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VENUE: Committee Room 14, House of Commons, Palace of Westminster, SW1A 0AA
SPEAKERS: Greetings and opening remarks by Ambassador Mark Regev Ambassador of Israel to the Court of St James
Ambassador Dore Gold, former Director General, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ambassador Alan Baker, former Israeli Ambassador to Canada
Yair Hirschfeld, Middle East Peace Negotiator
Professor Andrew Roberts, Historian and Journalist
Closing remarks and vote of thanks by Rt Hon Michael Gove MP former Minister of Justice
The 1917 Balfour Declaration set the stage for the restoration of the national homeland of the Jewish people that became the State of Israel. Just shy of one hundred years later, a determined group of Israel’s detractors in the UK and elsewhere are seeking to get official bodies to renounce the Balfour Declaration on legal, historical and political grounds. While Britain’s relationship with the Zionist movement was a complex one, the Balfour declaration marks a high point of its early recognition of the fundamental justice of Jews’ longing for their homeland. It could, in fact, be deemed to be an early incarnation of ‘two states for two peoples’. It is a tragic reality that arguments rage on a century later, and a solution to the conflict remains elusive. However, this should not mean that the meaning and consequences of the Balfour Declaration are distorted for the purposes of politics.
By kind invitation of the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, the Henry Jackson Society is pleased to invite you to an event with Ambassador Dore Gold, Ambassador Alan Baker, Yair Hirschfeld, Andrew Roberts and Ambassador Mark Regev. This illustrious panel of speakers will offer considered views seeking to set the record straight about Balfour’s continuing validity and relevance for our time.
Ambassador Dore Gold is President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Ambassador Gold was the eleventh Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations (1997-1999). In June 2015, Dore Gold left the Jerusalem Center, which he had led since 2000, to serve as Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, an appointment by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. During his tenure at the Foreign Ministry, until October 2016, Ambassador Gold advanced policies that strengthened Israel on a global level. In January 2014, he was appointed as an external advisor on international issues to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. During Prime Minister Netanyahu’s first term, and in the capacity of foreign policy advisor, Ambassador Gold served as an envoy to the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf States. Ambassador Gold also served as an advisor to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Ambassador Alan Baker is Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and is also the head of the Global Law Forum. He participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians, as well as agreements and peace treaties with Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon. He served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as Israel’s ambassador to Canada.
Yair Hirschfeld has been involved in promoting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process since 1979. He prepared a research paper which became the conceptual model for the Oslo negotiations. He led the non-official Israeli team in Norway and became a member of the official Israeli negotiating team leading to the conclusion of the Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles of September 1993. Hirschfeld works with former opponents of the peace process, particularly rabbinical leaders of the settlement community and others in order to achieve a politically inclusive approach in support of a two state solution.
Professor Andrew Roberts is a historian and journalist. He is a visiting professor at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London and a Lehrman Institute lecturer at the New York Historical Society. His journalism appears widely, often in The Daily Telegraph and The Spectator. He is the author of The Storm of War which won the British Army Military Book of the Year Award for 2010 and of nearly twenty further volumes including Eminent Churchillians and Elegy: The First Day on the Somme. He has advised numerous think tanks and this year was made President of Cambridge University’s Conservative Association.
Ambassador Mark Regev is the Ambassador of Israel to the United Kingdom since April 2016. Prior to that, he was the chief spokesman for the Prime Minister of Israel, a position he held from 2007 to 2015. He joined Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1990, serving as deputy chief of mission at the Consulate General in Hong Kong, and spokesman at the Israeli Embassy in Beijing. He also served as spokesman at the Embassy in Washington, D.C. and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem from 2004 to 2007.