In an email to Palestine Action, transportation giants Kuehne+Nagel declared they’ve ended all ties with Israel’s largest weapons firm, Elbit Systems, and will not be working with them again in the future. This victory comes after an extensive direct action campaign, which first involved activists from Palestine Action breaking into the K+N’s Leicester offices, smashing windows and spray painting the inside on May 12th 2023, with numerous similar actions taken since.
“All companies associated with Israeli weapons makers Elbit Systems must follow suit and end their links with Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people. Palestine Action will continue to target all those who facilitate the production of Elbit’s weaponry, which is “battle-tested” on the Palestinian people. In solidarity with Palestine, we will not stop until Elbit ceases to exist.”
~ Palestine Action spokesperson
Following the first action, K+N attempted to disguise the lorries they used to transport Elbit’s weaponry from their Leicester subsidiary, UAV Tactical Systems. This attempt did not go unnoticed by Palestine Action, who listed the company as a target on elbitsites.uk, leading to a double action at the company’s Milton Keynes branch and their cargo insurance firm in London. This involved smashing their branches’ windows, buildings covered in blood-red paint, and messages left calling for K+N to “cut ties with Elbit”.
Palestine Action was initially informed of the logistics and transportation company’s long-standing contract with Elbit by a whistleblower from the company. This intel was confirmed by frequent sightings of K+N lorries entering and leaving Elbit’s UAV Tactical Systems factory in Leicester, proving the company’s involvement in shipping Israeli drone technologies. They are one of only six companies licensed for the secure collection, delivery, and disposal of firearms and weapons in Britain, and its decision to cease its relationship with Elbit will significantly hinder the company’s ability to complete its weapons exports to Israel.
Along with their former partnership with Elbit, the company supplying 85% of Israel’s drones and land based military equipment, K+N played a historical role in trafficking weapons to Apartheid South Africa, bolstering the regime in the 1980s. According to the Anti-Apartheid Movement, these shipments were sent to South Africa via Israel. That this £30bn company, long established in drawing profits from the arms industry, has decided that association with Elbit is too great an operational and PR risk is surely sore news for Israel’s weapons trade.
K+N’s move to distance themselves from Elbit Systems comes after the sole recruiters, iO associates, the property managers of Elbit’s Shenstone factory, Fisher German, and the website hosts for Elbit’s Leicester factory also dropped all ties with the Israeli weapons maker. This pattern – of companies rushing to end their links with Elbit Systems after a targeted campaign by Palestine Action – further validates the group’s expansive direct action strategy.