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Unremarkable peer recruited by Zionist lobby to stop Palestine Action

May 13, 2024 at 8:50 am

Palestine Action activists scaled the rooftop of Elbit System’s client the Good Packing Company in protest of Israel’s airstrikes over Gaza on 8 August 2022

I have written many times about the heroic activities of Palestine Action, the protest group which burst onto the scene around four years ago using a blend of unrivalled direct action, anarchy and good, old-fashioned peaceful resistance to disrupt and wreck Israel’s war machine factories in the UK.

Despite numerous arrests, very few PA members have been prosecuted successfully, largely because the arms dealers they target do not want to be subject to probing questions under oath in a British court. What are they trying to hide?

Let us suppose that these giants of the arms industry fear going to court. If so, it is impossible for them to give evidence in the same courts as the Palestine Action protestors arrested by the police for causing criminal damage which has run into millions of pounds. Who knew that red paint could be so costly?

Nothing disturbs warmongering Zionists more than peaceful resistance supported by the law of the land, which in Britain gives people the legal right to protest against injustice.

Demonstrations, mass rallies and sit-ins have been around for as long as anyone can remember. The freedom and right to protest are a defining cornerstone of any European democracy.

Palestine Action describes itself as a pro-Palestinian protest network that uses direct action to shut down and disrupt multinational arms manufacturers and dealers. In particular, the group targets UK-based operations that provide weapons, or parts of weapons, used by Israel against the Palestinians.

At arms fairs, companies like Israel’s Elbit Systems are constantly ridiculed and humiliated for being unable to protect their factories from the eclectic group of Palestine Action activists. After all, Elbit boasts that it is a company which: “Specialises in surveillance and reconnaissance systems, optimised for all range applications – from short-range to extremely long-range. Installed on mobile platforms, as well as on stationary towers and turrets, these surveillance and reconnaissance systems enable high-quality tactical level intelligence gathering for infantry, artillery and other ground forces.”

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Let’s face it, being outwitted on an almost daily basis by today’s would-be rebels and unarmed revolutionaries wearing slack jogging bottoms and hoodies must be humiliating for the Elbit executives and its subsidiaries. Little wonder that they are the butt of so many jokes.

It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that Israel wants Palestine Action shut down for good. It’s a tall order, but this is where the pro-Israel, Zionist lobby becomes a useful tool in Tel Aviv’s many conflicts. All the lobby has to do is call to heel the politicians and parties it funds and tell them to ban the group.

This is where the likes of Britain’s Lord Walney comes in, an unremarkable, modest little man with not much to be modest about. To be blunt, this peer, described laughingly as an “independent” government advisor, is nothing but an Israeli lackey who has, in an otherwise bland 100,000-word report, criminalised protest groups active in the UK today.

Rarely a headline-maker for political strategy, as plain old John Woodcock he resigned as a Labour Party MP in 2018, hitting out at “manipulation” of an internal investigation into allegations of sexual harassment, but continued to sit in the House of Commons as an independent member. Ahead of the 2019 election, he chose not to stand again as he announced he was expecting a baby with his partner Isabel Hardman, an assistant editor at the right-wing Spectator magazine.

Naturally, Woodcock was a fervent critic of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party. The political turncoat even urged people to vote Conservative to stop Corbyn from “getting his hands on the levers of national security and defence.”

Perhaps more significantly, in the not-too-distant past, Woodcock was the chair of Labour Friends of Israel.

Now “The” Lord Walney since 2021, and sitting as an independent (“crossbencher”) in the House of Lords upper chamber of parliament, his report recommends that the government should impose new measures to deter Palestine Action’s direct campaign against Elbit, Israel’s largest arms company. Whilst acknowledging the “enormous damage” that the activists have inflicted on the arms industry, he suggests a series of moves to restrict Palestine Action’s ability to meet and raise funds. He is also calling for “buffer zones” around factories of death like those owned by Elbit in Britain to protect the company from further protests.

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Woodcock is quoted in the Sunday Times as saying that he wants to “make it an offence to belong to a protest group judged to be ‘extreme’ and which routinely uses criminal methods to campaign.” If the same twisted, Zionist logic had been applied in the early twentieth century, British women would not have been given the right to vote because the “extremists” in the Suffragettes — who definitely broke the law on occasion — would have been banned outright.

People protest against the real estate and consultancy firm called the "Fisher German" for cooperating with the Israeli arms company Elbit Systems, in front of the London office of the UK-based company in London, United Kingdom on November 29, 2023. [Raşid Necati Aslım - Anadolu Agency]

People protest against the real estate and consultancy firm called the “Fisher German” for cooperating with the Israeli arms company Elbit Systems, in front of the London office of the UK-based company in London, United Kingdom on November 29, 2023. [Raşid Necati Aslım – Anadolu Agency]

Despite posing as an “independent” government advisor, Woodcock is affiliated with the pro-Israel lobby and the arms industry. He is also the chair of the Defence Purpose Coalition, which brings together senior figures within the arms industry to promote its deadly products. Since 2011, he’s travelled to Israel on numerous occasions on trips paid for by the Israeli government and pro-Israel lobby groups, according to a recent investigation by Declassified UK.

Palestine Action released a statement about the new proposals this week. “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,” it said. “Despite this, our movement’s determination and resilience have resulted in Elbit permanently closing two factories plus being dumped by several partners and losing hundreds of millions [of pounds] in contracts with the Ministry of Defence.”

READ: Palestine activists smash into and occupy Elbit’s Leicestershire drone factory

The success of the group, almost always vehemently denied by Israel, is a testament to its peaceful but direct action. However, nearly eight months into the Gaza genocide, it is clear that the arms industry is reaching breaking point with the British judicial system, which has abandoned or dismissed most trials of activists who are taken to court.

If the Zionist lobby and Lord Walney think that this scare tactic is going to force the action group to surrender, though, I’m afraid they’ve seriously underestimated it.

“When Palestine Action began we were under no illusion that the route to victory would be an easy ride,” it pointed out. “As a movement, we understand that every obstacle we face and overcome is a step closer to ending Israel’s weapons trade with 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.”

They accused the British peer of being more interested in “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 the hugely profitable 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.”

The Palestine Action campaigners say that they will “Shut Elbit down”.

And, I have to say, I am more convinced by their commitment to the people of Palestine than that of Lord Walney who has compromised himself by his closeness to the Israeli arms industry and the Zionist lobby. He and his report are far from independent in this matter. The UK is, for all its faults, still a democratic state whose citizens have rights and freedoms won after centuries of dissent and popular protests. Now the likes of Walney and his Zionist friends want to curtail those rights to serve the interests of the alien, apartheid state of Israel. This cannot be allowed to happen.

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