lord describes the events that made possible the existence of the Jewish state. Cousin Dorothy de Rothschild, a teenager at the time, “was crucially important” because she connected Weizmann to the British establishment, “told him how to integrate, how to insert himself into British establishment life.” Curious indeed that a handful of people could arrange for a miracle that would displace 800,000 Palestinians who had lived on and owned the land of Palestine for thousands of years without so much as a mention of their existence, condemning them to wander to refugee camps in foreign lands, bereft of homes, jobs, citizenship and a life of humiliation and destitution.
 
Catastrophic blunder
But more curious still is the fate of the Palestinian people when the World Zionist Organization realized that its dependence on Britain to ensure “a homeland for the Jewish people” was in jeopardy with the issuance of the White Paper by the Mandate Commissioner to limit the flow of immigrants from Europe, and, “opportunistically” turned both to terrorism and “seduction” of the United States to ensure its conquest of Palestine. Hence their attention to President Truman’s campaign to defeat Dewey by contributions and advertisements to recognize the “new” state.
And thus did Israel become a state, a state like no other, a state given its land by a Government that had no right to it but a 67 word note written to Walter Rothschild, the gentleman who penned the note.  A miracle indeed! Let AviShlaim compress the consequences of the Balfour Declaration into its devastation of the Palestinian people.
Britain’s failure in Palestine can be at least partly attributed to the Balfour Declaration for that was the original sin. In Arabic there is a saying that something that starts crooked, remains crooked. The Balfour Declaration was not just crooked; it was a contradiction in terms. The national home it promised to the Jews was never clearly defined and there was no precedent for it in international law. On the other hand, it was arrogant, dismissive, and even racist, to refer to 90 per cent of the population as “the non-Jewish communities in Palestine.” And it was the worst kind of imperial double standard, implying that there was one law for the Jews, and one law for everybody else.
By the end of the mandate, there was no gratitude and no goodwill left towards Britain on either side of the Arab-Jewish divide. I can only agree with Sir John Chancellor that the Balfour Declaration was a colossal blunder-it has proved to be a catastrophe for the Palestinians and it gave rise to one of the most intense, bitter, and protracted conflicts of modern times.
(AviShlaim, in Wm. Roger Louis, ed., Yet More Adventures with Britannia: Personalities, Politics and Culture in Britain, London, I.  B. Tauris, 2005, pp. 251-270.)
 
Confiscation of Palestine
On February 6 of 2017 to be exact, the fulfillment of the Zionist intent to confiscate all of Palestine (see The Plight of the Palestinians, “Introduction.” Macmillan, 2010) passed the Israeli Knesset by a vote of 60 for and 57 against, a vote that forces the Israeli court to accept legitimization of all land in “Judea and Samaria,” the land still owned by Palestinians in anticipation of recognition by the communities of the world as the Palestinians’ state. Once again, a handful of “opportunistic” people who have “inserted” themselves into the Israeli government to “seduce” their own people of their right to this land because of beliefs proffered centuries ago destroys the rights of the Palestinian people despite the Charters of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights because the United States Congress has become the means to make the Israeli state immune to international law by vetoing the implementation of Justice.
Three developments have merged at this time as Israel celebrates the “miracle” of the Balfour Declaration: the abstention by the United States in the UNSC that allowed a unanimous vote to censure the Israeli state for crimes against humanity; the United Nations International Conference in support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace; and the vote in the Knesset to annex the West Bank preventing the possibility of a Palestinian state. The Knesset vote (60-57), driven by religious zealots cancels out the first two; “the debate is over.  Annexation it is,” (RogelAlpher. Haaretz, Feb. 19, 2017).
B’Tselem condemned the bill’s passage, saying it “proves yet again that Israel has no intention of ending its control over the Palestinians or its theft of their land. Lending a semblance of legality to this ongoing act of plunder is a disgrace or (sic) the state and its legislature. Passing the bill mere weeks after UN Security Council Resolution 2334 is a slap in the face of the international community. While enshrining the dispossession in law is a new development, in practice it is another facet of the massive land grab carried out openly for decades by declaring ‘state land’” (Haaretz2/7/2017, Jonathan Lis).
 
