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Activists occupy UK govt office demanding end to arms trade with Israel

on 49 Comments
(Photo: London Palestine Action)

(Photo: London Palestine Action)

The following press release was sent out today by the group London Palestine Action:

More than 30 pro-Palestine campaigners occupied the Cabinet Office this afternoon demanding an end to the UK’s flourishing arms trade and military cooperation with Israel.

Campaigners from the London Palestine Action group occupied the building for more than 45 minutes. 3 people locked themselves to railings in the building while others chanted slogans calling on the UK government to impose a military embargo on Israel.

A member of the London Palestine Action group said:

“By allowing arms exports to Israel to flourish, the UK government is providing material and political support for Israel’s violent oppression and collective punishment of Palestinians, including the current massacre in Gaza.”

“UK companies that export arms to Israel such as BAE Systems and Boeing are profiting directly from Israel’s on-going attacks on Palestinian civilians on Gaza.”

“Rather than seeking to whitewash Israeli atrocities, the UK government should listen to the appeals made by Palestinian civil society groups and Amnesty International and impose a military embargo on Israel.”

“How many more people in Gaza have to die before the government will stop arming Israel?”

Official government data shows that the UK government issued arms export licenses to Israel worth £180m in the period 2008-12. Recent UK military exports to Israel include F16 fighter jets, assault rifles, armoured vehicles and ammunition. 31 different UK companies export arms to Israel.

(Photo: London Palestine Action)

(Photo: London Palestine Action)

Campaigners also criticised the UK government for collaborating with Israeli arms company Elbit Systems to build a new generation of drones for the UK army. The Watchkeeper drone will be heavily based on the Hermes 450, an Israeli drone that Human Rights Watch has documented as being used to deliberately attack Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

The London Palestine Action campaigner continued:

“Israeli military companies use Gaza as the testing ground for new weaponry and then make millions exporting the technology. The British government is, in effect, buying technology that has been ‘field tested’ on Palestinians.”

“We have to act to end UK complicity in Israeli apartheid and colonialism. We’ll continue to take direct action until the UK government and UK companies stop participating in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.”

The UK government also leases Hermes 450 drones from Elbit Systems for use in Afghanistan.

More than 260 Palestinians have died since Israel began its assault on Gaza. Palestinian and international human rights groups have accused Israel of deliberately targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, which are crimes under international law.

Following the 2008-09 attack on Gaza, the then Labour government announced that several arms export licenses would be revoked.

London Palestine Action is a new network of people campaigning in response to the Palestinian call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

(Photo: London Palestine Action)

(Photo: London Palestine Action)

Adam Horowitz

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49 Responses

  1. Sumud on July 18, 2014, 12:57 pm

    Across the water Paris has banned a pro-Palestine rally planned for the weekend:

    Of all places! The French love a demonstration, i hope they rally anyway.

    • amigo on July 18, 2014, 1:11 pm

      We have a repeat protest in Dublin tomorrow and I expect it to be double (5000)last weeks and this will continue until Israel ends this carnage and goes home .

      We intend to make Saturday afternoon very uncomfortable for the aiders and abettors in the Israeli Embassy.

      • Sycamores on July 18, 2014, 1:49 pm
      • amigo on July 18, 2014, 2:13 pm

        Sycamores, I am not too up on twitter etc.I clicked on the first two links but found nothing that seemed to be apt.

        What do I do.Do I have to join twitter???.

      • Sumud on July 18, 2014, 5:13 pm

        amigo ~ twitter 101

        Click on the text in Sycamores text that starts with
        And that will open up the image someone has included in a tweet.

        You don’t have to join to look, and all other thing that look like links I think that’s just how Mondoweiss’ platform renders anything with a hashtag. Now click on this instead which is a tweet, not just the image part:

        You should see the text with the hashtags highlighted and the image below. If you click on a hashtag, say #GazaUnderAttack that will automatically open a search page showing tweets from around the world that include that hashtag. If you hear about a topic trending in twitter it means all at once lots of people have started using the same hashtag – for an event or breaking news for example. Twitter tracks it and have trending lists fir the world and by region.

        Yesterday when Ayman M got sent out of Gaza there was lots of unhappy people, Al Jazeera’s The Stream did a story on the hashtag #LetAymanReport which trended for a while:

        So hashtags are one way to see stuff on twitter, the other is by following other people’s accounts, for example Mondoweiss has an account by the name of (no surprises) @Mondoweiss. So if you join twitter you can then follow @Mondoweiss and all the MW tweets will appear on your feed (ie your twitter home page).

        There’s other things too like public ‘mentions’ and private ‘direct messages’ for communicating with people (or companies or corrupt politicians!) one-on-one but no need to worry about those just yet.

