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BerandaNewsEconomyProtestor Spray Paints, Slashes Cambridge Portrait of Lord Balfour, Who Established UK...

Protestor Spray Paints, Slashes Cambridge Portrait of Lord Balfour, Who Established UK Support for Israel

A painting of Lord Balfour, whose eponymous doctrine is considered the catalyst for the 1948 establishment of Israel and the subsequent Nakba, the Palestinian term referring to the displacement of 750,000 Palestinians from their homes, was defaced in England on Friday. incarqq

The activist group Palestine Action shared a video on X of an unidentified protestor dousing Balfour’s portrait, a 1914 work by Philip Alexius de László, in red spray paint and then slashing the canvas almost entirely to pieces. The work is housed at Trinity College, a school that is part of the University of Cambridge.

Palestine Action captioned the video: “Palestine Action spray and slash a historic painting of Lord Balfour … Written in 1917, Balfour’s declaration began the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by promising the land away — which the British never had the right to do.” incarqq

The Balfour Declaration of 1917 was a public pledge by Great Britain declaring support for the establishment of “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. The pledge was in the form of a letter from Britain’s then-foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, and was addressed to Lionel Walter Rothschild, a prominent figure of the British Jewish community. That declaration formed the basis for the British Mandate for Palestine and paved the way for the establishment of the state of Israel.

The declaration, which called for the protection of “existing non-Jewish communities” civil and religious rights, has been deplored by Palestinians since its original announcement. On the occasion of the declaration’s centennial anniversary in 2017, the British government said that it should also called “for the protection of political rights” of Palestinian Arabs, and their “right to self-determination.”

Aside from Balfour’s infamy among Palestinians, the painting may have been targeted due to the University of Cambridge’s links with Israel. In February, Middle East Eye reporter Imran Mulla published an investigation detailing the university’s millions of dollars in investment in defense companies with contracts in Israel. Trinity College, the university’s best-known college, has invested approximately $80,000 last year in Israel’s leading arms company, Elbit Systems, according to the report. Mulla reiterated that finding on X on Friday in posts referencing the defacement of the painting.

The International Centre of Justice for Palestinians has since issued a legal notice to Trinity College, warning that its investments in Elbit System could make its officers, directors, and shareholders  “potentially complicit in Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity.” incarqq