Posts Tagged ‘Balfour Declaration’

Palestine & Jack the Ripper – 2017

Saturday, November 4th, 2023

Palestine & Jack the Ripper – On Saturday 4th November 2017 thousands marched through London on the 100th anniversary of the Balfour declaration to demand the equal rights for Palestinians which are included in that declaration, but have been disregarded for 100 years. Although the declaration was being celebrated officially in the UK, many see it as shameful and responsible for the years of suffering for Palestinians.

Palestine & Jack the Ripper - 2017

The Balfour Declaration was made following several months of talks with representatives of Zionist and anti-Zionist Jews, but without any consultation with Palestinians. The Prime Minister at the time, Lloyd George, clearly stated in later years that it had come about as a reward for the work on the production of acetone, vital for the war effort, by Chaim Weizmann, although some historians discount this.

Palestine & Jack the Ripper - 2017

But it was clearly seen as a gift to the Zionists, and Weizmann was one of the Zionist leaders deeply involved in the talks, and the declaration came in a letter written on November 2nd, 1917 and signed by the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland.

Palestine & Jack the Ripper - 2017

The declaration was a single long sentence divided by commas into four clauses, the first two promising the support of the government in the setting up “in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” but it continues in the third “it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine“.

Palestine & Jack the Ripper - 2017

Clearly the UK government failed entirely over the years to protect those civil rights in Palestine, and it is hard to believe that they ever seriously intended to do so.

The declaration was also clearly linked to British policy aims in the Middle East as a whole, led by Sir Mark Sykes, MP for Hull and a promoter of both Arab nationalism and Zionism who together with the French diplomat Fran├žois Georges-Picot drew up a secret agreement along with the Russians for the carving up of the Middle East when the Ottoman Empire was defeated.

Sykes had visited Palestine to meed Weismann and had been converted to the Zionist cause and played a part in the drawing up of the Balfour Declaration, though he later changed his views.

The march began with a rally outside the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square before marching to a longer rally in Parliament Square. The speakers at the embassy were under a red canopy which bathed them in red light making colour photography more or less impossible and I converted the images to black and white for publication.

I left as the march was starting to take the tube to Tower Hill and walk to another protest.

More pictures at Equal Rights & Justice for Palestine.


Class War back at the Ripper – Whitechapel

Class War had protested at the opening of the so-called ‘ Ripper Museum’ in a shop on Cable Street and had continued to hold protests there at intervals outside the tacky tourist trap.

They and many others pointed out that the shop exploits violence against women, making money from images of sexually mutilated women, and encourages the attitudes that lead to violent sexual assaults.

One woman taking part in the protest had recently returned home late at night to her flat in Tower Hamlets to find a 17 year old young woman who had been raped several times on the street collapsed on her doorstep and had saved her from further assaults by calling the police.

They had come here again together with London 4th Wave Feminists wearing cat masks after the tourist attraction had failed to remove shutters and signage which were deemed illegal by Tower Hamlets council a year ago, including a poster which was partly ripped off the shop front in the protest. The council were criticsed for not enfrocing their decision and their opposition to the shop often seemed half-hearted.

Patrick from Class War came to the protest dressed as Father Brannigan, performed a series of exorcisms holding up a hastily improvised cross.

The shop had employed two security guards for the protest and one of them roughly pushed some of the protesters who challenged the few visitors who entered and left during the protest, mainly visiting tourists.

When police eventually arrived half an hour after the protest began they tried with little success to move the protesters further from the shop.

After an hour or so the protesters walked away, with many going to a local pub and I accompanied them. We were disturbed half an hour later by a police raid. Apparently two anti-trans feminists had come to view the protest, hoping to see a person they complained to the police had assaulted one of them at a meeting the
previous month, and had then phoned the police.

The woman behind the bar then declared herself as a special constable, brought out her warrant card and tried to stop me and others taking photographs. She failed, but I decided later not to publish them. It’s a pub I’ll never drink in again.

More pictures Class War back at the Ripper.