Elbit Bristol once again targeted by activists over Israel complicity

  • Post last modified:March 26, 2024
  • Reading time:7 mins read

On Saturday 23 March around two hundred people gathered outside the new Elbit Horizon H2 factory in Filton, north Bristol. It was to protest against the company’s complicity in Israel‘s ongoing genocide in Gaza.

Bristol: standing up to Elbit and Israel

Bristol Palestine Alliance was formed in response to the horrific events happening in Gaza.

Acting as an umbrella group, it brings members from organisations and groups and communities in Bristol together to respond collectively to organise marches and other events to call for a ceasefire in Gaza and an end to Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestine. It has already staged numerous actions since 7 October – and now, organised another one on 23 March outside Elbit’s new factory.

People hung children’s toys and clothes on the fences around the site and they laid cloth bundles stained with red on the road to the factory to symbolise babies killed in Gaza:

Children's toys and clothes hung on Elbit's fence in Bristol

In addition, children chalked slogans on the tarmac.

Messages of support

Despite a bitter cold wind plus at times rain and a hailstorm, the crowd listened to a range of speakers including a local hospital doctor, a university academic, a journalist, local campaigners, and Zoe Goodman, an independent city councillor who earlier this year resigned from the Labour group in protest at the party’s position on Gaza:

There was a message of support from Ronnie Barkan, an Israeli dissident – who recently stood trial as part of the Elbit-7 for direct action at the Aztec West Elbit site nearby. There was a further message from Andrew Feinstein, arms trade expert and Jewish member of the post-Apartheid ANC government in South Africa.

Of course, Bristol Palestine Alliance was protesting for good reason.

Elbit: complicit in genocide

Elbit Systems UK is owned by Israel’s largest weapons firm, which markets its weaponry as “battle-tested” after they’re developed through assaults on the Palestinian people.

The Israeli weapons maker manufactures 85% of Israel’s military drone fleet and land-based equipment, as well as missiles, bombs and bullets. Elbit’s CEO Bazhalel Machlis, who sits on the board of Elbit Systems UK, boasted of how the Israeli military has thanked the company for their “crucial” services during the ongoing genocide in Gaza.

Since 7 October, Israel has killed over 32,000 Palestinians, injured over 73,000, and displaced the vast majority of Gaza.

In Bristol, as Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) wrote:

This ‘research, development and manufacturing hub for high technology solutions’ was opened in July 2023 by the Israeli ambassador, Tzipi Hotovely, and local Tory MP Jack Lopresti. It is the second Elbit Systems facility in Bristol, the other being at 600 Aztec West

As the Canary recently reported, Palestine Action is currently camping outside Elbit’s HQ at 600 Aztec West in Bristol. Therefore, the demo outside Elbit’s other site was well-timed.

‘We shall overcome’

So, some names of the dead in Gaza were read out to the crowd at the Bristol Palestine Alliance demo who chanted “Killed by Elbit. Killed by Israel”. The crowd was also joined by members of the “Big Ride for Palestine” who cycled up from central Bristol.

The rally concluded with the crowd gathering alongside a banner reading “STOP ARMING ISRAEL”:

A banner reading Stop Arming Israel

The crowd finished by singing the 1960s Civil Rights anthem We Shall Overcome – an apt conclusion to proceedings.

Featured image and additional images via BPA

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