Too few Jews and an infinitesimal number of non-Jews know and appreciate the importance of the conference that took place in the town of San Remo from April 19-26, 1920, but if we want to understand the entire history of the re-establishment of the Jewish state in Israel, then knowing about the events at San Remo is a must. CAEF volunteer, writer and editor, Julian Zuckerbrot, has produced a wonderful concise summary of the story, that also adds colour and dynamism to the Hagaddah, if we view it as the eternal Jewish journey to freedom. CAEF is proud to offer this to all readers and supporters. Please share it widely.
Israel’s Magna Carta is 100 Years Old How the road to a Jewish state came to be built through an Italian resort town
By Julian Zuckerbrot
San Remo is a picturesque spot on the Italian Riviera with a casino, a beach, and plenty of cafes and restaurants: the unlikeliest location for one of the most important events in the history of the modern Middle East. Yet it was in this pleasant resort town that, almost precisely a century ago, the leaders of the most powerful countries in the world – the victors of the First World War – re-drew the maps of the Middle East. They took what, for 400 years, had been the possessions of the Ottoman Empire and, in their place, laid the groundwork for the emergence of Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon – and of Israel.
In the political and legal struggle for a Jewish homeland, what emerged from that Italian town during the month of April 1920 – later endorsed by additional treaties and ratified by the world community – was the greatest development to take place between the first Zionist Congress in 1897 and the declaration of the State of Israel in 1948. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 was significant because it expressed Great Britain’s sympathy, support, and its desire to assist in the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine; when the Declaration was included in the resolution that came out of the San Remo Conference, backed by the world community, it gained legal and political force. The San Remo Resolution created legal title to a specific territory that would be a state for the Jews. Nothing that has taken place in the last hundred years has replaced it or lessened its effect.
The San Remo Resolution is “Israel’s Magna Carta,” in the words of Lord Curzon, the British foreign secretary who championed it at the conference. “This is the most momentous political event in the whole history of our movement,” Chaim Weizmann, who led the Zionist Organization delegation at San Remo, said not long afterwards. And, added the man who went on to become the first President of Israel “perhaps…in the whole history of our people since the Exile.”
The San Remo Resolution evolved into the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, which was ultimately incorporated in the United Nations Charter, and so carries more weight in international law than anything to come out of the UN. It is far more significant, for example, than the much better-known UN Resolution 181 of 1947, which called for the splitting of Palestine into two states. As with all General Assembly resolutions, that one could only be a recommendation, and it was in any case trampled into the dust by the armies that attacked the new nation of Israel.
Canadians for Israel’s Legal Rights, a project of the Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation, in cooperation with Im Tirtzu invites you to
The importance of the San Remo Conference with regard to Palestine cannot be overstated: (read full article posted by CILR here) Excerpts here are some facts to remember.
For the first time in history, Palestine became a legal and political entity;
The Jewish people were recognized as the national beneficiary of the trust granted to Britain in Palestine for the duration of the Mandate -- a “sacred trust of civilization” as per the League Covenant;
The Balfour Declaration of 1917 -- which “viewed with favour” the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine -- was now to be “put into effect” and thus became a binding act in international law;
The de jure sovereignty of Palestine was vested in the Jewish people, though it was kept in abeyance until the Mandate expired in 1948;
The terms of the San Remo Resolution were included in the Treaty of Sèvres and remained unchanged in the finally ratified Treaty of Lausanne of 1923.
The Arabs received equivalent national rights in all the remaining parts of the Middle East -- over 96% of the total area formerly governed by the Ottoman Turks.
Commemorating the San Remo Conference should be more than a mere remembrance. It enjoins us to consider the legal reach of the binding decisions made in 1920 and to ensure that we do not entertain incompatible positions when political expediency clashes with unassailable rights enshrined in international law, namely the acquired rights of the Jewish people in their ancestral land. No wonder the Palestinian Authority -- intent on eliminating the “Zionist entity,” as spelled out in the PLO Charter -- abhors the provisions of the San Remo Resolution, which they view as the root of a catastrophe engineered by “Zionist gangs.”
In reality, the San Remo Resolution and the ensuing clauses of the Mandate for Palestine are akin to a treaty entered into and executed by each and every one of the 52 member states of the League of Nations, in addition to the United States which is bound by a separate treaty with Great Britain, ratified in 1925.
So next time you hear about the “occupation of the West Bank” and its supposedly “illegal settlements” -- an almost daily occurrence in the discourse of the Palestinian Arabs and their supporters -- you should remember that this territory, like the rest of Israel, was lawfully restored to the Jewish people in 1920 and its legal title has been internationally guaranteed and never revoked since. Any negotiation towards achieving a lasting peace should be based on this fact.
Last but not least, San Remo marked the end of the longest colonization period in history. After 1,850 years of foreign occupation, oppression and banishment by a succession of foreign powers (Romans, Byzantines, Sassanid Persians, Arabs, Crusaders, Mamluks and Ottoman Turks), the Nation of Israel was reborn in April 1920, thus paving the way for the proclamation of the State of Israel, 28 years later. This liberation from foreign rule should normally be celebrated by all the progressive elites who have traditionally supported every national freedom movement. But it isn’t so, for reasons that defy reason.
L-R: Salomon Benzimra - CILR, Goldi Steiner - CILR, Danny Danon - MK Israel, Eli Hertz - M&F, NYC, Tomas Sandell - ECI, David Noakes