Workers in Palestine International Call to Action
On October 16, Palestinian trade unions called for workers and trade unions around the world to take action to stop the flow of arms to Israel in order to restrain the Israeli war machine and the genocide it is engaging in against the Palestinian people. Dozens of trade unions around the world issued statements heeding the call to stand with the Palestinian people and commit to take action to enforce a ceasefire.
Join us in action and help stop the genocide!
1. What You Can Do
The days of action are focused on three main targets, and engages activists, workers, trade unions, students and educators.
The days of action call on:
- Everyone - to block all factories making and exporting arms to Israel.
- Unions and workers - to not manufacture, transport or handle weapons, and/or surveillance tech destined to Israel, and make public statements to that effect.
- Students and educators - to uncover if your university has investments, contracts or cooperation agreements with weapons companies supplying Israel, call them out and organising to cancel them.
2. How to Get Started on planning an action
- Research: Research, assess, and select a target: what institution will your action target and what is its relation to Israel and the arms trade? Below, we provide resources and key examples of specific targets. These are not exhaustive by any means but provide some starting points, tools and guidance for how to begin!
- Reconnaissance: visit the location to assess what action you can take
- Worker outreach: Research whether the factory, workplace or target identified is staffed by union workers. Reach out to the workers inside the location and work with them on the action as closely as possible
- Build coalitions: Bring community groups together in your area!
- Assess your risk level: Build decision-making processes around risk levels and decide on a collective way to approach tactical diversity or unity.
- Security: Practice good information security and be careful who you add to your circles of trust. Try to keep discussion of high-risk action to in-person trusted circles.
- Action: Delegate roles and plan the action. Reach out to experienced organizers for Know Your Rights, marshalling, legal observer, direct action, and other forms of training.
3. Selecting a Target
To take action, the first thing you need to do is find an appropriate local target where Israeli arms and supportive companies are operating and focus your energy there. We provide key examples, research resources, and strategies for selecting targets below.
The Military Industry
The main countries involved in supplying arms and military goods to Israel are the US, Germany, Italy and the UK. It is possible to take direct action targeting the production of military and surveillance goods in different forms: at sites that directly produce weapons and munitions for the Israeli military, and at plants run by multinational companies that make military goods for Israel elsewhere in the world.
If you live in the US, UK, Italy, Spain, Belgium or South Africa we have compiled the following introduction to arms production and export for Israel. Use this “Who Arms Israel?” guide to take action.
We have also compiled further resources:
- The F35 supply chain. Trace where the components are made for a fighter jet used by the Israeli military and disrupt its supply chain using this F35 Suppliers spreadsheet.
- US Foreign Military Sales. This spreadsheet of defense contractors contains details on every US arms export licensed through its Foreign Military Sales programme, the primary contracting companies, export customers and manufacturing sites. NB: there are other mechanisms through which military goods are exported and not all of these licenses have resulted in final export agreements, but search this document for an area near you.
- UK arms exports to Israel until 2015 – see information here, here and here.
Transport and logistics
Once arms and weapons have been assembled, they travel to Israel via military vessels and planes, often via third party military logistics contractors. Departure and arrival schedules and locations for military shipments are not publicly available, and are unfortunately nearly impossible to track and predict ahead of time. While many finished military goods are transported by the military itself, either by military vessels or airlift, components and some goods are transported by sea on board normal container vessels. Ports are key nodes in the supply chain for arms.
Following the success of Block the Boat actions across the world, many have expressed excitement about picketing Israeli ZIM ships as a BDS target. ZIM is the main provider of shipping services to Israel and one of the top ten largest shipping lines in the world. While Workers in Palestine does see Zim as a strategic target, particularly in ports with direct routes to Israel, we also want to stress that pulling off a successful block the boat action is a highly complex operation, and the cooperation of dockers' unions is essential. We encourage cities interested in Block the Boat actions to prioritize outreach and coordination with their local dockers unions as the first step. Should you be unable to make sustained contact with your local union, we suggest reassessing your target and considering other more strategic actions.
