People march with the Israeli flag (file image)
Israel has not ceased to exist as a nation. Image by AP PHOTO

History muddled in posts peddling Israel’s expiration date

David Williams November 13, 2023

Israel is no longer a sovereign nation because the Balfour Declaration expired on October 31.


False. Israel's status as a nation is not dependent on the declaration, which has not expired.

Social media posts claim Israel has ceased to exist as a nation, linking it to the alleged expiration of Britain’s support for a Jewish national home in Palestine more than a century ago.

This is false. Israel’s sovereignty was never dependent on the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which does not have an expiration date.

The baffling claims can be traced back to a QAnon conspiracy theory.

This Facebook post is typical of many others, citing the declaration and claiming it expired on October 31, followed by confused claims about Israel being registered as a corporation, which has also expired.

A screenshot of one of the Facebook posts.
 The Balfour Declaration has nothing to do with Israel’s status as a nation. 

But the Balfour Declaration was not a lease or contract with an expiry date.

It was a statement of British support for the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine, made in a November 1917 letter from then British foreign secretary Arthur Balfour to Anglo-Jewish community leader Lionel Rothschild

This explainer contextualises the declaration as part of the terms of the British Mandate for Palestine after the Ottoman Empire was defeated in World War I.

The mandate ended in May 1948, after the United Nations adopted Resolution 181 (the Partition Resolution) in November the previous year, dividing the mandate into Jewish and Arab states.

On May 14, 1948, Jewish Agency leader David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel, which was recognised by US president Harry S. Truman.

The flag of Israel (file image)
 Israel declared its independence in May 1948. 

But the social media posts ignore history, claiming Israel registered as a corporate entity in 1947 and this corporation expired on October 31.

Examples of the posts can be seen here, here, here, here and here

AAP FactCheck followed links in several posts to find the source of the claims.

Similar posts appear online elsewhere with the same text, such as here and in this YouTube video. Some of the posts, such as here and here, link to a Cairns News article, which links to another video discussing similar claims. 

That video also quotes from a text post by “Earnest J. Pfeifer”, which interprets a recent QAnon claim “Israel will be last”. 

The Pfeifer text in this tweet, which has been viewed almost 300,000 times, appears to be the source for many of the claims. This Facebook post, for example, explicitly refers to the tweet.

The post states: “‘ISRAEL WILL BE LAST’ What Did That Q-Drop Mean? It’s All About A Contract! Israel was created by The Khazarian Rothschild Mafia Banksyers in 1948 but their contract as an independent sovereign nation expires the end of October 2023 … They are registered as a corporation address is next to Kensington palace.”

The tweet many posts can be traced back to as their source.
 Many posts can be traced back to this tweet. 

Mention of the Khazars is a well-known anti-Semitic trope, falsely claiming Jewish people are descendants of a Central Asian tribe.

Israel is registered as an overseas entity in the UK for trade purposes. But this is not evidence of it being a corporation.

AAP FactCheck has debunked similar claims about Australia being a corporation because it is registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in order to trade bonds, as seen here and here.

Ran Porat, an expert on Middle Eastern affairs at Monash University, told AAP FactCheck the claims in the posts were false.

“(The Balfour Declaration) is not the source of legitimacy for the existence of the State of Israel,” Dr Porat said.

“But it’s definitely the first major basis for international law that was created in the modern era supporting Israel’s right to exist.

Dr Porat said UN Resolution 181 solidified the idea Israel had international backing.

He said the idea of a lease played no part in the Balfour Declaration and had no standing in how the mandate prepared for a Jewish national home.

Jewish immigration to Ottoman areas involved the purchase of land from landowners, he added. 

“There’s no question that this particular territory that was purchased by Jewish settlers, by Zionists, was a complete purchase – it was ownership, it was not lease. So there’s no grounds for that argument whatsoever,” Dr Porat said.

Dr Porat verified the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, was still fully operational and there were no changes to Israel’s status as a nation on October 31.

The Verdict

The claim the 1917 Balfour Declaration expired on October 31, meaning Israel has lost its sovereign status as a nation, is false.

It is a baseless conspiracy theory which ignores the history of the British Mandate and the formation of the State of Israel in 1948.

An expert in Middle Eastern affairs told AAP FactCheck the claim has no legitimacy and Israel has not been dissolved.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

AAP FactCheck is an accredited member of the International Fact-Checking Network. To keep up with our latest fact checks, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

All information, text and images included on the AAP Websites is for personal use only and may not be re-written, copied, re-sold or re-distributed, framed, linked, shared onto social media or otherwise used whether for compensation of any kind or not, unless you have the prior written permission of AAP. For more information, please refer to our standard terms and conditions.