Scholar Honored for Work on 100th Anniversary of San Remo Conference

Dec. 2, 2020

By STEVE ARNOLD

A Christian scholar has been honoured by a Jewish foundation for his defense of Israel’s right to exist.

Toronto lawyer Jacques Gauthier was given the Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation’s inaugural Advocate Award of Excellence in an online event last week. The prize honoured Gauthier’s doctoral thesis – a 1,100-page behemoth that took more than 25 years to complete – which supported and proved Jewish sovereignty over all of Jerusalem.

The award was presented to mark the centennial of the San Remo Conference, the 1920 gathering where the victors of the First World War drew a new global map that created the Jewish homeland promised three years earlier in the famous Balfour Declaration.

At San Remo, a town in northwest Italy’s Mediterranean coast, the world powers of the day – Britain, France, Italy and Japan, with the United States as neutral observer – divided the former Ottoman Empire into three parts. One became the British Mandate of Palestine, and another the Emirate of Transjordan, where a British ally was installed as king. The third portion became a French mandate that controlled parts of today’s Syria and Lebanon.

The San Remo resolution confirmed putting Palestine under a British Mandate and affirmed the 1917 Balfour promise of support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine.

That action, Gauthier concluded, created a binding international agreement that gave Israel a legal claim to its land.

“This is a truth that has been hidden by the machinations of the nations,” Gauthier said in accepting the honour. “The identity of Israel is intimately linked to this legal fact. Jews are not in Israel as usurpers, they are there by legal right. The San Remo conference was the moment when the Balfour Declaration was crowned.

“When I started my work I didn’t understand the extent to which it was holy work,” he added. “I wanted to bring this truth into a light that is bigger than Jacques Gauthier.”

Israel’s first president, Chaim Weizmann, who attended the San Remo conference with Nahum Sokolow and Herbert Samuel, described the actions as seismic shifts for the Jewish world.

“Weizmann called San Remo the biggest political event in the history of the Zionist movement, maybe in the history of the Jewish people since the exile,” said Israel’s consul general in Toronto and western Canada, Galit Baram.

Others who spoke at the event lauded Gauthier’s work and the San Remo resolution as tools to crush arguments that Jews have no claim to the land of Israel.

“By focusing on the legal facts of the matter Jacques has brought San Remo to life,” said long-time friend Michael Diamond. “He has taught Israelis that they have a solid basis in international law for their claims.”

Israeli lawyer Yifa Segal, another participant, said Gauthier’s work in bringing the San Remo resolution back into public view is an important step in refuting arguments Israel has no right to exist.

“His analysis of Israel’s right to exist lays the groundwork for one of the most important battles of our age,” Segal said. “He shows that international law fully supports our claim to the land.

“There is a fundamentally wrong premise that the land of Israel does not belong to the Jewish people,” she added. “This is a false legal narrative that forces us to fight a new war for our very existence.”