Most military components enter and exit the US via its east coast ports – primarily New York/Newark, Savannah, Charleston, and the Port of Virginia. These ports are typically unionized by the International Longshoremen’s Association, or ILA. This is because most military supply chains center on Europe and the US with many components produced in Europe and final assembly taking place in the US.
- We have produced a primer for planning a Block the Boat action. Although it was written for US-based actions, the methods will be useful for organizers in other locations. It includes step by step instructions for researching Zim schedules, planning in consultation with longshore unions, and other factors to consider when considering a port blockade. See the step-by-step Block the Boat primer here.
- If you live in the US, UK, Italy, Spain, Greece, or Turkey, check whether there are shipping services between your location and Israel using this spreadsheet of Zim services. If you do not live in those countries, check the BTB primer above for instructions on doing your own research.
Universities and Public Institutions
Some universities have direct connections with military companies through research projects and funding. Additionally, universities procure services from companies that are complicit in the military-industrial complex. Universities also utilize substantial financial resources from endowment plans, foundations, and pension funds to make investments in companies involved in the Israeli occupation. These investments can be direct or indirect, often involving third-party investors like asset management companies or private equity firms such as BlackRock, Vanguard, or Blackstone.
For example, BlackRock owns $27 million worth of shares in Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd.. The following universities have endowment or pension plans managed by BlackRock:
- University of Oxford (Oxford, UK)
- University of Manchester (Manchester, UK)
- Duke University (Durham, NC)
- University of California (multiple locations, CA)
- York University (Toronto, ON)
- University of North Texas (Dallas, TX)
- University of Southampton (Southampton, UK)
- University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM)
Goldman Sachs owns $15 million worth of shares in Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd.. The following universities have endowment or pension plans managed by Goldman Sachs:
- University of Minnesota (Minnesota, MN)
- Universities Superannuation Scheme (UK-wide)
- Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA)
- University of California (multiple locations, CA)
- Syracuse University (Syracuse, NY)
- University of Nevada (Reno, NV)
- University of New Hampshire (Durham, NH)
If your university is a public institution, information about your university's investments is usually available through university annual reports, budget & planning reports, and bulletins from your office of research. If such information is not readily available, here are some resources:
- Use Freedom of Information requests for obtaining this data. A large database of previously filed requests is available at Muckrock, or learn to file your own with these resources
- For US Universities: Consult these guidelines for finding links between the US Department of Defense and your university. You can also search the US Defense Research site for listed contracts
- For UK universities: A useful resource is the Demilitarise Education website which provides a searchable database of arms investments in UK institutions.
We encourage students, academics and staff to call for universities to
- Immediately divest from all arms companies, particularly those supporting Israel's military capabilities.
- Encourage universities to conduct thorough reviews of their investment portfolios, excluding companies involved in arming Israel.
- Organize university lab workers whose research is funded by military investments to take action. This is a crucial and important step in intervening at the point of production in the university system. A step by step guide for getting started is here.
4. Ways of Taking Action
- Taking actions at arms factories - raising banners, direct action, disrupting business as usual.
- Flyering arms and transport workers and building links with workers and unions in order to build a critical mass able to take action.
- Organising in your workplace, speaking to your colleagues and trade union and encouraging them to refuse to load and/or unload ships destined for Israel or Israeli shipping.
- Get your trade union to issue a statement committing to heed the Palestinian call, as a prelude to taking action on the ground.
- Raise a petition in your university highlighting how your university is is complicit in investments profiling from Israeli genocide, and pass motions in student government or faculty senates committing you institutions or union to withdraw these funds.
- Organise and reach out to researchers and lab workers whose labs are funded by military companies, and encourage them to strategize a response to Palestinian Trade Unions’ call for solidarity
- Hold a public event or protest against your universities investment in and/or collaboration with companies profiting from Israeli genocide.
Please use #StopArmingIsrael and tag us to share your actions with us directly before and after:
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any follow up.