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Unite asks members, ‘Should we take a very pro-Israel position?’

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 16/06/2024 - 1:22am in

Crazed survey to members includes range of options on genocide

Unite union general secretary Sharon Graham has been frequently slammed for her refusal to support the Palestinians against Israel’s genocide in Gaza and her alleged actions against union members and officials who have shown solidarity with the women and children facing daily slaughter by Israel’s apartheid regime.

Graham has also caused horrified outrage by writing to members telling them that she would always prioritise jobs over direct action against UK arms manufacturers sending deadly weapons to be used on Palestinian civilians.

But now the union has sent out a questionnaire to members in which one of the multiple-choice questions includes options to give moderate or strong support to the genocidal regime:

The idea that any options of support for Israel should be included on the union’s potential actions has horrified members and activists.

The questionnaire also tries to garner support from members for Graham’s abdication of Unite’s political influence by asking them a question about the union’s priorities – but in wording clearly skewed toward Graham’s supposed ‘workplace only’ pitch to leave Westminster politics to politicians, because clearly they can be trusted with it, right?

As well as her letter prioritising jobs over stopping genocide and now the questionnaire, Sharon Graham has been alleged by insiders to have:

Graham’s supporters also prevented debate and votes on Gaza at a meeting of the union’s elected executive. Her tenure as Unite boss has also been marked by a string of other allegations – which neither she nor the union has denied – including destruction of evidence against her husband in threat, misogyny and bullying complaints brought by union employees. She is also embroiled in a defamation lawsuit brought by Irish union legend Brendan Ogle for the union’s treatment of him and comments made about him by Graham and her close ally Tony Woodhouse.

Since 7 October last year Israel has killed at least 40,000 Palestinians in Gaza, with some estimates as high as 100,000, and wounded more than double that number, overwhelmingly women and children and many of them with life-changing injuries. Gaza’s health and school systems have been bombed into collapse, often using US- and UK-made weapons and systems. More than a million people have been forcibly displaced and Gaza is in famine because of Israel’s blockade of food and vital supplies. Israel is formally on trial for genocide before the International Court of Justice and ordered to stop its slaughter – and has been found by UN human rights investigators and officials to be committing genocide and other war crimes.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Palestine Action marks Nakba Day with string of actions against Israeli weapons plants

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 15/05/2024 - 11:39pm in

Seventy-six years since the horror of Israel’s violent mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and land, direct action group acts against factories producing weapons for the occupiers

A vehicle helping to block the entrance to Elbit’s Shenstone drone factory (image courtesy of Neil Terry Photography/Palestine Action)

On today’s seventy-sixth anniversary of the Nakba (‘catastrophe’) in which Israeli militias violently forced around 800,000 Palestinians from their homes and lands, UK pro-Palestine direct action group Palestine Action (PA) has hit several targets across the country.

At the Elbit Systems subsidiary UAV Engines Ltd (UEL) factory in Shenstone, PA activists from locked on and used vehicles to block the plant’s gates and prevent delivery vehicles and workers from entering. At Teledyne Defence & Space (TDS) in Shipley, activists are occupying and dismantling the roof of the factory to bring operations to a halt.

PA says that the UEL factory is a crucial part of Israel’s war machine because it is owned by Israel’s largest weapons firm, Elbit — which provides most of Israel’s military drone fleet, designing and producing engines to power Elbit’s drones, which are used for both the surveillance and bombing of targets during the ongoing genocide.

At Teledyne, activists began taking it apart to render the factory inoperable, halting the production of key components for missile systems – missile filters – that the firm exports to Israel. The American arms maker has often boasted of its involvement with missile products procured by Israel, including the AGM-HarpoonAIM-120 AMRAAM, and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles – the latter reportedly used by Israel to strike Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza. The site also produces parts fitted in F-35 Fighter jets, such as the Phobos ESM System used in the AN/APG-81 AESA radar (listed as ‘radar warning receiver’ on their radar components page).

In 1948, Israeli militias destroyed more than five hundred towns villages, massacring over thirteen thousand people – including entire families. This started a process of dispossession and ethnic cleansing, which culminated in the ongoing genocide being perpetrated on Palestinian civilians by Israel since last October, killing well over forty thousand people and, by some estimates, as many as a hundred thousand, overwhelmingly women and children, and driving almost two million from their homes. 

A Palestine Action spokesperson said:

It is a common phrase by Palestinians to say: the Nakba is not an event but a process. And just like the actions of Israel today were set in motion by the Nakba, so too was Britain’s complicity.

The Zionist militias which perpetrated the catastrophe were trained by British soldiers, and today we see history repeat when Britain allows the companies we have targeted today to continue with their business backing brutality whilst Israel butchers Palestinians en masse. This is a crime, and one we fully intend to stop. As we have always said: we won’t stop till the Nakba does.

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Israel lobby-funded Woodcock tries to get Palestine Action banned 

Tory-collaborator, friend of apartheid and alleged sex-pest peer tables Lords bill to outlaw anti-genocide group

Main image: Palestine Action

John Woodcock, the former chair of Labour Friends of Israel made a peer and ‘extremism envoy’ by the Tories, plans to issue a report recommending new measures to outlaw groups trying to end genocide or to protect the planet – with a particular emphasis on protecting weapons manufacturers, treating them on similar lines to the proscription of supposed terrorist groups.

