At a well attended meeting held at Harpenden Quaker Meeting House on 19th January a group of members and supporters presented a reading of an adaptation of “The Balfour Declaration – Arthur Looks Back”, a play taken from a book by Warren Bardsley a retired Methodist Minister* . The play imagines what James Balfour would have thought, 100 years after the Balfour Declaration of 1917, if he became aware of what has happened to the Palestinian people since the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948. Led by a Palestinian Christian, he becomes distressed by these consequences as he sees the separation wall, the Palestinian villages, the refugee camps and the Israeli settlements. He meets Chaim Weizmann, the first Israeli President, who is similarly distressed but hopes that inspired leaders may emerge who can find a solution which will satisfy both the Israelis and the Palestinians. The presentation was enhanced by slides which illustrated the ‘consequences’ that were described and the whole presentation was a powerful and moving presentation of one of the most intractable international issues. The reading was followed by a discussion of the issues raised, in which a panel of people who have visited the region gave thoughtful answers to thoughtful questions from the audience.
* “Consequences – the Trial of Arthur James Balfour” Warren Bardsley