        Have fun :-)

      • Sycamores on July 18, 2014, 11:15 pm

        click on pic .twitter. com

        if you are going to join twitter be diligent. choose who you are going to follow and who you allow to follow you. i find it useful. Sumud sums it up nicely “have fun”.

      • amigo on July 18, 2014, 2:37 pm

        Sorry Sumud, ignore my last post.I managed to learn something today.

        Last week a few Protesters managed to hang a Palestinian flag almost on the Israeli Embassy but our police were “under “strict orders to prevent such an insult to the “Light unto the Nations”. However , I do believe , given the chance they would have opened the front doors and allowed those folks to hang it inside.

      • amigo on July 18, 2014, 4:56 pm

        Sorry Sumud , that was directed at Sycamores.

      • amigo on July 18, 2014, 6:25 pm

        Sumud, many thanks.Protest tomorrow, so I will practice on the train.

      • HarryLaw on July 18, 2014, 2:09 pm

        Amigo,Don’t forget the torches and pitchforks, send them back home.

      • amigo on July 18, 2014, 2:21 pm

        Harry, Its a long long way to Telavivy but every journey begins with one swift kick in the backside.

    • Sycamores on July 18, 2014, 1:48 pm


      original in French i used google translate

      The organizers announced that they would introduce a petition for freedom, that is to say an emergency appeal to the administrative justice, in the hope of keeping the event. They denounced a decision “that opposes a fundamental freedom,” according to their lawyer, Hosni Maati.

      “Given the escalation in Gaza, anger is very large and will want to express. That the event is authorized or not, there will be hundreds or thousands of young people will converge Barbès Saturday. “

      • Sumud on July 18, 2014, 4:49 pm

        WONDERFUL thanks Sycamores.

  2. Kay24 on July 18, 2014, 1:04 pm

    And in Turkey:
    “Israel evacuating diplomats’ families from Turkey, following attacks
    Lieberman orders reduction of diplomatic representation, following violent demonstrations that targeted Israeli consulate, embassy.
    Israeli diplomatic families in Turkey are being evacuated and Israel’s diplomatic representation in that country reduced to a minimum following violent demonstrations on Thursday night outside the embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Istanbul.”

    Well now Israel cannot blame Hamas for all these protests, and surge of grass roots activists, showing disapproval for Israel’s war crimes, can they?
    If innocent Jews are made to feel uncomfortable, the blame must be on Israel.
    If Israel had not killed little babies, and killed 300 Palestinians on false pretenses, then everything would have been cool.

    • Justpassingby on July 18, 2014, 1:33 pm

      Good job Turkey, which is pretty much the only state condemning netanyahu’s terror!

      • Kay24 on July 18, 2014, 5:28 pm

        Yes, why are the other Arab nations so quiet? Are they afraid of zionist wrath coming their way? Really they are so wimpy, considering the fact that there have been deliberate efforts to divide and conquer them, one faction is against the other, and they have no courage to band together, and be a powerful force backed by their wealth. They have stupidly played into the hands that have diminished them into isolated entities among themselves. For shame.

      • Mooser on July 18, 2014, 7:50 pm

        “Yes, why are the other Arab nations so quiet?”

        Oh, maybe cause the same forces which enabled Zionism made sure the entire region was pretty powerless, divided and confused.

        If I’m not mistaken, it wasn’t the Zionists who had the power to make Palestine accessible for Zionist colonization.

      • Inanna on July 19, 2014, 1:35 am

        Kay24, the wealthy Gulf countries and Morocco have relations with Israel and are in the US camp, Egypt post-Morsi is the same. They’re also mostly anti-MB, which means they’re anti-Hamas. Syria’s attention is elsewhere (not that it would offer anything but moral support anyway) and Iraq is a mess. But Arab public opinion whatever religion or country is staunchly pro-Palestinian.

      • Inanna on July 19, 2014, 1:44 am

        It’s more than just Turkey Justpassingby. Chile has suspended trade talks with Israel and is considering withdrawing its ambassador. And there lots of non-Arab Muslim countries that don’t even have relations with Israel in the first place – Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan as well as a number of African countries and Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

    • amigo on July 18, 2014, 4:42 pm

      “If Israel had not killed little babies, and killed 300 Palestinians on false pretenses, then everything would have been cool.” Kay.

      You have it wrong.

      If Abbas had not joined with Khamas and Khamas had not killed the three Israeli teens and Yasser Arafat had not —forget it, if the Palestinians had all run away then Israel would not have had to kill any of them.

  3. chet on July 18, 2014, 1:42 pm

    CRIF able to compel the gov’t to not only cancel anti-Israeli demos, but to criminalize them as well — AIPAC will be taking notes.