Consequences of dementia
The first and second of these come 69 years after the Zionists declared their “independence,” their declared right to seize the land of the Palestinians regardless of international laws and moral rights declared by the United Nations. For the first time in all those years the Security Council can bring the State of Israel before the Human Rights Council for crimes against Humanity and refer the violations they have enunciated to the International Court of Justice. Equally important is the action that the UN International Peace Conference can take by its recognition of the Palestinian State assuring that the Palestinians have equal status with the Zionist state to negotiate their future relative to rights of return, rights of compensation, rights of land with boundaries that constitute a state, and rights of a free people able to secure stability and safety for its people.
But even as this possibility arises, after 69 years of ever expanding occupation, land seizure, eradication of human rights, invasion and destruction by land, sea and air, the possibility of achieving these ends is declared by the Knesset in its action that effectively erases the existence of Palestine caused by a handful of “opportunists” that have ensured that fear exists in the hearts and minds of Israelis.
As the Jewish state celebrates its “miracle,” the people of the world have overwhelmingly declared that the occupation and oppression by Israel of the people of Palestine must stop. It’s time for resolution: does the world community stand indifferent to the plight of the Palestinians or does rule by international law determine that moral rights, engraved in the conventions of the UN charter, determine human rights. We are faced with determined fanatics that are in control of the Knesset, a situation not unlike what the US faced under the rule of President George W. Bush when a similar force of far right Evangelical fanatics controlled the government. Both groups impose their beliefs on the governing administrations, the Neo Cons of the Bush administration bolstered by the evangelicals when they determined it was God’s truth the US must bring to the world as expressed in the book of Revelation, and the Settlers and their party in the Knesset under Netanyahu crying that the land was a gift to them as recorded in their book of Genesis. Both groups, the extremists and fanatics, are the products of pathological minds indifferent to all others who must suffer the consequences of their dementia.
 
William A. Cook is a Professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. He writes frequently for Internet publications including The Palestine Chronicle, MWC News, Atlantic Free Press, Pacific Free Press, Countercurrents, Counterpunch, World Prout Assembly, Dissident Voice, and Information Clearing House among others. His books include Tracking Deception: Bush Mid-East policy, The Rape of Palestine, The Chronicles of Nefaria, a novella, The Plight of the Palestinians and Age of Fools He can be reached at wcook@laverne.edu or www.drwilliamacook.com

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Reclaiming childhood culinary flavours: Embodying a cross-cultural identity

 
Daisy Sun in Toronto
 

Diversity has always been the defining feature of a quintessential Toronto experience. The sight inside a TTC vehicle during rush hour is one that no doubt exists only in a handful of other places around the world. Each morning, persons of every ethnicity pile themselves onto subways, buses and street cars. Faces of every imaginable skin colour wears the same pre-caffeinated scowl.
Walking into a well-respected dim sum restaurant in Chinatown is like walking into a different world. All sounds are drowned out by the roar of Cantonese and the racket of service carts doing rotations around the room. The clatter of porcelain dinnerware and orders being called-out float above the thunderous rumble.Plates are shared without serving utensils. Tip is standard at ten per cent and leftovers are packed up by the customers themselves.
Full Story
 
Daisy Sun in Toronto
 

Diversity has always been the defining feature of a quintessential Toronto experience. The sight inside a TTC vehicle during rush hour is one that no doubt exists only in a handful of other places around the world. Each morning, persons of every ethnicity pile themselves onto subways, buses and street cars. Faces of every imaginable skin colour wears the same pre-caffeinated scowl.
Walking into a well-respected dim sum restaurant in Chinatown is like walking into a different world. All sounds are drowned out by the roar of Cantonese and the racket of service carts doing rotations around the room. The clatter of porcelain dinnerware and orders being called-out float above the thunderous rumble.Plates are shared without serving utensils. Tip is standard at ten per cent and leftovers are packed up by the customers themselves.
In Toronto from Suzhou
Strolling down the streets of Toronto, it is not uncommon to encounter conversations in completely different languages being held within earshot of one another. In addition to the English vocabulary, many who live in Toronto also manage to curate, over the years, an impressive collection of swear words from around the globe.
The sheer scope of human diversity in Toronto has always been something I am fiercely proud of. Upon arriving in Canada, my dad was shocked to find that there is almost nothing we wanted to eat that we cannot get at the local Chinese supermarket. However, despite the diversity that Toronto so generously offers, there is one kind of experience I lacked growing up here in Canada. For me, there was no food in Canada capable of inducing flashback.  As I listened to other kids talk about well-loved foods that take them back to their childhoods, I often realized I could not relate. When I left China, I also left behind the foods I cherished as a kid.
Growing up in Suzhou, I lived for street food. The best culinary experiences I had happened as I sat at a rickety lawn table on the side of the road, stuffing my face with whatever my grandmother chose to get me from the food stand nearby. I often had something we call doufuhua (tofu flower). It is a stupifyingly simple, yet delicious dish. Delicate tofu is scooped out of a wooden bucket and topped with dried and salted baby shrimp, pickled vegetables, nori (edible seaweed), scallions and parsley. It is served with a soy sauce based broth and drizzled with sesame oil. I loved sinking my little plastic spoon into the tofu and watching it break apart with ease. The whole dish is customarily served in a disposable plastic bowl and meant to be eaten quickly at the side of the road.
 
