Success in disrupting Israel’s war machine

Palestine Action has forced four UK companies to cut ties with Israeli arms firm Elbit Systems in the past three months.

11 March 2024
Palestine Action (Photo: Handout)

Palestine Action (Photo: Handout)

Whilst the Gaza genocide rages on, many people are seeking tangible ways to disrupt Israel’s war machine.

For many years, Palestine Action has taken consistent direct action against Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest arms firm. A once quiet killer which operates across Britain has become a better known target of the Palestine solidarity movement. 

But targeting Elbit also requires understanding that the company doesn’t act alone. Those who facilitate Elbit’s operations also profit from Palestinian bloodshed and can be more susceptible to outside pressure.

In order to maintain functioning weapons factories, Elbit needs to contract out a multitude of services including suppliers, recruiters, facility managers and transport. 

Some of Elbit’s factories are not owned outright, and therefore landlords and property managers are required to harbour their criminal activities. Those who work directly with Elbit are considered secondary targets of Palestine Action’s campaign.

As the campaign against Elbit has grown over the years, so have the actions against secondary targets. Such actions have included covering their premises in red paint to symbolise Palestinian bloodshed, dismantling infrastructure, crashing events and storming offices. 

The sustained actions have paid off as four companies have cut ties with Elbit after targeted campaigns in the past three months alone. 


Why I risked prison to shut Elbit down


Secondary targets

On 1 December last year, it was announced that Fisher German, the property managers of Elbit’s UAV Engines factory in Shenstone, Staffordshire, dropped all association with Elbit. The news came after a two year campaign against the firm which involved regular paint jobs and occupations at their offices across the country. 

After a two months campaign, iO associates, Elbit’s sole UK recruiters, ended their association with the Israeli weapons maker, which was also their biggest client. 

The campaign against them began with activists storming their brand new Manchester offices at the Express building, which was quickly followed by red paint being sprayed over four of their offices across the country. 

Before iO associates announced they had ended their contract with Elbit, they were kicked out of their Manchester offices due to “security concerns” at the Express building.

The next victory took only one action! Naked Creativity, the listed website hosts of Elbit’s UAV Tactical Systems factory in Leicester, stopped working with Elbit after their London offices were spray painted with the slogan “Drop UAV”. 

Last but perhaps most significantly, one of the world’s biggest shipping companies, Kuehne+Nagel, declared they’ve stopped working with Elbit and will refrain from doing so in the future. 

The logistics giant is one of only six companies licensed for the secure collection, delivery and disposal of weapons in Britain.  


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Reducing the pool of contractors

Working with Elbit now comes with the added risk of Palestine Action. For the Israeli arms company, this means they’re obligated to inform any new potential contractors of the pressure they’ll face. 

Even if they fail to do so, a simple google search will uncover their potential fate. Reducing the potential pool of contractors means unlike other companies, Elbit will not be able to gain the best value for outside services which can both reduce their competitiveness and profit margins. 

The reputation built by Palestine Action for taking relentless direct action has made it quicker for victories to be achieved. 

For those who work with Elbit, the dilemma posed is: Do we sustain years of direct action against us or do we end our ties with Elbit early as soon as possible and avoid the confrontation? 

More companies are going with the latter option. 

For Elbit, the pressure to cease operations in Britain continues to build. After all, for weapons dealers, money talks the loudest. 

As they continue to be unable to maintain a reliable pattern of production due to the unpredictable timing of actions against them and are constantly working to find new contractors at worse value, at what point will they break and cease operations in this country? 


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Declaring victory

Perhaps the most significant result of direct action against secondary targets is the way the victories are declared.

Rather than avoiding admitting that the disassociation with Elbit was due to campaigning pressure, each of the four companies that have recently cut ties with Elbit had to email Palestine Action directly with confirmation. 

This has become a necessary requirement to cease the campaign against a complicit company. 

Amidst a genocide, every avenue must be taken in order to isolate, damage and disrupt Israel’s war machine. 

Focusing our efforts on Elbit Systems and all those who facilitate them is proving to be a successful strategy, one which many more can get behind to channel our rage into results.