  4. ckg on July 18, 2014, 2:05 pm

    Human Rights Watch wants only half-measures apparently. HRW supports only a limited suspension of transfers of some military equipment, whereas Amnesty International supports a comprehensive arms embargo.

    Human Rights Watch:

    Governments that are providing weapons to Israel, to Hamas, or to armed groups in the Gaza Strip should suspend transfers of any materiel that has been documented or credibly alleged to have been used in violation of international humanitarian law, as well as funding or support for such material, Human Rights Watch said. The US supplies Israel with rotary and fixed wing military aircraft, Hellfire missiles, and other munitions that have been used in illegal airstrikes in Gaza.

    Amnesty International:

    Amnesty International is also calling on the UN to immediately impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel, Hamas and Palestinian armed groups with the aim of preventing further serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights by the parties to the conflict. Pending such an embargo, all states must immediately suspend all transfers of military equipment, assistance and munitions to the parties, which have failed to properly investigate violations committed in previous conflicts or bring those responsible to justice.

    Of course, the US Congress and UK Parliament will ignore even HRW on this.

  5. HarryLaw on July 18, 2014, 3:42 pm

    France the first country in the world to ban pro Palestinian rallies.
    Anyone who turns up to an illegal demonstration now faces up to a year in prison, and a 15,000 euro fine.
    If they hide their faces to avoid being identified, this sentence can be increased to three years, and a 45,000 fine.
    Even those who publish details of an illegal rally on social media face up to a year in prison, and a 15,000 euro fine.
    This can be increased to seven years and a 100,000 fine if the postings lead to violence. I suspect they would like to bring back the guillotine.

    • a blah chick on July 18, 2014, 8:26 pm

      Wow, just wow, and right after Bastile Day! The French Revolution was one of the great moments of history and the French government is dishonoring it.

      I might be off base here but from what I can see the leaders of French Jewry are the biggest whiners in the world. Most than Americans!

  6. jon s on July 18, 2014, 3:47 pm

    Anti-Semitic chants at Berlin demo:

    “Jew, Jew, you coward pig, get out and fight on your own”

    • amigo on July 18, 2014, 4:52 pm

      Try asking yourself why they hate you jon s.this does not happen in a vacuum.

      Cause and effect .

      You don,t like it, start demanding your leaders to end their colonial oppression and ethnic genocidal slaughter.


      • Mooser on July 18, 2014, 5:13 pm

        amigo, what a shocking proposal you make! If there weren’t expressions of anti-Semitism, what would “jon s” breathe? It’s the very air for him.

        And what about that attack on the Paris Synagogue?

        And try asking yourself this question, amigo: ‘Jon s’ sent in a video. What are the chances it’s even true, or even relevant?’ Remember the Paris Synagogue attack.

      • amigo on July 18, 2014, 5:29 pm

        My apologies Mooser.I will try to be more gentle with poor put upon victim jon,s.

        Thanks for making me a Kinder , gentler zionist hater.

        I feel better already.

        Ok , where was I .

      • Kris on July 18, 2014, 8:24 pm

        Very shocking proposal. It’s not as if cause and effect operate in the Ziosphere, it is a different realm. And what about that poor Jewish doctor who was removed from the Jet Blue flight for “being Jewish?”

      • RoHa on July 19, 2014, 2:22 am

        “Try asking yourself why they hate you jon s.this does not happen in a vacuum.

        Cause and effect .”

        But amigo, JustJessr told me “that hatred is irrational and needs nothing to exist.”

        Surely you don’t want to disagree with him? If you do, you will be “willfully ignorant and hateful”.

        (If hatred were such, I would expect it to be totally random. At one time and place it might be directed towards people with hairy ears, at another towards people named “Geoff”, rather than being consistently directed towards a particular group.

        It seems to me that people who hate either have reasons for their hatred or are taught to hate by those who have reasons. The reasons may be utter nonsense, but they are the reasons nonetheless.

        But it is not fashionable to say that.)

    • Mooser on July 18, 2014, 5:19 pm

      Ah yes, ‘jon s’ considering your great humanitarianism, your strict principles concerning egalitarianism, and lack of bigotry, I can only imagine how those anti-Semitic expressions shock your sensitive soul.

      Who the hell are you trying to kid? You guys get to chant “Death to Arabs” I guess somebody is going to chant Death to Jews. Learn to like it Zionist. After all, it’s your bread and butter.

    • Kay24 on July 18, 2014, 5:33 pm

      Israel’s war crimes, and the massacre of civilians especially children are evoking strong feelings against the Israel and innocent Jewish folks are feeling that anger, around the world.
      Don’t blame Hamas for this one, blame your violent government and the brutal occupation. Time they realized that their stinking actions are causing hatred for Israel around the world. Israel is doing it to itself, not Hamas or the Palestinian people. That is now very clear.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on July 18, 2014, 6:06 pm

      Good god, Zionists really really are addicted to victimhood, aren’t they?

