Direct action group Palestine Action has successfully managed to get a company to drop its association with one of Israel‘s largest arms manufacturers – directly complicit in its ongoing genocide in Gaza. It shows that, with perseverance, protest and direct action can bring about change.
Palestine Action: holding iO Associates to account
Palestine Action is a direct-action network of groups and individuals formed with the mandate of taking action against the sites of Elbit Systems and other companies complicit in Israeli apartheid, calling for all such sites to be shut down. When it launched in 2020, the network explained that:
We have come together to promote civil disobedience and take direct action against the companies and institutions that Israel uses to violently enforce apartheid, occupation and colonisation on the people of Palestine.
Now, after weeks of action the sole recruiters for the British operations of Israel’s largest weapons company, Elbit Systems, have confirmed via email to Palestine Action that they ended their association with Elbit on the evening of 29 November. For two months, activists in the Palestine Action network had disrupted iO Associates at their premises across the country, to impede their ability to recruit roles for Israel’s war machine.
iO Associates recruited the likes of engineers, software developers, and finance staff for positions across the sites of the British branch of Israel’s largest weapons company, Elbit Systems.
They were forced to vacate their Manchester offices from 11 October, after the premises were also stormed by the Youth Front For Palestine, and then finally targeted in Edinburgh twice, on 11 and 17 October. After being forced to vacate their offices, having their online presence tarnished, and (as confirmed to us by former employees) losing their staff who resigned in opposition to their arms trade partnership, iO Associates have finally cut ties with Israel’s weapons trade.
This is not the first success Palestine Action has had. As the Canaryreported in December 2022:
The minister of defence procurement Alex Chalk has confirmed that the government has ejected Elbit Systems from a £160m contract. The news follows significant third quarter losses for the Israeli weapons company, putting its future in the UK in doubt.
All this is part of an expansive strategy by Palestine Action, by disrupting the suppliers and facilitators of Elbit’s presence in Britain. It has seen Elbit’s accountants (Edwards),haulage providers (Kuehne + Nagel), landlords (JLL) and many other complicit companies targeted, alongside the hundreds of actions at Elbit sites themselves, continuing to resist the presence of Elbit warmongers in Britain, and constantly reminding those associated with them that they have blood on their hands.
As a result of iO Associates dropping Elbit Systems, the recruiters have been removed as a target of Palestine Action’s campaign. All targets who still facilitate Israel’s weapons trade are listed on elbitsites.uk
Featured image and additional images via Palestine Action
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