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Israeli arms exports take dramatic hit amid growing boycott campaign


Israeli military exports this year could decline to just 53% of their level in 2012 and “less desire for Israeli-made products” is a key factor, according to a letter from Israel’s four largest military companies.

Industry leaders are warning that military exports have steadily fallen since they reached $7.5bn in 2012. Sales in 2014 decline to $5.5bn and could drop to as low as $4bn this year, according to media reports about the letter.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has been running highly visible campaigns against military trade with Israel that have seen 12 banks and pension funds exclude Israeli arms company Elbit Systems from their investment portfolio. Israeli owned arms factories have been blockaded, and a growing number of political parties and trade unions have called for an end to military ties with Israel.

The governments of Norway and Turkey have both announced military embargo policies against Israel in recent years.

Mahmoud Nawajaa, general coordinator with the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the largest Palestinian civil society coalition that leads the BDS movement, said:

“Israeli military companies market their products on the basis of their successful use in Israel’s massacres of Palestinian and Lebanese civilians, yet it now seems that growing public awareness of and opposition to Israel’s war crimes are starting to hit Israel’s military exports.”

“Governments must meet their legal obligation not to provide aid or assistance and, on the contrary, to act to put an end to Israel’s violations of international law by implementing a military embargo on Israel as was done against apartheid South Africa.”

“Israel is currently operating a shoot to kill policy and brutally repressing Palestinian protests against its regime of occupation and apartheid. Israel’s ability to oppress Palestinians depends on the willingness of governments and companies around the world to cooperate with Israel’s military, weapons industry and military research institutions.”

During Israel’s 2014 Gaza massacre, the Spanish government announced a temporary freeze on arms exports to Israel, the USA temporarily withheld arms shipments, and the UK government came close to taking similar steps as calls for a military embargo on Israel took centre stage in the debate over Israel’s crimes.

Signatories to a 60,000 strong petition urging a military embargo included Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and five other Nobel laureates, Pink Floyd musician Roger Waters and US musician Boots Riley. Author Naomi Klein has describeda military embargo on Israel as a “much deserved…crucial step towards ending Israel’s impunity”.

In April, UK high street bank Barclays appeared to divest from Israeli arms company Elbit Systems following a high profile campaign that saw direct action protests at its branches across more than 15 cities. Campaigns targeting European Union funding for Israeli military companies, Israeli military and security companies such as Elbit Systems and ISDS, as well as international corporations, such as G4S and HP, which provide equipment and services to Israeli checkpoints and prisons that make up Israel’s “infrastructure of oppression”, are gaining ground.

The BNC has today published a briefing that lists some indicators of the growing impact of the arms trade campaigning against Israel, making the case for such a military embargo. It is based on the crucial role that international military trade and cooperation with Israel play in Israel’s brutal repression of Palestinian protests and in maintaining Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.

Josh Ruebner, Policy Director for the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, called on the US government to take action to end its support for Israel’s military aggression:

“Unfortunately, instead of heeding growing international calls for a military embargo against Israel, the United States is moving in the opposite direction. It is currently engaged in negotiations with Israel to provide it up to $45 billion in additional taxpayer-funded weapons over the next decade. Additional US military aid to Israel will deepen the complicity of the United States in abetting Israel’s human rights abuses of Palestinians in violation of the United States’ own laws such as the Arms Export Control Act and Foreign Assistance Act.”

Palestinian BDS National Committee

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. For more information, visit

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18 Responses

  1. CigarGod on October 27, 2015, 10:12 am

    Positive sounding.
    Corporations have a legal responsibility to protect their shareholders.
    Governments are obligated by international law to avoid aiding criminal nations.
    Too bad usa is a partner in crime.

    • Boo on October 28, 2015, 4:53 pm

      It’s like Junior making lemonade and trying to sell it on the sidewalk in front of his house. When passers-by taste it, they realize it’s horribly sour and are no longer interested in buying it. As dusk closes in, Junior brings all his unsold lemonade back to the garage. His parents buy it, but only because they don’t want Junior to be sulky — and because they paid for the lemons in the first place so they have a stake in his “success”.

  2. italian ex-pat on October 27, 2015, 10:26 am

    I am confused.
    The $4+ billions Israel receives yearly from the US is always explained away as necessary for her ‘security’, and supposedly they are spent purchasing arms from the US. As they like to say, “the money is going right back to you”. Well no, not to me it ain’t, though it IS my taxes that contribute to the generous gift.
    My point is that, if Israel has such a prolific arms industry that they are actively selling them to other countries, why do they need US military aid . . . to buy more arms?
    I guess the only answer is they want the more sophisticated, high-tech weapons that only the US manifactures, which begs the question, why can’t they pay for them with their own money? Unless they divert the ‘military aid’ into settlement building, and the need for our tax dollars to provide them with security is just a ruse.

