The Spectator of Death: Palestine Action Responds

Dec 13, 2020

As apologists for Imperialism, border militarism and Apartheid throughout the British press begin to froth at the mouth over activist resistance, we can all breath a sigh of relief. It’s clear; those who write on behalf of media barons, corrupt governments and arms manufacturers have little moral or political integrity. 

It’s the least you can expect from The Spectator. However, if they are willing to provide the dedicated, anti-apartheid activists of Palestine Action free exposure, it’s only fair we return the favour by providing a reply — that is, if it’s possible to respond to fallacious and dishonest framings, outright lies, distortion and an obvious level of political ignorance. Such “journalism” would normally be embarrassing for an editor at a global newspaper, until you realise: that newspaper is the Daily Mail.

It’s clear throughout his piece, the author, Jake Wallis Simons, was engaging in what can only be termed as self-stimulation. While The Spectator ‘wanks over weapons and war crimes’, Palestine Action will be actively (and admirably) trying to shut those arms exports to Israel down, by locking-on to Elbit’s gates, occupying their factories and spraying them with symbolic blood. He writes: activists “armed themselves with paint pots” — an insidious turn of phrase to use when writing a piece in defence of actual arms manufacturers: let’s not forget, these are weapons being tested on children and refugees, but I digress. 

Jake goes on to state that activists occupied the roof of Elbit “Offices” in Staffordshire in September. These are not offices. This is a factory that builds and supplies the engines of drones that rain down fire and death from the skies of Gaza. Our method of targeting Elbit factories and offices is politically strategic, clear and precise, unlike Jake’s bad attempt at a ‘hit piece’ against us. Furthermore, Palestine Action successfully shut down production at Elbit’s UAV Engines factory for two weeks, costing the company, over £450,000. How’s that for “expressing impotence with red paint”.

Jake was unable to present a genuine reason why targeting an arms company that markets its weapons as “battle-tested” on a captive population (in violation of the 4th Geneva Convention), was not the moral thing to do. He instead, tried to deploy antisemitism as a proxy — an all too familiar tactic deployed by the state, the Far-Right and all who defend Apartheid — to undermine the actions of those who oppose the crimes and the complicity of firms working to uphold Israel’s arms industry. How did he do this? By declaring that protestors outside Elbit’s London offices in October “hurled paint over several Jewish people, who had gathered to stage a peaceful counter-demonstration”.

The “peaceful counter-demonstration” was, in fact, a small contingent of extremists and Zionists, namely from the well-known far-right group “Sussex Friends of Israel” — some of whom already have restraining orders against them for harassment against pro-Palestinian activists. Kitted out with body cameras, these so-called “peaceful” protestors, walked back and forth intimidating activists and deliberately violating social-distancing rules to attract police attention. One even threatened a group of young student protesters that “Israel has the best torture chambers in the world” — not exactly strengthening the “moral” case for the Zionist cause. As for chucking red paint, my advice is ‘don’t stand in-front of Elbit’s head office thinking you can protect it from being targeted: you’re going to get soaked!’

Jake goes on to engage in such transparent whataboutery, it would make even the most dishonest right-wing hack cringe. He asked: “why do the protesters choose to target an Israeli arms manufacturer rather than, say, a British company like BAE?”. His attempt to equate the targeting of Elbit with antisemitism, not only reveals a level of dishonesty (expected from The Spectator), but an insinuation that the crimes of Elbit in Palestine are linked to the Jewish people — not the crimes of the Apartheid Israeli state and the ever-complicit British government. However, if he’s genuinely asking the question: why do we target Elbit?, the answer is pretty simply. We ARE called Palestine Action, so our focus on Israel’s largest private arms manufacturer, should be obvious. The clue is in the name, is it not?

We welcome Jake and The Spectator to start their own group to target BAE’s ongoing crimes in Yemen on behalf of both the Saudi and British states. We can give him some tips if he’d like — we have plenty! However, his limp attempt at comparison was to use one crime to erase another — a coward’s and an apologist’s response. Rest assured Jake; once we shut Elbit down and end all UK complicity with Israel’s Apartheid regime, we’ll swiftly move on to targeting other criminal companies.

Moving on, the author engages in repugnant and appalling justifications for the murder of unarmed protesters at Gaza’s border by the IOF — yes Jake, that’s “Israeli Occupation Forces” — it’s intentional. He naively scoffs: “context is everything” as if that warrants the hundreds murdered and the thousands injured over the last few years by Israeli snipers. After a long-winded rant about Israeli and British military and intelligence coordination, it starts to become obvious that Jake’s lost the point of his hit-piece and has instead, moved on to his sexual fantasies about bombs, bullets and battles.

According to Jake, those who fantasise over and defend the crimes of arms companies and apartheid states are the “sensible people” in Britain. The “radical loons” are the ones who refuse to turn a blind eye to injustices and human rights abuses domestically and internationally. Unbeknown to Jake and The Spectator, there are a lot more ‘radical loons’ willing to support, and indeed, join our direct action network to end UK complicity with Israel’s Apartheid regime, than he thinks.

We are Palestine Action. We will keep growing. We will keep struggling. We will keep making those committed to defending and erasing the crimes of Elbit Systems foam at the mouth in rage. We will take whatever the corporate-funded media throws at us. We will go on until we end all UK complicity in Israel’s Apartheid regime and #ShutElbitDown. Then, we’ll set up a “BAE Action” group and ask “journalists” like Jake to join us! I’m sure he’ll oblige.