This brilliant and groundbreaking study of international relations in the Middle East during World War I traces the complex course of events that led to the Balfour Declaration in 1917. Isaiah Friedman offers an original and authoritatively documented reassessment of many crucial and controversial issues relating to the question of Palestine, issues that have bedevilled Middle Eastern politics until the present day. The book won the Kaplan Prize in Israeli Studies of The National Jewish Book Council when it initially appeared.
The author's primary concern is with the motivations of British policy toward the Zionist movement In his new introduction, Friedman traces in detail the evolving attitudes of prominent English statesmen and public men toward the idea of Jewish settlement in Palestine. He challenges the view current among many British historians that the Balfour Declaration was the result of a miscalculation, a product of sentiment rather than of considered interests of state. He shows that one of the most important motives in British support of the Zionists was to counter the posssibilty of a Turkish-German protectorate of a Jewish Palestine emerging in the aftermath of the war. He also sheds new light on the Sykes-Picot Agreement and examines the intricate question of whether or not Palestine was a "twice promised land," an issue that still has political bearing today.