  3. a blah chick on October 27, 2015, 10:35 am

    This is why legislation against BDS won’t work. Big corporations are a very unsentimental lot, for them it’s all about the bottom line. And if selling or buying Israeli products doesn’t help the quarterly earnings all the self-righteous lawmakers in the world are not going to stop them from dumping Israel like a stinky hot potato. Don’t forget, they have lobbyists too.

  4. amigo on October 27, 2015, 12:11 pm

    Even if the BDS figures are off by 50% this is still good progress as it will cause others to find their co-hones and act appropriately and within the law.

    Israel and it,s craven apologists , will course scream antisemitism and Jew hatred and throw the usual hissy fits they are so famous for.They will not change course and do the right thing and offer a genuine peace to the Palestinian people.I,m not sure they are any longer in a position to backtrack given the presence of some 700,000 illegal squatters , many of whom are deeply involved with or part of the IDF and have their hands on the very reigns of power.

    Can,t see this historical blunder ( Israel) making it past the middle of this century.No tears on my part.They screwed up their first and only chance of a state for Jewish people and thereby ceded their right to one.So, it will be back to roaming the planet again , endlessly seeking a home they can call their own.Screw us once shame on you, etc.

    • CigarGod on October 27, 2015, 12:18 pm

      A foundation made of sand.

      • amigo on October 27, 2015, 1:12 pm

        Reminds me of the Loma Prieta earthquake ,89.

        “San Francisco’s Marina district suffered extensive damage. Built on an area where there was no underlying bedrock, the liquefaction of the ground resulted in the collapse of a number of structures.”

        Zionism has no bedrock and it,s structures will collapse and the after shocks will last for centuries in zionist ears. Unlike SF, the zionist entity will never be rebuilt.The UN will not grant planning permission.

      • CigarGod on October 27, 2015, 2:10 pm

        Excellent analogy.
        I was on the Carquinez bridge when it hit. My car was bucking like a drunk mule. Big horns going off. Thought a ship had hit the bridge. Luckily, it was better built than Israel.

      • amigo on October 27, 2015, 3:31 pm

        “I was on the Carquinez bridge when it hit” CG.

        I happened to be home that day in “Mortage ” Hill. A life time memory.Now , the only danger I face back in Ireland is rain .

        Anyway , glad you made it through.

      • Bumblebye on October 27, 2015, 3:41 pm

        My brother was lucky too. He and his gf had just left the city 2 hours before it struck.

      • thedirtydemocrat on October 28, 2015, 1:22 pm

        Amigo you are a truth man. The insidious manure spreading from the Israeli Imperial government? is outrageous to say the least. From Netanyahu all the way down to the mean little news? papers put out by Adelson and another joker or two.

        When they die, as an old saying goes they are so crooked they have to be screwed into the ground. #BDSIsrael

    • inbound39 on October 27, 2015, 12:26 pm

      Yes Amigo. It seems apparent during Netanyahu’s Tenure that Israel has worked hard to get the World to hate it and if possible destroy Israel just so Netanyahu can scream out loud….”I told you they hated us”

  5. Kay24 on October 27, 2015, 1:16 pm

    Boycotts worked, and helped the South African citizens, to overcome apartheid policies of a racist government.

    Hope this will hurt the Israeli regime, and that their arrogance will take a big hit.

    They are afraid of the repercussions of boycotts, although they show false bravado, they are scared, and that is why they are frantic trying to stop it at colleges, and even trying to get
    congress to do something about it.

    I hope the BDS movements grows stronger, larger, and spreads throughout the world.

  6. Rodneywatts on October 27, 2015, 4:20 pm

    This is Good News! Now some more good news:

    – 343 British academics sponsor full page advert in Guardian newspaper supporting BDS and rebuff the pathetic anti BDS letter by a cultural group, which included J K Rowling. What a wizard thing to do –Yea!!

    Al Jazeera also carries story:

  7. MHughes976 on October 27, 2015, 4:55 pm

    Is Israel really losing the confidence of the military procurement crowd? Hard to credit.

  8. niass2 on October 28, 2015, 4:12 am

    My Brother Esau
    Grateful Dead

    My brother Esau killed the hunter, back in 1969,
    Before the killing was done his inheritance was mine.
    When at first my brother walked away,
    Before a weary band,
    Esau gave his sleeplessness for a piece of moral land.
    Our father favored Esau, he was eager to obey,
    All the wild commandments, the old man shot his way.
    But all this ended when, my brother failed at war,
    He staggered home and found me in the door.
    Esau he’s on rollerskates today,
    And he make a statement to someone in L.A.
    Sometimes at night I dream, he’s still that hairy man,
    Shadow boxing the apocalypse, wandering the land.
    Esau holds the blessing, brother Esau holds the curse,
    I was thinking that the blame was mine,
    But suspected something worse.
    The more… Full lyrics on Google Play

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