Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the San Remo Conference
As Christian Zionists we believe it’s important to understand how Israel became a nation in 1948. It wasn’t simply one event but years and years of events, resolutions, and the buying and selling of land that led to the rebirth of Israel—all under the watchful eye of God. Today we’re learning about the San Remo Conference. This important conference did more for Israel than many understand and this year marks its 100 year anniversary!
This conference is not simply something people look back to. It’s actually referenced today and Chris will explain how current peace talks in the Middle East are connected.
Chris discusses the recent Israel election results with some of our colleagues in Canada. Take a look… https://www.facebook.com/FOIcanada/videos/1586758544815802/
Steve Conover: Welcome to The Friends of Israel Today, I'm Steve Conover and with me is our host and teacher, Chris Katulka. While parts of the U.S. are opening up, we're still producing this program from our homes, and we're so thankful that we've been able to continue to bring you new episodes of The Friends of Israel Today during this time of uncertainty. It's in these times of uncertainty we want to fellowship with you through prayer. Prayer is a gift from God that unites believers all over the world.
And perhaps you're feeling fearful or uncertain. Well, we want to pray for you, so when you visit our website at foiradio.org there's a prayer form you can fill out, and when we receive those prayer requests we'll pray privately for you. These prayers will not be mentioned on air, but our team will bring them before our loving heavenly Father. Thank you to all of those that have contacted us and asked for prayer already. It has been a joy to bear these burdens with you. Also, while you're at foiradio.org you can watch some interviews Chris did with our frequent guests and colleagues.
Chris Katulka: Yeah, we've been doing some fantastic interviews. For instance, we talked about why the Jewish people have always been blamed for plagues and epidemics, and you know what? COVID-19 is no different than from what the past has been showing us. Steve Herzig and myself, we did an online interview talking about the history of blaming Jewish people, anti-semitism that comes from this. Also, we've spoken with Israeli pastors talking about the work that they're doing in Israel during the Coronavirus crisis. You can find these at foiradio.org.
Now, today on the radio program, I'm very excited. We're actually going to be celebrating along with Israel, and along with the Jewish community all around the world, the centennial celebration of the San Remo conference, a very important conference that happened back in 1920 that actually paved a way for the Jewish people to become a state again, so you're not going to want to miss it.
Steve Conover: But first in the news, now that a unity government is formed in Israel with Netanyahu at the helm for another 18 months, the prime minister is advancing his desire to annex large portions of the West Bank unilaterally without an agreement with the Palestinians. The Trump administration has indicated it supports the unilateral decision of the Israeli government since the Palestinians have refused to enter into peace following the White House rollout of the Prosperity to Peace Vision for Israelis and Palestinians.
Chris Katulka: Yeah, this is quite interesting Steve, because I've been reading articles that are showing that the Trump administration is giving the green light, the go ahead for the Netanyahu government to move forward with the annexation of large areas of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, but that doesn't come without criticism. Currently, there are many European Union countries that are pretty much begging Netanyahu not to do this, but see, I take a different perspective than really what the European Union is showing, and I personally believe that the West Bank is Israeli land.
It's not “occupied territory”, as many like to call it. It's disputed land, and international law favors Israel's right to annex it. I also believe biblically that the West Bank is the heart of the land for the Jewish people. God said to Abraham in Genesis 13, "To you, I give this land." Where was Abraham standing when God said that to him? He was standing in what is now the West Bank when he received that word from the Lord. Listen, God gave the land, all of it, to the Jewish people.
Zionists all around the world are remembering and celebrating a momentous occasion that happened 100 years ago. So first, let me define something. Let me define what a Zionist is. I know this term is thrown around by some who almost consider it a bad word, but the term Zionist isn't a bad word at all actually. It's this; if you believe that Jewish people have a right to exist in their ancient homeland Israel, then you're a Zionist. Let me add one more thing. If you're a Bible believing Christian who believes that Jewish people have a right to exist in their ancient homeland because God gave it to them according to the Scriptures, then that makes you a Christian Zionist. Zionism is not a bad word at all. It's actually a pretty complex word because you might have certain viewpoints on the two state solution or you might have certain outlooks on who should live in certain areas of the land.
You know what? That doesn't actually determine whether or not you're a Zionist or not. As long as you believe that Jewish people have a right to self-determination in the land, that makes you a Zionist. And if you believe that because of the Scriptures, you're a Christian Zionist. Zionists have a reason to celebrate this year because 100 years ago in 1920 the allied powers who won World War I met in San Remo, Italy for one of the most significant meetings related to the creation of a homeland for the Jewish people.
