Activists from the London Palestine Action group put up to 150 posters about Palestinian treatment at the hands of Israel on London underground trains across the British capital on Sunday. Their goal was to shine a spotlight on the support Israel gets from the UK: the government, arms industry, and companies like G4S.
They are part of the Israeli Apartheid Week campaign by pro-Palestinian campaigners in London, which, according to its website, aims to highlight “Israel’s ongoing settler-colonial project and apartheid policies” over the Palestinian people.
Reactions from the Israeli side
Speaking on behalf of several Jewish organizations, a spokesman for the London Jewish Forum on Monday afternoon called the posters “awful smears that do nothing to contribute to peace and dialogue, placing significant strains on inter-community relations across London.”
The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately instructed Israeli Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold, who was in London on Monday, to demand that the British government have the signs removed.
London Mayor Boris Johnson reassured the Likud by phone that the signs were unauthorized and will be taken down, instructing Transport for London to take immediate action.
Israeli Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said of the signs that “the inciters do not rest for a moment.”
“The hateful signs against Israel… are a display of hypocrisy. Of course the killing of Palestinians is the star, but there is not one word about [Palestinian] terrorism and violence. Dear BDS activists, lying won’t help you. We are here to stay, and we believe that we are just and moral,” Edelstein added.
The Jerusalem Post reported Israeli MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) calling for the entire political spectrum to fight the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, saying it seeks to destroy Israel.
“Israel has to isolate them and not let other protest movements join them. Israel is not an apartheid state and we in the Zionist Union will make sure it will not be one, because we will separate from the Palestinians. We will have a Jewish and democratic state, and they will have their own state,” Livni said.
Full Statement by London Palestine Action
London Palestine Action activists issued this full statement detailing references for all the facts stated on the posters:
London Tube Subvertisment: The campaign was done by activists from London Palestine Action (LPA) for the launch of the Israeli Apartheid Week 2016. Approximately 150 posters were neatly placed on top of adverts already located in the tube carriages. The reasoning behind the action was not only to promote the start of the Israeli Apartheid Week but also to counterattack Western media’s silence over the situation in Palestine. As public bodies, local councils and student unions are threatened to be banned by law from boycotting “unethical” companies, Israeli Apartheid Week and similar collective actions are more crucial and relevant than ever. The subvertisments cover four issues:
- The BBC repeatedly sacrificing the truth on the altar of their pro-Israeli bias
- The infamous British security company, G4S, helping in the imprisonment and abuse of thousands of Palestinians, including hundreds of children
- The UK – Israeli arms trade resulting in massacres of Palestinians, but also greasing the cogs of the Israeli apartheid machine
- The destruction of Palestinian homes becoming a means of routine collective punishment under the Israeli occupation
In the first five months of 2015, Israeli occupation forces injured more than 1,372 Palestinians and between just October and December 2015, 116 Palestinians were killed. Not only has the Western media ignored the extrajudicial killings, but the coverage has been particularly misrepresentative, particularly in the BBC news.
Once again, BBC was forced to admit its coverage of the situation in the West Bank has been misleading and refuses to acknowledge Palestinian deaths and their suffering under occupation. In a letter to Netanyahu, B’Tselem condemned the Israeli government: “Your government permits – and encourages – the transformation of police officers, and even of armed civilians, into judges and executioners”. Dania Irshied, a 17 year old, was one of the many victims of extrajudicial killings that continue until today. Amnesty International called on Israel to bring its “pattern of unlawful killings” to an end.
Child prisoners and G4S
More than 500 Palestinian children are arrested, detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system every year. G4S provides services to the Israeli prison system making it complicit in the occupation of Palestine and the unlawful imprisonment of Palestinians, including children. By outsourcing occupation-related work to G4S, the Israeli state frees itself from accountability for human rights violations and breaches of international laws. G4S is one of the UK’s most reviled companies, and is engaged in conflict-related profit making the world over.
Apartheid is Great (Britain)
UK is directly complicit in Israel’s continuing violations of human rights and international law. British-made arms worth £7m were used by Israel to massacre more than 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza. By purchasing arms from and selling arms to Israel, the UK government is giving direct material support for Israel’s aggression and sending a clear message of approval for its actions.
Over 100 companies supplying military & security equipment to Israel are based in the UK. Amongst suppliers on your doorstep are BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, G4S, Boeing, and Elbit Systems. Israeli companies make enormous profits from military technology that is ‘field-tested’ on Palestinians. The UK government sponsors three “major defence and security exhibitions in the UK” – DSEI, Farnborough International and the Security & Policing fairs.
Since October 2015, 29 demolitions were carried out in occupied East Jerusalem. In January 2016, Israel demolished three Palestinian homes in punitive actions, leaving 18 persons homeless. In 2014, Israel demolished 1,177 homes in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank. This policy is a form of collective punishment, and in accordance with humanitarian and human rights law, is assessed as a war crime and a crime against humanity.