DSEI will host Israeli government, military and defense industry representatives

DSEI will host Israeli government, military and defense industry representatives

Originally published on International Middle East Mdia Center

This September, the world’s largest arms fair will be held in London. The DSEI weapons exhibition will be hosting political and military delegations from around the world who will be shopping for drones, guns, missiles, tanks and ammunition from the thousands of arms companies who will be attending.

Shoal collective have previously highlighted the participation of Turkey in DSEI[

Representatives from the Israeli government and military, as well as executives from Israeli arms companies, will be coming to London to buy and sell weapons. Campaigners are holding a week of action, aimed at blocking the weapons before they arrive for display at the ExCeL Centre in East London’s Docklands, where the event is taking place.

Israel regularly sends an official delegation to the DSEI arms fair. The last two biannual events have also featured an ‘Israel Pavilion’ – extra space bought to promote the Israeli arms industry. The companies represented at DSEI include Elbit and Israeli Aerospace Industries, which manufacture the drones used to carry out attacks on Gaza.

The Israeli participation at DSEI is organised by SIBAT, the body within the Israeli Ministry of Defence that promotes arms exports. SIBAT was a sponsor of DSEI in 2013. It was also listed as a sponsor on the DSEI website in 2015, but the information was removed when campaigners spotted it.

The Israeli state’s military expenditure has been steadily increasing every year, and stood at $17977 million in 2016. According to the] Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, from 2013-2016, just some of the arms transfers to Israel included over 4700 Small-Diameter Bombs and guided bombs, manufactured by US arms company Boeing, and hundreds of tank engines manufactured by German company Motoren-Und Turbinen-Union Friedrichschafen (MTU). Both Boeing and MTU will have stands at DSEI 2017.

‘Any buying or selling from or for Israeli forces is directly killing a Palestinian somewhere’

To give one example of the human cost of the Israeli military’s aggression, in 2014 the Israeli military subjected Gaza to a brutal 51 day assault, its most deadly yet. 2205 Palestinian civilians were killed, 521 of them were children.

On 22 July 2014, Mohammed Abedallah, a resident of Gaza city, was with a group of activists searching through the rubble caused by the Israeli bombardment. The Israeli military had announced a two hour ‘humanitarian ceasefire’.

Mohammed’s friend Salem Shamaly went into a ruined building to search for members of his family. When he came out of the building he was hit by bullets from an Israeli sniper, despite the fact that he was clearly unarmed and a ceasefire was in place. Salem was hit first in the leg, but was hit again and again. He was killed. A video of his death shot by volunteers from the International Solidarity Movement soon went viral.

Salem’s death was a clear example of a war crime, and the UN Commission called his death “an act of wilfull killing”. Despite this, no war crimes investigation has taken place and no-one has been prosecuted. Mohammed witnessed Salem’s death, and has been campaigning for justice for his friend ever since. He has made a film about Salem’s murder. He said: “I can say as a witness of a war crime in Gaza that any buying or selling from or for Israeli forces is directly killing a Palestinian somewhere. You can’t call it anything else”.

Call for a military embargo

For many years, Palestinians have been calling for a military embargo against Israel and for activists to take action against the buying of weapons from Israeli arms companies. According to Maren Mantovani, member of the international secretariat of the Palestinian Boycott Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC): “Israel utilizes military force to maintain its decades long oppression of the Palestinian people. Israel’s military industry also serves as an economic engine with 7000 public and private Israeli security companies working in the military and homeland security sectors. Around 70% of Israeli arms and ‘homeland security’ technology is exported internationally and is sold in arms fairs like DSEI.

“Providing Israel with a platform to market its weapons and military equipment provides a financial lifeline to its regime of occupation, apartheid and settler-colonialism. It also legitimises Israel’s use of those arms and technology in violation of international law and Palestinian rights.

“By holding this arms fair and giving space to the entire industry of death to enrich itself, the UK deepens its complicity, not only with Israeli violations of international law, but with violations committed by repressive regimes worldwide.

“We stand in solidarity with protesters taking action to shut down the the DSEI arms fair and the demand to expel Israel from this blood-stained fair.”

Israeli activist Kobi Snitz said: “Israeli oppression of Palestinians is a permanent feature of its government policy. From housing discrimination to home demolitions of Palestinian citizens of Israel to military assaults on civilian populations killing thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza strip. Any weapons which are sold to Israel will be directly involved in this criminal activity. No amount of public relations by weapons manufacturers and their financiers can change this basic fact.”

‘Field-tested’

According to Maren Mantovani of the BNC, “Israel’s branding is that of ‘field tested’ technology. The recurring large scale massacres against the besieged Gaza Strip as well as the technology used to colonise the occupied West Bank, such as the surveillance technology for the Apartheid Wall, or the day to day repression and Orwellian control systems such as those used in the Old City of Jerusalem that have sparked the latest wave of protest are all on sale in DSEI and other arms fairs.

“By taking measures of direct action, UK citizens are not only standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people, but they are also acting in self-defence; bringing an end to the arms trade with Israel would ensure that tools of repression tested and perfected on Palestinian bodies are not then used for repression in the UK.”

Banks complicit in Israeli apartheid

It’s not just arms companies that are enabling Israel’s repression of Palestinians. According to UK campaigning NGO War on Want, HSBC, a multinational bank headquartered in London, owns over £800 million worth of shares, and arranged over £19 million of loans, to companies supplying weapons to Israel. According to Mantovani, “UK banks and financial institutions participate in Israel’s militarized repression by holding shares in companies that export military technology and weapons to Israel, and by providing and facilitating loans to companies producing such military technology and weapons.

