Palestinian ambassador rails against London Underground for censoring anti-Balfour ads

Palestinian ambassador rails against London Underground for censoring anti-Balfour ads
Advertisements which displayed Palestinian objections to the Balfour declaration ahead of the centenary of the pledge have been banned from London's transport network, activists have said.
2 min read
17 Oct, 2017
Advertisements objecting to the 1917 Balfour declaration were rejected by TfL [Palestine Mission UK]
London's transport authority Transport for London (TfL) has banned advertisements highlighting objections to the Balfour declaration when Britain promised to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian ambassador to the UK, has accused the authority of censorship over the posters which organisers had hoped would be displayed at underground stations in the UK capital in the run up to the declaration's centenary on November 2. 

Prime Minister Theresa May and her Israeli counterpart Binyamin Netanyahu are set to attend a London dinner celebrating the occasion.

Meanwhile activist organisations such as Palestine Solidarity Campaign have planned protests to raise awareness of the plight of Palestinians since the 1917 pledge, which led to the creation of Israel in 1948, the loss of Palestinian land, the occupation of the West Bank and seige of Gaza.

The Make It Right campaign was commissioned by the Palestine Mission to the UK and featured contrasting images of Palestinian life before and after 1948, when Israel won its war of independence and 700,000 Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes. 

Although they did not mention Israel, TfL rejected the adverts because they "did not comply fully with our guidelines," a spokesman said. Clause 2.3(h) refers to "images or messages which relate to matters of public controversy or sensitivity". TfL also bans causes that are "party political".

Hassassian said in a statement: "Palestinian history is a censored history. There has been a 100-year-long cover-up of the British government's broken promise, in the Balfour declaration, to safeguard the rights of the Palestinians when it gave away their country to another people.

"TfL's decision is not surprising as it is, at best, susceptible to or, at worst, complicit with, all the institutional forces and active lobby groups which continuously work to silence the Palestinian narrative. There may be free speech in Britain on every issue under the sun but not on Palestine."