With echoes of the ‘Don’t bank on Apartheid’ campaign against Barclays Bank’s South African links in the 1970s and 80s, campaigners in Wrexham on Saturday called on Barclays customers to boycott the bank in protest at its alleged support for Israel’s Apartheid regime and the global arms trade.
This follows the Wrexham Peace & Justice Forum’s information morning about the use of drones in warfare – read our report here.
Forum representatives tell us “During the last major offensive in 2008-9, dubbed Operation ‘Cast Lead’, almost 1,500 Palestinians were killed including over 340 children. Gaza was described by David Cameron two years ago as ‘a prison camp’. It is one of the most densely populated areas on the planet and, apart from the land border with Egypt, Israel controls all of its borders as well as its airspace and maintains a blockade widely condemned as illegal.”
“There is documentary evidence recently released under a court order that exposes Israel’s policy of keeping the Gazan people in a state of near-starvation by coldly calculating the amount of food to allow in. At times, actual supplies allowed across the border fell way below this threshold, with some decisions to reduce supplies linked to political events in Gaza. In other words, Israel inflicts collective punishment on Gaza’s civilian population, illegal under international law. One of the US Embassy cables attributed to a leak by Welsh-American whistleblower Bradley Manning shows how Israel’s aim is “to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge.”
“The current assault on Gaza by Israel will only make an already dire situation worse. Children are dying and there are bound to be numerous other civilian casualties.”
Barclays customers in Wrexham on Saturday morning were confronted with a large display board held up outside the entrance alerting them to Barclays’ alleged connections to Israel and the arms trade. It said the bank profits from direct investments, making loans and providing banking services to major arms corporations and Israeli companies including those operating in the illegally occupied territories and allegedly exploiting Palestinian resources and labour.
The Wrexham Peace & Justice Forum tells said “We also handed out flyers that included information about how Barclays profits from death, destruction and Israeli Apartheid, as well as a little background to the current escalation of the conflict by Israel and the terrible consequences for the Palestinian people of the Operation ‘Cast Lead’ bombardment of Gaza in 2008-9. Customers were encouraged to boycott the bank.”
Genny Bove of Wrexham Peace & Justice Forum added “To remain silent in the face of Israel’s attacks on Gaza is to be complicit in these crimes against humanity. There are many ways in which we can collectively put pressure on Israel and just one of these is to boycott Barclays Bank and other companies with Israeli links. Educate yourself and then speak out. Never believe that your voice doesn’t count.”