Palestine Solidarity Campaign welcome the sale of Elbit Ferranti, and the subsequent closure of Elbit’s factory in Oldham. Elbit Systems is one of Israel’s largest military companies supplying the Israeli government with killer drones, munitions, and components integral to Israel’s deadly attacks against Palestinians. Elbit is also a supplier of harmful and deadly equipment to countries around the world, used in the militarisation of border from the US/Mexico border, to Fortress Europe, with devastating impacts on people in countless locations.
We pay tribute to all those who have campaigned since Elbit Systems purchased the site in 2007, including many members of the Manchester PSC branch, who have sustained a campaign over the years through vigils, protest, community mobilisation, lobbying, and direct action.
The campaign has delivered a clear message: the Oldham community does not want weapons used to maim and kill produced on their doorstep. The new owner of the factory, TT Electronics, must heed this call, and not use the factory to produce weapons or other items used in the destruction of people and our planet.
This crucial victory comes as effective solidarity with the Palestinian people continues to grow, through boycott and divestment campaigns, and other inspiring expressions of solidarity from every corner of the earth. Just this month, over 40 artists have withdrawn from Sydney Festival in Australia due to its partnership with apartheid Israel, heeding the call from Palestine not to cross the BDS picket line, and refusing to do harm to the Palestinian liberation struggle.
This follows an outpouring of protest in May last year, when, in solidarity with Palestinian resistance against Israeli apartheid across historic Palestine and in the diaspora, hundreds of thousands took to the streets of towns and cities across the UK, including 200,000 marching in London in the biggest Palestine solidarity march in British history
The victory in Oldham comes on the back of decades of organising against Elbit, through the framework of the BDS Movement, which identified Elbit as a core target as long ago as 2008. Since that time, strategic campaigns have cost Elbit contracts worth millions of pounds, and been subject to divestment by a range of institutional investors, including pensions funds and banks in Norway, Germany, Sweden, Holland, and the UK, where HSBC and East Sussex Pension Fund have divested.
The solidarity movement continues to grow in strength and will continue to build momentum and accelerate campaigns against all companies complicit in the violation of Palestinian rights, including PUMA, which is subject to an international campaign coordinated by PACBI, and led by PSC in the UK, calling on it to end its sponsorship of the Israel Football Association. We will continue to escalate campaigns demanding our institutions, such as universities and pension funds, divest from companies complicit in Israeli apartheid, and that the government adopts a comprehensive military embargo against the Israeli state.
Coordinated and collective action wins the day, and we won’t rest until the Palestinian demands for freedom, justice and equality are realised.