Lord Balfour was Prime Minister from 1902 to 1905Palestine Action with permission for Varsity

A pro-Palesinian activist has slashed a painting of Lord Balfour at Trinity College, the former Prime Minister whose famous declaration supported the establishment of a home “for the Jewish people” in Palestine.

The protest, which took place this afternoon (08/03), was organised by Palestine Action, a group which uses direct action to protest the UK’s involvement in selling arms to Israel.

Lord Balfour, the painting of whom was made in 1914 by Philip Alexius de László, signed the Balfour Declaration in November 1917.

The statement announced the support of the British government for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, which was then an Ottoman region with a minority Jewish population.

Palestine Action has said that Lord Balfour “gave away the Palestinians’ homeland - a land that wasn’t his to give away”.


Mountain View

Students demand support for Sudan in cage protest

The group said: “After the Declaration, until 1948, the British burnt down indigenous villages to prepare the way; with this came arbitrary killings, arrests, torture, sexual violence including rape against women and men, the use of human shields and the introduction of home demolitions as collective punishment to repress Palestinian resistance.”

This period, known as the Nakba, saw over 750,000 Palestinians be forced into exile, the group have said.

Palestine Action alleges that “Britain’s support for the continued colonisation of Palestine hasn’t wavered since 1917,” and points towards Elbit Systems, an arms manufacturer which “works closely with the British government” and is Israel’s largest weapons supplier, the group says.

A spokesperson for Trinity College said: “Trinity College regrets the damage caused to a portrait of Arthur James Balfour during public opening hours. The police have been informed. Support is available for any member of the College community affected.”