Watch: Pro-Palestinian Activist Slashes Historic British Painting over Support for Israel

A radical pro-Palestinian activist defaced a historic British painting depicting Lord Arthur James Balfour at Cambridge University over his ties to the formal establishment of the Jewish state of Israel.

Police have launched an investigation after an activist from the militant ‘Palestine Action’ activist group destroyed a 1914 portrait of Lord Balfour at Trinity College of the University of Cambridge on Friday. The activist slashed the painting with a knife and threw red paint on it.

A spokeswoman for the Cambridgeshire Police told the BBC: “This afternoon we received an online report of criminal damage today to a painting at Trinity College, Cambridge.

“Officers are attending the scene to secure evidence and progress the investigation. No arrests have been made at this stage.”

A spokeswoman for Trinity College added: “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.”

The group Palestine Action took responsibility for the apparent act of vandalism, saying in a statement: “Palestine Action ruined a 1914 painting by Philip Alexius de László inside Trinity College, University of Cambridge of Lord Arthur James Balfour – the colonial administrator and signatory of the Balfour Declaration.”

“An activist slashed the homage and sprayed the artwork with red paint, symbolising the bloodshed of the Palestinian people since the Balfour Declaration was issued in 1917,” the group added.

The ‘Balfour Declaration’ marked the first instance of a major world power supporting the formal establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in their ancestral homeland, which at the time of the Balfour’s signing was under the control of the Ottoman Empire.

Although not a binding document, the Balfour Declaration has long been a point of contention for pro-Palestinian activists, as it laid the groundwork for the formal formation of Israel after the British took control of the region following the First World War.

The incident comes as the issues of the Middle East have taken centre stage in British politics and growing concerns of intimidation of UK politicians from Islamist and far-left forces, both of whom have been protesting on the streets of Britain nearly every week since the Hamas terror attacks on October 7th that left around 1,200 people in Israel dead and saw hundreds more taken captive.

The Government’s independent adviser on political violence and disruption, Lord Walney, said earlier this month that there has been an “unholy alliance” formed between the far left in the UK and Islamic extremists while urging parliamentarians not to cave to pressure from radical forces.

Responding to the destruction of the portrait of Lord Balfour on Friday, Walney said: “This is outrageous. We must not tolerate protestors thinking they can get away with senseless damage because they think the importance of the cause gives them the moral high ground to cause mayhem. A number of recent judicial rulings have been troubling in this regard.”

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