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The Jew Who Drafted the Balfour Declaration

The author of the Balfour Declaration, Leopold Amery, is Jewish, according to William Rubenstein, a professor of modern history at the University of Wales. As the assistant secretary to the British war cabinet in 1917, Amery also helped to create the Jewish Legion. The Legion became the first organized Jewish fighting force since Roman times, and the precursor to the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).

Amery's 1955 autobiography merely mentions his mother, whom he said was on of the many Hungarian exiles fleeing Constantinople. He writes that his father is from an old English family.

Rubinstein's research revealed that Amery's mother was named Elisabeth Joanna Saphir, and the family lived in Pest, which later became Budapest, and the city's first Jewish quarter. He also found that her parents were both Jewish, and that Amery changed his middle name from Moritz to Maurice. This helped him disguise his identity.

Amery's sons took two very different paths in their acknowledgment of their heritage. John joined the side of the Nazis during World War II and was later hanged for treason. Julian became a member of Parliament and a solid supporter of the Jewish state.

Rubenstein has several theories as to why Amery hid his identity. Among them are a genuine fear of persecution, confusion as to his own personal faith after the conversion of his relatives to Protestantism, and possible roadblocks for his future political career. Additionally, he may not have wanted the Jewish community to pressure him for political favors.

Source: Davis Douglas, Balfour Declaration's author was a secret Jew, Jerusalem Post. (January 12, 1999)