So first, I'm going to give you some context here. Prior to World War I, the Ottoman Empire controlled a large portion of the Middle East from modern day Turkey, to Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. In its earlier years, the Ottoman Empire even had parts of Eastern Europe and Northern Africa. Either way from 1517 to 1917 that area that is now Israel was controlled by the Ottoman Empire. As the global conflict of World War I was raging, the Allied Powers versus the Central Powers, it really is going to determine the outcome of what happens to the Ottoman Empire. The war actually started in Europe but quickly escalated into other continents and other countries.
The Ottoman Empire sided with the Germans and other Central Powers making them a target for the Allied Powers, which included the United Kingdom, France, Japan, the United States, and Italy. The war ended in 1918, and the Allied Powers won, and the Ottoman Empire's long standing rule over the Middle East came crumbling down, leaving the Allied Powers to decide the fate of the Middle East. Now bear in mind, this is important to note, Jewish people from all around the world had already been working for decades to convince the world powers to give permission for the Jewish people to create their own state. The State of Israel is not simply a byproduct of what happened in World War I and World War II, Jewish people had been working to make sure that they have a homeland that they can go to.
A specific Jewish man named Theodor Herzl in the late 19th early 20th century met with actually the Ottoman Sultan and the Kaiser of Germany to request permission to establish a Jewish state. So, this is even happening before World War I. This is even happening before World War II. He was trying to convince major world powers of their endeavors, and for some, their message was met with optimism. They were excited to think about the fact that the Jewish people would return to their ancient homeland, but for others it fell on deaf ears. Either way, the message of the desire for the Jewish people to reconstitute themselves in their ancient Homeland was getting out into the world. The world Zionist Congress was formed in 1897, 17 years even before World War I started.
Leading up to World War I, the world powers at that time knew that the Jewish people wanted a homeland in the area that was called Palestine at that time. In fact, during World War I, the British government issued what is now known as the Balfour Declaration in 1917, and I want to read it to you because it becomes very important to our discussion here.
It says this, "His Majesty's government," this is coming out of the United Kingdom, "His Majesty's government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object. It being clearly understood that nothing shall be done, which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and the political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
The British government already had the directive to see a Jewish state formed in their ancient homeland, and this document actually that was formed in 1917 coming out of England, which said we want to help the Jewish people form a homeland for themselves in Israel, that is Israel today, this document will actually become the basis for what we're going to talk about, the San Remo conference that happened between April 19th and April 26th 1920. The major Allied Powers met in San Remo, Italy to discuss the outcome of the Ottoman Empire. Who would rule in that area, and what would it look like? How would it be mapped out?
Present at the conference where Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States. Now, the United States were observers only. All of the other issues when it came to dividing up the Ottoman Empire and issuing who would rule in that area were coming from Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and France. The San Remo resolution actually passed on the 25th of April determining the allocation of Class “A” League of Nations mandates for the administration of three unidentified Ottoman territories in the Middle East, and these included Palestine, Syria, and Mesopotamia, which is today modern day Iraq.
Essentially, the British government and the French government were looking to see who was going to take control of these areas. The British delegation to San Remo was spearheaded by prime minister David Lloyd George, and Lord Curzon who replaced Lord Balfour as the foreign minister in 1919. Balfour, the one who wrote the Balfour Declaration, was present at the conference even though he wasn't the foreign minister at that time, but he acted as a consultant for final settlement issues. At both meetings the French expressed many reservations about the inclusion of the Balfour Declaration in this peace treaty, and it was only after the exertion of British pressure that they were gradually persuaded to agree to it.
Listen to what the parties agreed to for Palestine, which is now Israel. This comes from the San Remo conference that happened in April 100 years ago. "The high contracting parties agreed to entrust by application of the provisions of article 22," they wrote, "the administration of Palestine within such boundaries as may be determined by the principle Allied Powers to a mandatory to be selected by the said powers. The mandatory will be responsible for putting into effect a declaration originally made on November 8th, 1917 by the British government, and adopted by other allied powers in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.
It being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country." See, they basically just picked up in San Remo on the Balfour Declaration. In the end the French came in and they took control of Syria, and the British took control of Palestine and Iraq at that time, it became the British mandate in Palestine.
The British were charged to ratify the Balfour Declaration in Palestine. They were tasked to create a homeland for the Jewish people. So, think about this for a minute, everything we just went through. Prior to the San Remo conference, not a single Arab independent nation state existed. Every Arab state that exists on the map today became sovereign nation states as a result of the San Remo conference or later agreements that came after that. Now, think about what that means for Israel. The legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state is equal or greater to the legitimacy of any other Arab nation state that you see on the map. If Syria claims its nation statehood or Iraq or Lebanon, if they have the right to claim their right to exist as a sovereign nation state, then Israel has the exact same legitimacy.
