For many years in the nineteenth century the Board was headed by Sir Moses Montefiore (1784-1885), the giant figure of Victorian England's Anglo-Jewish community and then, until the 1930s, by members or associates of the wealthy "Cousinhood
" families like the Rothschilds and d'Avigdor-Goldsmids.
Dinesen's "greatest ambition became to belong to this side of her father's family" and, as Arendt suggests, it was the narrative power of the importance of cousinhood
that led Dinesen to her disastrous marriage to the twin brother of her cousin Hans Blixen, with whom she departed for Africa.
The stages he describes are the early years 1760-1828, the Montefiore era 1828-74, the cousinhood
period 1874-1917, decline and fall of the old regime 1917-39, Zionists take control 1939-64, towards the 21st century 1964-96, and looking forward and looking back.
It is certainly true that the opposition to the Balfour Declaration, some of it in the cabinet, and to "Ziomania" by the aristocratic Anglo-Jewish "cousinhood
," was formidable, yet the greatest of the cousinhood
and leader of Anglo-Jewry was the Declaration's addressee, Lord Walter de Rothschild, who felt that Western Europe's Jews were safe and prosperous but that the wretched Eastern European Jews required a place of refuge and was satisfied--and many of the "cousins" agreed with him--that it should be in the ancient homeland and that he, like others, would devote resources to economic development and building up the land for settlement, even though they would not make aliyah themselves.