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UK Activists Destroy University’s Artwork in Antisemitic Protest

An anti-Israel activist on Friday slashed and spray-painted a 1914 portrait of Lord Arthur James Balfour at the University of Cambridge in the UK.

Balfour signed the Balfour Declaration while serving as the British foreign secretary in 1917. The document backed the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in the land of Israel and what was to become known as Mandatory Palestine.

The Balfour Declaration was viewed as an endorsement of the Zionist movement by a major power and a key step in the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948.

The group Palestine Action said in a statement on Friday that the vandalism of the portrait was meant to spotlight “the bloodshed of the Palestinian people since the Balfour Declaration was issued in 1917,” especially amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

A spokeswoman for Trinity College, Cambridge, where the portrait was defaced, said in a statement that the institution “regrets the damage caused to a portrait of Arthur James Balfour during public opening hours.” The statement also said that the college notified the police.

This is not the first time that Balfour has been targeted. Two women were arrested in 2022 for squirting ketchup over a statute of Balfour in London.

The latest vandalism came amid a global surge in antisemitism since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel. Antisemitic incidents have reached record levels in the UK.

The Oct. 7 atrocities launched the ongoing war in Gaza.

Source: https://www.algemeiner.com/2024/03/08/anti-israel-activist-vandalizes-portrait-arthur-balfour-who-supported-jewish-homeland/