Two years later the articles of the San Remo conference were ratified by a unanimous vote, by more than 50 member countries of the league of nations with the explicit goal of overseeing the establishment of a state for the Jewish people. Think about this. Basically the resolutions passed at San Remo and subsequently by the League of Nations codified the Jewish people's right to a homeland under international law. Those same laws of the League of Nations were carried over into the United Nations.
Here's what Israel's first president, Chaim Weizmann, had to say about the San Remo agreement. He said this, "The recognition of our rights in Palestine is embodied in the treaty with Turkey, and has become part of international law." This is the most momentous political event in the whole history of our movement and is perhaps, no exaggeration to say, in the whole history of our people since the exile. Weizmann, the first president of Israel, is saying that San Remo is up there with Cyrus the Great from the Bible giving permission for the Jewish people to return home from exile.
Now listen, when we come back we're going to continue this conversation on the San Remo conference, and I want to show you how San Remo plays right into the conversation that's going on right now about Israel annexing large portions of the West Bank, Judea and Samaria. So, you're not going to want to miss this. Be sure to stick around.
Steve Conover: Have you ever wondered why God chose the Jewish people to bring his plan of redemption to the world? And why after all these years are they back in their ancient homeland? From the former executive director of The Friends of Israel, Elwood McQuaid, We're pleased to offer this beautiful revised and updated edition of It Is No Dream. This book gives insights into the entire biblical and prophetic program for Israel.
Chris Katulka: Steve, when I think about giving somebody a book who might be interested in what's going on in Israel, how Israel became a nation again, what God has to say about the modern state of Israel, and the history of Israel, I think of Elwood's book, It Is No Dream. It's a foundational book to The Friends of Israel.
It's really the DNA of The Friends of Israel, how God has been working all throughout from the biblical times even to today, how God has been working through politics and in everything to show that he has a plan and a purpose for Israel and the Jewish people. This is really a must have for every Christian who wants to gain a new understanding of the unchangeable miracle of Israel, a fresh sense of kinship with the land and the Jewish people, and a renewed awareness of what our sovereign Messiah has accomplished in the lives of true Christians.
Steve Conover: You can purchase your copy of It Is No Dream when you visit us at foiradio.org. That's foiradio.org. We'll have the link on our page or you can call our listener line at (888) 343-6940, and someone will return your call during our regular business hours. Again, that's (888) 343-6940.
Chris Katulka: Welcome back everyone. We are honoring the centennial celebration of the San Remo conference when the principle powers after World War I agreed to enact the Balfour Declaration giving the Jewish people the right to establish a homeland in Palestine, which is their ancient homeland. Now, San Remo isn't some bygone conference with little to do with Israel anymore. No way. In fact, the ramifications for the San Remo agreement are still being played out today.
It's been reported that the Trump administration is going to green light the annexation of major portions of the West Bank to Israel. We talked about that earlier in the news. Trump wants Israel to play nice with the Palestinians, but it seems like his administration is understanding that Israel is not occupying the West Bank as many would have you believe, but that really the West Bank is disputed territory. There was no Palestinian state in the West bank prior to 1967. In fact, there has never been a Palestinian state. Israel is not occupying someone else's land. Whose land is it?
Well, the West Bank is one of the most talked about pieces of property in the world. The world often thinks Israel stole the land from the Palestinians, but that's not true. When the San Remo articles were drafted it included a large swath of land that was known today as Jordan, as well. That means that the League of Nations approved giving the Jewish people all of Israel, all of the West Bank, and even the East Bank for that matter. That happened between 1920 and 1922, but after World War II the United Nations cut out nearly two thirds of what the League of Nations promised them leaving a Jewish people with but just a little sliver of land.
And they still, the Jewish people that were living in British Palestine at that time, still agreed to the UN Resolution, but the Arab Nations and the Palestinian said they wanted nothing to do with the deal. It was called UN Resolution 181. It was the partition plan because it partitioned the land that was promised to the Jewish people under the San Remo conference in the League of Nations. The Palestinians said no to the partition plan that promised them the land by the UN.
According to international law experts, the Palestinians refusal to accept the partition plan essentially nullifies UN 181. When you're talking about real estate, both parties have to agree to the terms. It's not an agreement unless both parties agree to it. Since the UN partition plan of 1947 didn't work out and both parties didn't agree to it, international law demands that they fall back on previous law that was already established. This law goes back to the San Remo conference that was then ratified by the nations two years later at the League of Nations, which promised the Jewish people the land that included the West Bank.