      Fifty people are murdered by their bombs in one day alone, and Jon goes to YouTube to hunt down some video to allow him to wallow in victimhood? Psychotic.

      You’re not a victim Jon. You’re a shill for a mad, murderous state.

    • Citizen on July 18, 2014, 7:38 pm

      That video clip is titled: Anti Israel protest in Kuddam Str Berlin 17.07.2014

    • a blah chick on July 18, 2014, 8:28 pm

      Jon S, have you been following the anti Arab demonstrations in Israel? And how do you feel about young Jewish men wearing neo- Nazi emblems? Enquiring minds want to know.

    • eljay on July 18, 2014, 10:48 pm

      >> Anti-Semitic chants at Berlin demo

      I unequivocally condemn such chants.

      DaBakr, however, might argue that some degree of anti-Semitism is acceptable.

    • Inanna on July 19, 2014, 1:51 am

      Zionist Jews are shooting down Palestinian children from planes and ships like they’re playing video games and you think it’s anti-semitic when they are called cowards and pigs? Are you having a sociopathic break from reality and compassion? It actually is cowardly to shoot unarmed children and destroy their homes from behind your scope with your advanced weaponry. My problem with this is that it’s actually an insult to pigs, who don’t engage in that sort of cowardly and destructive behavior.

      Go back to your handlers at Herzliya and tell the their so-called ‘skilled’ hasbara is spectacularly unsuccessful here.

      • jon s on July 19, 2014, 6:19 am

        Anti-Semitism has been a permanent presence, endemic in Western civilization , for 2000 years. It has little to do with anything Jews actually DO, has a lot to do with the fact that Jews ARE.
        Naturally, circumstances vary, so there’s an ebb and flow: there have been , and are today , places and periods where Jews feel very little Anti-Semitism, and other times and places where it boils over.

        As I’ve repeated numerous times on this forum, I believe in the equal value of all human lives and I’m horrified by deliberate attacks on -and endangering of- innocent civilians.

      • eljay on July 19, 2014, 9:37 am

        >> As I’ve repeated numerous times on this forum, I believe in the equal value of all human lives …

        …but not in equality for all human beings. If you did, you wouldn’t be such a staunch defender of Jewish supremacism in a supremacist “Jewish State”.

      • Inanna on July 19, 2014, 9:12 pm

        Bullshit. You draw back from the specific point about the behavior of Israelii soldiers to a general point about anti-semitism, in an attempt to recover your victim status. Double bullshit. Most of the negative feeling towards Israel is about its behavior towards the Palestinians. But you are so into the groove with your reflexive robo-thinking of protecting the tribe at all costs that you can’t see the humanity of those Israel kills.

        Your conflation of Israel with Jews is the most anti-semitic thing in this thread. You’re exposed to Palestinian voices here. Make use of that before history leaves you in the trash heap.

      • just on July 19, 2014, 9:56 pm

        well said indeed, Inanna.

  7. subconscious on July 18, 2014, 4:40 pm

    The “Come Support Israel!” event at NYC’s 92Y on 7/20 at 8PM will feature Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in NY:
    Can it be protested?

  8. subconscious on July 18, 2014, 4:59 pm

    Another event same day, 7/20, at 4PM near Times Square is the United-We-Stand-W/-Israel rally:
    At the event’s Facebook page, one of the posts currently reads [emphasis his]:
    “PLEASE KEEP IN MIND. WE are doing most of the killing and THEY ARE DOING MOST oF THE DYING. So our tone needs to be serious and somber – NOT CELEBRATORY. The civilian residents of Gaza are not our enemies – our enemy is HAMAS. The chants need to be simple and rhythmic: STOP the ROCKETS – blame HAMAS! STOP the ROCKETS – blame HAMAS! STOP the ROCKETS – blame HAMAS!”

    Same day at 11AM, similar rally in S. Florida:

    • a blah chick on July 18, 2014, 8:36 pm

      “WE are doing most of the killing and THEY ARE DOING MOST oF THE DYING. So our tone needs to be serious and somber”

      Nice to see that in the face of a lopsided war you want to maintain some decorum. Stay classy New York!


  9. Kay24 on July 18, 2014, 5:36 pm

    Folks in New York, do your bit. :))

  10. dbroncos on July 18, 2014, 9:40 pm

    Palestine support rally in Denver, Capitol Hill tomorrow (Sat. 12p)

  11. RoHa on July 18, 2014, 10:23 pm

    “UK military exports to Israel include F16 fighter jets”

    Bit of a surprise. I thought those things were made in the US.

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