Over the last month we have seen sustained direct action by members of the new UK group Palestine Action against the sites of Israel’s largest weapons company Elbit Systems, notably the London office at 77 Kingsway in Central London. After just a month, Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs Orit Farkash HaCohen has already expressed alarm about these actions to the British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, even bringing up the direct concern of Israeli arms companies like Elbit Systems continuing to do business in London, saying:
“The de-legitimization campaign against Israel has become widespread throughout Europe and the world, including in England.. Only last weekend, the offices of an Israeli security company were vandalized, for the fourth time in the last month. We want Israeli companies to continue doing business in London. It’s good for both countries.”
None of us want Israel’s companies building their killing machines off the deaths of so many, in London or anywhere else. So just a month of these actions and already these arms dealers and apartheid profiteers are feeling threatened? Then of course we should mobilize more and more.
As Palestine activists a big question we have to ask ourselves is – what actually causes Israel’s war machine harm? What threatens Israel’s arms industry and complicit companies in a Western country? What can we say is appropriate action when since Israel’s 2014 51-day bombing of Gaza that killed over 500 children, Israel has increased their UK weapons trade by £100ms of pounds?
Most of the organizing for Palestine in our Western countries is too comfortable. Too much of what is defined as activism and solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice has been in the form of angry facebook posts to a limited circle of friends or listening to talks where we learn a little bit more than we already know. The truth is we know enough – Palestine is simple. Israel ethnically cleansed the Palestinians in 1948, with a settler colonial project that has since got worse and worse, culminating in an apartheid system that includes regular mass slaughter, incarceration and racist violence against the remaining Palestinian population. Now do something. We are against a powerful state practitioner of violence with powerful allies, yet most of our solidarity has zero risk for ourselves.