Does Netanyahu and his government have the right to annex the West Bank? They do. It's their land according to the San Remo conference. Do the Israelis have the right to give portions of the West Bank to the Palestinians to start a state of their own? Yes, they do. It's their land according to the San Remo conference, and the League of Nations. San Remo was the moment the principle powers of the world in 1920 saw the need for the establishment of the Jewish state in their ancient homeland. Even more so, San Remo was a major moment in God's hand moving the Jewish people back to their homeland. Really a beautiful testimony to the faithfulness of God to his people.
Steve Conover: Now, Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life and ministry of Holocaust survivor, Zvi Kalisher.
Mike Kellogg: Most of the world is against God's chosen people, Israel. This nation occupies a very small piece of land, yet it is the subject of more news reports than any other nation. Jealousy fuels this animosity. Throughout the Bible God tells Israel not to fear as the Lord protected us from Pharaoh in Egypt, so he will protect us from our present enemies. Now we are in a situation similar to when Pharaoh chased the Israelites to the Red Sea.
We're surrounded by Arab nations whose favorite slogan is, "Butcher the Jews, cast them into the sea." But we must never repay them with hatred. We must show them the love of Christ. Often I have the opportunity to speak with my Arab neighbors. Just as with the ultra Orthodox Jews, we sometimes speak for many hours before we get around to the most important subject of all; faith in Christ.
When I speak with Arabs, I must first draw them away from the blind hatred of Jewish people, and then we begin to speak about faith in Christ. They're usually interested in continuing our dialogue about Christ. Recently, my neighbors had with them a sheikh, one who knows the Quran. I spoke with him and he began by asking, "Where does the Torah say this land belongs to the Jews?"
Quickly I showed him Genesis 13, verses 14 through 17, Genesis 15:8, and Exodus 23:31, where the Lord promised the land of Israel to Abraham and his descendants forever. The sheikh immediately said, "Oh, that cannot be. The Quran says it is not so." I replied, "Ask your teachers when the Bible was written, and when the Quran was written. They will have to tell you honestly, the Bible was written first. It is the authentic Word of God."
He asked, "How can you Jews speak about Christ?" I replied, "I believe because Christ is written about in the Jewish Scriptures. As a good Jew, I must believe what is written there. I believe in the One who was pierced for our transgressions as it is written in Isaiah 53:5." By this time, more of my Arab neighbors had joined the group and they seemed interested in what I was saying. I told them, "Perhaps one day all of Arabs and Israelis will be able to come together and speak as we're doing now."
As it is written in Isaiah 11:6, "One day the wolf also shall dwell with the lamb. The leopard shall lie down with the young goat; the calf and the young lion, and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them." But this prophecy can only be fulfilled once we all believe in Christ, the only one who can enable people to put aside their differences in hatred, and love and serve one another through him. Jesus commanded, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." I pray we will soon see a great harvest among the Arabs, as well as among the Jewish people here in His Holy land.
Steve Conover: I'd like to thank each of our listeners joining us today. Chris, next week we're changing gears and starting a new series.
Chris Katulka: Yeah, we're going to do an Encountering Jesus series. We're going to look at some personal moments in the gospels where Jesus had some one-on-one moments with individuals, and really to show the character and nature of who Jesus is in the gospels, and how that applies to our life. Also, I'd like to remind our listeners to go to foiradio.org before this program closes out. Remember foiradio.org. If you have a prayer request or you're struggling with anxiety during this time, anything that we can do to be praying for you and fellowshipping with you during this time can be found at foiradio.org.
Steve Conover: Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione, co-written by Sarah Fern. Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold. Our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong. I'm Steve Conover, Executive Producer. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
It Is No Dream
By Elwood McQuaid
Have you ever wondered why God chose the Jewish people to bring His plan of redemption to the world? And why, after all these years, are they back in their ancient homeland?
It Is No Dream by former executive director Elwood McQuaid gives insights into the entire biblical and prophetic program for Israel.
HOW CAN WE PRAY FOR YOU?
Apples of Gold: Arab Neighbors
Throughout the Bible, God tells Israel not to fear. As the Lord protected the Jewish people from Pharaoh in Egypt, He will also protect Israel from their present day enemies. This week in Apples of Gold, a dramatic retelling from the life of Holocaust survivor Zvi Kalisher, you’ll hear him speak of a similar situation. Arab nations call for the butchering of the Jews, but Zvi says that we must never repay them with hatred, but instead, show them the love of Christ.
Zvi’s story is available in Elwood McQuaid’s book, “Zvi: The Miraculous Story of Triumph over the Holocaust,” available at our online store.
More stories from Zvi are also available in his book, “The Best of Zvi,” available at our online store.
The Friends of Israel Today and Apples of Gold theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.