On 10th October 2022, 8 people will go on trial for actions they have taken as part of a campaign by Palestine Action targeting Elbit Systems.
Elbit Systems is an abhorrent company responsible for the production and sale of deadly weapons that have been used by the Israeli army to repress the Palestinian people, deny them the right to self-determination, and enforce a system of apartheid. These technologies have been marketed by Elbit Systems as ‘battle-proven’ and sold around the world. Elbit Systems has been a target for campaigners for many years, and for good reason. It is the epitome of a human-rights abusing company, and PSC will continue to campaign against it, as part of our broader campaign to end to all arms trade between Britain and Israel.
This case must be seen in the wider context of growing Government moves to limit the right to protest. The recent Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act, and Nationality and Borders Act, attacks on the Human Rights Act, and the proposed Public Order Bill and National Security Bill, demonstrate that the Government is looking to intensify this repressive environment. Across the board our freedom of expression, which includes the right to protest, is under assault.
Civil society space has been markedly shrinking since the introduction of the ineffective and repressive counter-terror measures in the wake of the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. This includes: the Prevent agenda which targets Muslims and Arabs especially; increased anti-worker legislation through the Trade Union Act which limits the rights of trade unions; and the attacks on the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, which PSC successfully challenged in court, but which are now due to come back as primary legislation attempting to crack down on BDS. PSC stands in solidarity with all of those across civil society experiencing and resisting these repressive laws.
We’re deeply concerned by reports about the intense state repression targeting the defendants in this particular case – through police raids on homes and flats, and the invocation of counter-terror measures to seize passports and justify wide-ranging interrogations.
PSC will continue to develop its own actions and initiatives to build a broad mass movement of solidarity with Palestinians and to expose the role of companies like Elbit Systems. While PSC may adopt different methods to the defendants, we condemn the repressive actions taken against them and hope the jury ensures that they will walk free.
It is Elbit Systems and other companies trading deadly weapons with Israel which should be in the dock, not those seeking to disrupt their immoral and illegal activities.