World News

Palestine Action Activist Vandalizes Historic Painting of Lord Balfour

The government’s political violence adviser expressed strong condemnation for the actions of the radical activist group.

One member of the radical activist group Palestine Action (PA) recently defaced a painting of Lord Balfour at the University of Cambridge through slashing and spray painting it.

Last Friday, PA engaged in vandalism tactics to disrupt the operations of an Israeli arms manufacturer in the UK by spray painting and damaging a 1914 painting by Philip Alexius de László of Lord Arthur James Balfour within Trinity College.

Lord Balfour, a significant British statesman and former UK prime minister, was in office from 1902 to 1905.

In 1917, during his tenure as British foreign secretary, Lord Balfour penned the Balfour Declaration, a historic statement expressing British endorsement for a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine.

This declaration played a pivotal role in the establishment of a Jewish homeland, ultimately leading to the creation of Israel in 1948.

PA justified their actions by symbolizing “the bloodshed of the Palestinian people following the issuance of the Balfour Declaration in 1917.”

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The group’s statement highlights the ongoing support from Britain for the territorial expansion of Palestine since 1917.

They accuse Elbit Systems of utilizing Britain as a manufacturing hub, pointing out that the Israeli arms manufacturer operates factories nationwide in collaboration with the British government.

PA pledges to persist in their direct actions until Elbit ceases operation and British involvement in the colonization of Palestine comes to an end.


Lord Woodcock, the government’s independent adviser on political violence and disruption, denounced the incident on the social media platform X, emphasizing that such actions are unacceptable. He stressed the need to prevent protestors from justifying destructive behavior based on their perceived moral stance. Lord Woodcock also expressed concern over recent judicial decisions in this regard.

Co-founded by Palestinian–Iraqi Huda Ammori and Extinction Rebellion’s Richard Barnard, the group declares itself as a “direct action network dismantling British complicity with Israeli apartheid.”

The group employs radical tactics and rhetoric to achieve its objectives, openly acknowledging a strategy of intentional law-breaking. While some members have been convicted of possessing items with the intent to cause damage, they have not received custodial sentences.

Breaking the Law

Despite openly admitting to breaking the law, a behavior that would typically draw legal repercussions for registered companies or charities, PA continues to openly raise funds, often through foreign entities.

In addition to direct fundraising through their platform, PA utilizes financial resources from overseas, including the U.S.-based Action Network.

The Action Network, an online tool for “left-of-center outlets to organize, fundraise, and circulate petitions for liberal causes,” emerged from the Occupy Wall Street protests, as per Influence Watch.

Action Network states its commitment to “encouraging responsible activism” and disavows support for illegal or inappropriate actions on their platform.

PA also maintains an account on Chuffed, an internationally regulated global crowdfunding platform founded in Australia. The site serves as a medium for progressive causes, with one account raising funds to support Nigerian progressives in pursuing a “socialist revolution.”

‘Zionist Militia’

On the day of the Hamas terror attack, PA posted on X, attributing the violence to “Zionist militia supported by Britain initiating the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people and confiscating their land.”

Despite the vast disparity in resources and military might, Palestinians are depicted as resisting and reclaiming their land, as shared by PA.

Activists have been captured brandishing Palestinian flags, splattering paint, and setting off flares at various Elbit Systems sites and affiliated companies in the UK.

Employee evacuations and operational halts have been necessary in some instances as activists breach gates to access buildings and cause destruction.

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