In the last issue of the Socialist Voice, we discussed the Balfour Declaration of 1917. However, in Manchester, on 31 October, activists held a demonstration against the special Balfour Declaration “celebrations” being held in the city by the Zionist state and their supporters.
By Peter Windeler.
The link with Manchester consists in the fact that Zionist groups were established in Didsbury, a suburb of Manchester near the university, by a Jewish businessman, Chaim Weizman after the First World War and it was in a philosopher and former professor at the University of Manchester, Samuel Alexander, who arranged the meeting of Weizman and Balfour which led to the infamous declaration giving the green light to the eventual displacement of Palestinians and the creation of Israel.
For supporters of the Zionist cause, this was imperative to the creation of Israel in 1948 and the Israeli state wished to celebrate it with a slap-up meal in that very university.
However, the feeling was so strong by students, anti-zionists, and the public that the university had to scrap it.
The event was still to take place, but at an unknown destination, somewhere in the city centre.
Students and activists held a demonstration, called by University of Manchester BDS Society, it is supported by Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Manchester Palestine Action, Manchester Jewish Action for Palestine and the Boycott Israel Network, at the university on the evening with the intention of marching to the venue, if its location became known.
Many supporters of the Palestinian cause attended the demonstration and banners and flags ensured a lively atmosphere.
The police enquired as to the route of any march. But no one knew this and the police were told that the demonstrators only thoughts were for the 18 Palestinian children that the Zionists had killed in recent days. In fact, 18 children’s coffins with a picture of each victim were arranged in the centre of proceedings.
Eventually, the location of the “feast” was discovered, which happened to be at the Hilton Hotel in Manchester’s highest skyscraper, the Beetham Tower.
The protesters then made their way to the hotel to shame those that think the creation of Israel should be the cause for any celebration at all.