Woodcock, or Lord Walney, a longstanding supporter of the apartheid regime who accepted funding for a visit to Israel after Israel began its genocide in Gaza, wants to limit the activities and fundraising of groups such as Palestine Action (PA) and Just Stop Oil. PA’s direct action campaign against Israel’s largest weapons firm, Elbit Systems has seen successes in the UK, such as the closure of Elbit’s Oldham facility. Woodcock admits that the campaign has done “enormous damage” to the arms industry and wants a “proscription-light” option to restrict the groups’ ability to meet and fundraise – combined with “buffer zones” around weapons manufacturers to protect factories producing deadly technologies from protest. 

Supposedly an ‘independent’ government advisor, Woodcock is deeply-connected to the Israel lobby and the arms industry. He is the chair of the so-called ‘Defence Purpose Coalition’ of senior weapons industry figures and, since 2011, has travelled to Israel on multiple occasions on ‘all expenses paid’ trips funded by the Israeli government and pro-Israel lobby groups.

Woodcock is also a former right-wing Labour MP who in 2018 quit the party to escape an investigation into complaints from an investigation into ‘sex pest’ complaints against him. He was also accused by local Labour members of bullying staff.

In a statement on Woodcock’s ploy, Palestine Action said:

During our nearly four year direct action campaign, we’ve faced arrests, raids, imprisonment, beatings, convictions and more by a state desperate to protect the zionist war machine, over the freedom of their own citizens. Despite this, our movement’s determination and resilience has resulted in Elbit permanently closing two weapons factories, being dropped by several partners and losing 100’s of £millions in contracts with the Ministry of Defence. 

We are seven months into the Gaza genocide, and Walney thinks this scare tactic is going to make us surrender? He couldn’t be more wrong. 

When Palestine Action began we were under no illusion that the route to victory would be an easy ride. As a movement, we understand that every obstacle we face and overcome is a step closer to ending Israel’s weapons trade in Britain. For years the political class repressed us behind closed doors but refused to show their frustration at our growing campaign publicly. Now, they’re showing their hand which means we are winning.

Rather than deter us, Walney’s rampage to the press three days after we dissed him on twitter exposes his own motivations: to save face. 

He’s more concerned with protecting the military interests of a foreign genocidal entity over the will of the British people, who overwhelmingly support imposing an arms embargo on Israel.

His alliance is with Elbit Systems, who use Gaza as a laboratory to develop their “battle-tested” weaponry and are crucial to arming the ongoing genocide. Our alliance will always be with the Palestinian people.  Collectively we must refuse to surrender. No matter what, we will #ShutElbitDown!

Woodcock is one of a trio of hard-right former Labour MPs who were made peers by the Tories after campaigning against Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour in the run-up to the 2019 general election. Ian Austin, the ‘thuggish‘ Israel fanatic and Thatcher-worshipper who was reprimanded by Labour for his abusive conduct, abused Jewish writer Michael Rosen when Rosen was a guest of Parliament and had to apologise and pay damages to a former party staffer for libelling her as antisemitic, became a ‘trade envoy’ to Israel. John Mann, another similarly boorish Israel supporter who sprang a stunt attacking elderly former London mayor Ken Livingstone and was interviewed by police for ‘hate speech’ in an anti-Gypsy leaflet, became an ‘antisemitism tsar’ who went on to try – and fail – to stitch up Skwawkbox and the Canary as antisemitic.

To date, Israel has murdered over forty thousand – and as many as a hundred thousand – Palestinian civilians, overwhelmingly women and children, and has maimed even more, while imposing starvation on more than a million Palestinian people. The Israeli government is on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide, faces likely arrest warrants for war crimes and has been widely condemned for its war crimes and contempt for international and humanitarian law.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Palestine Action occupy Elbit’s Leicester weapons factory

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/05/2024 - 11:46pm in

Image: Palestine Action Twitter

Activists from Palestine Action (PA) have again targeted Israeli weapons-maker Elbit’s Leicester drone factory, UAV Tactical Systems. One contingent used an articulated lorry to smash through a fence and act as a platform for two protesters. At the same time, another group scaled the building and currently occupy the roof of the drone production facility. Red paint has been sprayed across the building to symbolise the company’s involvement in spilling Palestinian blood. Those on the roof are said to have used tools to break through it. 

UAV Tactical Systems is majority-owned by Israel’s largest weapons manufacturer, Elbit Systems — who manufacture 85% of Israel’s military drone fleet amongst other lethal arms and military software. Export licenses reveal that drone technologies are regularly exported from the factory to the apartheid state’s occupying military force. 

According to Corporate Watch, the firm markets its products by describing them as ‘battle tested’. 

According to War on Want, UAV Tactical Systems’ flagship Watchkeeper drone has been used by the British military in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the English Channel – but is modelled on the notorious Hermes 450 drone, that has been used in attacks on Gaza and Lebanon. 

Elbit’s drones are regularly used by the Israeli military during the ongoing genocide in Gaza. According to human rights watchdog EuroMed Monitor, since October 7th the Israeli military has killed more than 40,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured more than double that number as well as destroying hospitals, schools and over 70,000 residential buildings. After forcing more than one million Palestinians to flee to Rafah in Gaza, the Israeli military has rejected a US/Qatar/Egypt-broked ceasefire deal it had previously agreed and is now invading the only supposed ‘safe zone’ left in the besieged strip. 

The UK government has refused to impose any limitations on arms deals, even after three Britons and others were murdered by Israel in its triple bombing of a World Central Kitchen aid convoy.

Ahead of the action, one of the Palestine Action activists said: 

This country is a signatory to the Genocide convention. These laws are not to be discounted just because it’s politically expedient. They were set up for a reason and I cannot accept that the country I was born in and have lived in all my life is deciding to flout those laws.

Another added:

If the government aren’t going to act, it is my personal, moral and legal right to take direct action.

Locals in Leicester have also been conducting a daily campaign against the weapons factory’s activities.

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