ProPalestine Activist Defaces Painting Linked to Balfour Declaration
ProPalestine Activist Defaces Painting Linked to Balfour Declaration

London: A Pro-Palestine Activist Defaces 20th-Century Painting of British Figure Linked to Israel Declaration

In a protest action at Cambridge University on Friday, a pro-Palestinian activist defaced a painting of Arthur Balfour, a prominent British figure known for his role in the establishment of Israel. The activist claimed that Balfour's 1917 declaration paved the way for the displacement of Palestinians and the creation of Israel.

A video circulated by the Palestine Action protest group on social media captured the moment when a woman sprayed red paint on the life-sized portrait of Balfour before repeatedly cutting it with a knife. This act comes amidst a series of protests sparked by the recent Israel-Hamas conflict.

Balfour's declaration, issued during the decline of Ottoman rule in the Middle East and Britain's emergence as a global power, expressed support for the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine while safeguarding the rights of existing non-Jewish communities. This declaration marked a significant milestone in the Zionist movement and laid the groundwork for British governance of Palestine.

For years, Palestinians have demanded an apology from Britain for the repercussions of the Balfour Declaration, which they view as the starting point of their displacement.

The British oversight of Palestine concluded amid conflict in 1947-48, resulting in the establishment of the State of Israel and the mass displacement of Palestinians. The activist group Palestine Action criticized Balfour's declaration, attributing it to the beginning of what they termed the "ethnic cleansing" of Palestine.

Recent protests against Israel's actions in Gaza have drawn attention to the issue of hate speech and the government's response. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called for stricter policing of protests following an uptick in reported incidents of threatening behavior.

While affirming the right to protest, Sunak emphasized that support for Palestine should not be equated with endorsing Hamas, the governing body in Gaza, designated as a terrorist organization by Britain. The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has resulted in numerous civilian casualties and a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Cambridge's Trinity College expressed regret over the defacement of the painting and assured support for affected college members.
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