Anti-Israel activists vandalize historic artwork in UK (VIDEO)

Aprilia Rine

Anti-Israel activists vandalize historic artwork in UK (VIDEO)

Pro-Palestine campaigners sprayed and cut a portrait of a British politician involved in creating the state of Israel

A pro-Palestine group has defaced and slashed a painting of Lord Arthur James Balfour, the British foreign secretary whose 1917 declaration was instrumental in justifying support for the establishment of the state of Israel.

A video released on Friday by Palestinian Action, showed an activist spraying the 1914 portrait of Balfour by Hungarian-born artist Philip Alexius de Laszlo that was hanging in Trinity College, Cambridge, and repeatedly cutting it with a sharp object.

Palestinian Action claimed that the Balfour Declaration marked the start of ‘ethnic cleansing in Palestine’.

The Balfour declaration promised to build “a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine, where the majority of the indigenous population were not Jewish,” the statement published on the group’s official website reads. “He gave away the Palestinians homeland – a land that wasn’t his to give away.”

The UK has seen frequent pro-Palestine and pro-Israel protests since October 7 last year, when the militant group Hamas attacked southern Israel, killing around 1,200 people and taking more than 200 hostages. Israel responded by declaring war on Hamas and launching a military operation in Gaza. Over 30,000 Palestinians have died in the conflict so far, according to Gaza health authorities. 

Earlier this week, students from the University of Leeds occupied a campus building in protest at the university’s ties with Israel. The demonstrators demanded that university authorities dismiss the university rabbi, who returned to serve in the Israeli army after October 7.

Last month, tens of thousands of people reportedly took part in a pro-Palestinian march in central London, calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

In January, a group of pro-Palestinian activists were arrested on suspicion of plotting to disrupt the work of the London stock exchange, and another group of protesters briefly blocked roads outside parliament. In November, Palestine supporters staged a sit-in at King’s Cross station in central London.

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