Chinese food & culture
I also loved shenjianbao (pan-friend bao—a type of steamed, filled bun), a popular breakfast item sold at the local markets every morning. Generous dollops of juicy pork fillings are wrapped up in slightly-risen dough, pan-fried in a skillet the size of the wheel-of-fortune and garnished with scallion before they are devoured by kids and adults alike. When ordered, the baois scooped into a plastic bag and eaten on one’s way to work or brought home to families for breakfast. The pork filling in a shenjianbao is uniquely sweet.  Locals love the distinct flavour that comes from adding sugar to savoury dishes. In Suzhou, we add sugar to everything, braised pork, steamed fish, pork-bone noodle soup, tomato and egg, and bao. My mom loves to say that adding sweetness to savoury helps to bring out the taste of umani.
From where my dad grew up, my grandmother loved to make me sticky rice balls and serve them submerged in a red sugar-based dessert broth. The sticky rice balls are flavored with juice squeezed from young wheat stalks and sprinkled with osmanthus. The sticky sweetness of the dessert broth is diminished and balanced by the earthy taste of wheat stalks and the floral fragrance of osmanthus combined. Although the dish is normally consumed on special occasions, my grandmother never hesitated to make exceptions for her beloved granddaughter.
So why is Toronto unable to offer those kinds of experiences despite its renowned diversity? Mainly because Chinese food is unfathomably complex.It is almost nonsensical to talk about it as a single category of cuisine. Every region in China carries with it its own distinct flavors, traditions and dogmas. Chinese food is deeply rooted in its cultures and inseparable from its core values. While people from around Suzhou prefer sweet and savoury, those from Beijing and the Northern provinces like salty. Sichuan (Szechuan) and its surrounding areas are known for spicy and Guangdong and Hong Kong are heavily influenced by British culinary traditions. Speaking about Chinese food as one category is equivalent to saying “pasta is delicious”. Well, what kind of pasta? How is it cooked? From where in Italy? What sauce is used if any is used at all?
 
Authentic childhood favours
The market for sweet and savoury is unfortunately much too small in Toronto. While food from Beijing, Shanghai and Sichuan thrive in Toronto, not enough immigration happens from Suzhou to support the relatively niche food scene. I missed the taste and the memories associated with the foods I loved the most out of everything that I left behind. No matter how hard my family looked the last fifteen years in Toronto’s robust food scene, we could not find the same flavours we had in Suzhou.
But recently, I am happy to say that after fifteen years, Toronto’s ever-growing diversity delivered. I have had the strange but wonderful experience of being able to have all three of those dishes here in Canada. My first mouthful of doufuhua in fifteen years took me back to a crisp spring day on the sidewalks in Suzhou, when my grandmother decided to buy me my first bowl of that same dish. My mom discovered that she is able to replicate the earthy flavour of wheat stalks by adding matcha powder to sticky rice balls. Finally, a soup dumpling shop at Highway 7 and Leslie manages to copy that savoury sweetness of the famous pork filing of the shenjianbao to a tee. Although home is Toronto, I will always crave the authentic flavours of my childhood because it is a part of who I am. Even though a side-effect of bearing a cross-cultural identity is that defining experiences are more difficult to piece together, it certainly makes journeying there a great deal more interesting.
 
Daisy Sun is a Chinese-Canadian law student based in Toronto, Canada.  She was born in Zuzhou, China and immigrated to Canada with her family in 2003. She holds Bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto with a specialist in Philosophy. She is currently completing her Juris Doctor at the Osgoode Hall Law School. She hopes to pursue a career in immigration and refugee law that incorporates her passion for feminist theory and advocacy. She recently compiled research as a part of the Trinity-Osgoode Credibility Assessment Working Group to created guidelines for the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada that incorporates for the first time the use of social science evidence in refugee hearings. In her free time, she volunteers at the Commissioning Clinic at Parkdale Community Legal Services and Community & Legal Aid Services Programme, providing pro bono legal assistance for persons with low-income.

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