Balfour 100 concert – a celebration of racism and imperialism


On 7 November 2017, the Revolutionary Communist Group protested outside the Royal Albert Hall against a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, when British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur Balfour declared the British government’s support for the establishment of a Zionist state in the country of Palestine. This declaration marked the beginning of an imperialist–Zionist alliance that would result in the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians when the state of Israel was established in 1948; the occupation of the Palestinian territories by the Israeli regime; and the subjugation of the Palestinian people under a regime that routinely denies their rights and regularly launches deadly massacres that have killed thousands of Palestinians in recent years alone.

British imperialism has played an integral role in this process, providing political and military support to the Israeli state and cover for its crimes against the Palestinian people; in return, Israel acts as a bastion of imperialism in the Middle East, providing support to imperialist aggression in countries like Iraq and Syria, while British corporations profit from lucrative military and security contracts with the Israeli state.

The RCG refused to allow a celebration of this deadly alliance to take place quietly and unchallenged. Members of the RCG stood with activists from InMinds and Football Against Apartheid to disrupt the concert, outnumbering a small pro-Zionist counter-demonstration.  Activists marched around the Royal Albert Hall, filling the streets with our call for the end of Israeli occupation, for the end of imperialism and Zionism which the Balfour Declaration represents, and for freedom and self-determination for the Palestinian people.  Police and private security guards attempted to prevent us from getting close to the hall, but our message was heard loud and clear both inside and outside. Wherever British imperialism and Zionism are celebrated, we will be there to expose the inhumanity and injustice they have wrought on the people of Palestine.

Police claims of left sectarianism

A few days before the demonstration, the RCG was contacted by the London police and told that our event had been brought to their attention by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC). While the demonstration was openly advertised and not meant to be a secret, the possibility of a pro-Palestinian group collaborating with the British state to police other progressive groups must be taken very seriously.

The RCG is wary of police tactics that attempt to divide progressive groups through lies and false claims and is therefore treating this claim from the police with scepticism. However, we are also aware of the destructive impact of sectarianism on progressive movements and the need to confront it wherever it appears. In light of this claim from the police, the RCG poses the following questions to the PSC: Did the PSC in fact alert the police to our demonstration? If so, why is the PSC collaborating with the repressive mechanisms of the British state against other progressive groups fighting against the Zionist and imperialist interests which that state upholds?

The RCG will not allow either state repression or left sectarianism to undermine support for the Palestinian liberation struggle in Britain.

Zionism is Racism!

Imperialist hands off Palestine!

Victory to the Intifada!

For a detailed history of the Balfour Declaration, see: Balfour's shadow: A century of British support for Zionism and Israel