“By providing financial services to companies that allow for deadly arms sales, banks like HSBC are key players in the UK-Israel arms trade. UK high street banks are highly involved in this process and are profiting from the UK-Israel arms trade.

“By investing in and providing loans to the arms companies that help Israel to oppress Palestinians, HSBC is lending its support to Israel’s violations of international law.

“HSBC is profiting from the armed violence and repression that lies at the heart of Israel’s system of oppression over the Palestinian people. HSBC also appears to be acting in violation of the UN rules on business and human rights and its own stated commitment to not provide support to the arms industry.”

In response, as part of a recent day of action, HSBC branches around the UK were picketed, with several branches closed. Campaigners have pledged to keep up the pressure on HSBC.

‘Stop the arms fair’

Maren concludes by saying, “Shutting down the DSEI arms fair is simply a humanly decent thing to do in our collective struggle for a world that is more just and equal.”

The Stop the Arms Fair week of action will be held from 4-11 September. Activists will use a diversity of tactics to try to prevent the weapons from being delivered to DSEI. During the week campaigners will be holding different themed days of action. The first of the themed days is ‘Stop Arming Israel], where activists are planning to “block the set-up” with a creative demonstration featuring “music, workshops, and bucket-loads of food”.

To find out more about the week of action go to www.stopthearmsfair.org.uk

The Stop Arming Israel day of action at DSEI will be on Monday 4th September.

Follow Stop the Arms Fair @Stopthearmsfair[url= #StopDSEI] #StopDSEI[/url]

By Tom Anderson of Shoal Collective, a newly-formed cooperative of independent writers and researchers, writing for social justice and a world beyond capitalism.

Follow @ShoalCollective on Twitter.

Posted By

Shoal Collective
Sep 4 2017 03:58

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  • “Shutting down the DSEI arms fair is simply a humanly decent thing to do in our collective struggle for a world that is more just and equal.”

    Maren Mantovani, Palestinan Boycott National Committee

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Comments

jef costello
Aug 29 2017 14:13

Why Israel in particular? Surely all the weapons will be used against someone?

Serge Forward
Aug 29 2017 23:31

Aye. Kinda gives the impression that, without Israeli involvement, arms dealing is bad but not so bad. I can think of the militaries of various countries that have killed far more people than the Israeli army has.... er... the US, UK, Russian, Syrian and Saudi Arabian governments/militaries just off the top of my head. Hmm... smacks of Palestinian nationalist nonsense to me.

robot
Aug 30 2017 05:12

Yep. Saudi-Arabia would have been a far better and bloody example to show what arms trade is intended for. But the wahabits islamist regime is most propably not a target for the supporters of Palestinian nationalism.

Black Badger
Aug 30 2017 06:00

But, but, but... Anti-Imperialism!

Shoal Collective
Sep 3 2017 22:23

This article is part of a bigger writing project about the arms sold at DSEI, we have not just written about arms sales to Israel, but also posted articles critical of arms sales to:
Indonesia: https://libcom.org/news/west-papuas-silent-genocide-03092017
Saudi Arabia: https://libcom.org/news/saudi-s-bombing-campaign-destroying-my-country-yemen-britain-helping-them-do-it-02092017
and https://libcom.org/news/you-cant-build-jobs-corpses-innocents-23072017
and Turkey:
https://libcom.org/news/turkey-will-buy-sell-weapons-london-september-23072017
and the links between the arms trade and the border regime: https://libcom.org/news/dsei-supermarket-state-surveillance-border-wars-04092017
We are releasing an article next week on the companies the arms used in Syria are being supplied by.

The kind of accusations posted above are fairly typical of the arguments used to undermine criticisms of Israeli state policies and shows what Palestinian grassroots movements are up against. It underlines the need for solidarity even more.

Today, 4th September, is the Stop Arming Israel day of action against DSEI - https://www.stopthearmsfair.org.uk/events/

Ed
Sep 3 2017 22:39

Well, tbf to the commenters, all but one of the articles you listed above were posted after they'd already made their comments (the other one being posted over two months ago, so you can forgive them for not making the connection immediately). Without the additional context you provided, it did look odd that an article about an arms fair would only take issue with arms being sold to Israel

Serge Forward
Sep 3 2017 23:18
Quote:
The kind of accusations posted above are fairly typical of the arguments used to undermine criticisms of Israeli state policies and shows what Palestinian grassroots movements are up against. It underlines the need for solidarity even more.

What accusations? No accusations have been made other than the article sounding like a nationalist text. And as Ed points out, the comments were posted when this text was in isolation, long before you posted other texts to balance things out a bit. On it's own it's a nationalist piece, but in conjunction with the other pieces, possibly less so.

Shoal Collective
Sep 4 2017 05:28

I don't agree that calling for an end of the sale of arms to the Israeli state, because of their military policies towards Palestinians, is in any way nationalist.

Serge Forward
Sep 4 2017 06:54

I didn't say that either.

Ed
Sep 4 2017 08:05
Shoal Collective wrote:
I don't agree that calling for an end of the sale of arms to the Israeli state, because of their military policies towards Palestinians, is in any way nationalist.

Yeah, I don't think that's how people meant it and I think the addition of other articles has made the purpose of the article clearer (i.e. a look at one of the oppressive regimes, among the many, at DSEI; as opposed to previously where it seemed like it was 'look how bad DSEI is: they're selling arms to Israel, the only oppressive regime worth mentioning').

Of course, that is what Zionists often argue ('why do you concentrate on our crimes? Look at the others!') but that often makes me laugh coz they have to implicitly accept similarity with other brutal regimes!