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Pro Palestine group destroy historic painting of Lord Balfour at Cambridge University

Pro-Palestine protesters have defaced a painting of Lord Balfour at Trinity College Cambridge.

Protest group Palestine Action shared images of an activist spraying it with red paint and slashing it.

The Conservative politician Balfour gave his name to the Balfour Declaration - a public statement issued by the British government on the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, leading the way for the founding of Israel in 1948.

The declaration, made in 1917, was contained within a letter from Balfour to Lord Rothschild, a British Jewish leader.

Among the declaration's lasting consequences was increased support for Zionism within the Jewish community, and it formed part of the founding of Mandatory Palestine.

A statement from the activists said: “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.

“Arthur Balfour, then UK Foreign secretary, issued a declaration which promised to build “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, where the majority of the indigenous population were not Jewish [2]. He gave away the Palestinians homeland — a land that wasn’t his to give away.”

No arrests have been reported at this stage.

A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire Constabulary said: “This afternoon (8 March) 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.”