Rebecca Kaplan                                  IA Summary Sheet  How did Britain, who initially supported the Arab desire...
   The “Weizmann myth” – the idea that Weizmann was merely a convenient tool    for British policymakers and does not des...
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  1. 1. Rebecca Kaplan IA Summary Sheet How did Britain, who initially supported the Arab desire for national state in the Middle East, become the only public proponent of the Zionist cause?Books: The Peace to End All Peace by David Fromkin Chaim Weizmann: Making of a Statesman by Jehuda ReinahrzSummary of Evidence: In February of 1916, Mark Sykes of the British government and Georges Picot ofthe French governments concluded a secret agreement known as the Sykes PicotAgreement, dividing the Ottoman Empire, and Middle East into Russian, French andBritish spheres of influence. Vague promises of a British and French controlled Arabstate were made, and the area of Palestine would be ruled by a vaguely definedinternational organization. Sykes later became acquainted with Zionist leader and President of the BritishZionist Federation Chaim Weizmann, whose permanent goal was to put Palestine under aBritish protectorate, which would allow the Jews to establish a homeland. Sykes wanted aJewish-Arab-Armenian alliance with the Anglo-French Entente, but in a February 7,1917 meeting between Zionist leaders and Sykes, the Zionists insisted upon Britishsuzerainty over the area. Zionist Nahum Sokolow secured a letter from Jules Cambon,Director-General of the French Foreign Ministry, demonstrating a friendly attitude of theFrench towards the creation of a Jewish homeland. In light of Weizmann’s promise of growing worldwide Jewish support forZionism as well as the Cambon Letter, Balfour was advised to issue a public statementdemonstrating a British commitment to the creation of a Jewish Homeland, whichresulted in the November 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration.Topics for discussion:  British opinion about Palestine prior to the Sykes-Picot agreement  Personal and political factors that made British statesman more inclined to support the Arab desire for statehood  The influence of Jews in the British government: who were they and how did they impact the signing of the Balfour Declaration?  Dissenting opinions within the British Zionist Party about how Palestine should be administered and the effects on British policymaking  Worldwide Jewish opinion towards Zionism and Palestine and its effect on the opinions of the British government  Weizmann’s rise to power within the British Zionist party and how he promoted his own goal of a British protectorate in Palestine  Weizmann’s influence and contacts within the British government  Sokolow’s role and the importance of his negotiations with France  Sykes’ role in the question of a British administered Palestine  Zionist and British benefits from the Balfour Declaration – who had the ultimate victory when it was signed
  2. 2.  The “Weizmann myth” – the idea that Weizmann was merely a convenient tool for British policymakers and does not deserve as much credit for the Balfour Declaration as he is often given Weizmann’s role in getting the British to issue the Balfour Declaration o Fromkin: Sokolow played a big role with his negotiations, and Weizmann, though influential, was not critical to the signing of the Balfour Declaration o Reinharz: In examining the depth of Weizmann’s contacts and meetings with British policymakers, as well as his unwavering commitment to a British protectorate in Palestine, it is clear that he was vital in convincing the British to sign the Balfour Declaration