London Palestine Action activists launched Israeli Apartheid Week – the global week of action highlighting Israeli occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid against Palestinians – with mock advertisements posted by grassroots activists inside the London Underground on Sunday, 21 February.
The “subvertisements” – posted in front of existing advertisements in the Tube – look like real advertisements, but instead carry a message about government and corporate complicity and support for Israeli occupation and apartheid. The ads highlight BBC pro-Israeli, anti-Palestinian bias, British arms sales to Israel, and home demolitions.
In particular, a mock G4S ad highlights the role of the British-Danish security corporation in the imprisonment and arrest of Palestinian children.
150 “subvertisements” were posted on at least 4 different Underground lines by activists; the action has infuriated Israeli politicians and political officials, who labeled the ads “inciteful.” It should be noted that Palestinians are frequently arrested and imprisoned for lengthy periods for spoken or written “incitement.”
London Palestine Action activists issued the statement below, from Electronic Intifada:
London Tube Subvertisment: The campaign was done by activists from London Palestine Action (LPA) for the launch of the Israeli Apartheid Week 2016. Approximately 150 posters were neatly placed on top of adverts already located in the tube carriages. The reasoning behind the action was not only to promote the start of the Israeli Apartheid Week but also to counterattack Western media’s silence over the situation in Palestine. As public bodies, local councils and student unions are threatened to be banned by law from boycotting “unethical” companies, Israeli Apartheid Week and similar collective actions are more crucial and relevant than ever. The subvertisments cover four issues:
- The BBC repeatedly sacrificing the truth on the altar of their pro-Israeli bias
- The infamous British security company, G4S, helping in the imprisonment and abuse of thousands of Palestinians, including hundreds of children
- The UK – Israeli arms trade resulting in massacres of Palestinians, but also greasing the cogs of the Israeli apartheid machine
- The destruction of Palestinian homes becoming a means of routine collective punishment under the Israeli occupation
BBC Bias: In the first eight months of 2015, Israeli occupation forces injured more than 1,372 Palestinians and between October – December 2015, 116 Palestinians were killed. Not only has the Western media ignored the extrajudicial killings but the coverage misrepresented and was completely bias towards Israel, particularly in the BBC news. Once again, BBC was forced to admit its coverage of the situation in the West bank has been misleading and refuses to acknowledge Palestinian deaths and their suffering under occupation. In a letter to Netanyahu, B’Tselem condemned the Israeli government: “Your government permits – and encourages – the transformation of police officers, and even of armed civilians, into judges and executioners.” Dania Irshied, a 17 year old, was one of the many victims of extrajudicial killings that continue until today. Amnesty International called on Israel to bring its “pattern of unlawful killings” to an end.
Child prisoners and G4S: More than 500 Palestinian children are arrested, detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system every year. G4S provides services to the Israeli prison system making it complicit in the illegal occupation of Palestine and the unlawful imprisonment of Palestinians, including children. By outsourcing occupation-related work to G4S, the Israeli state frees itself from accountability for human rights violations and breaches of international laws. G4S is one of the UK’s most reviled companies engaged in conflict related profit making the world over.
Apartheid is Great (Britain): UK is directly complicit in Israel’s continuing violations of human rights and international law. British-made arms worth £7m were used by Israel to massacre more than 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza. By purchasing arms from and selling arms to Israel, the UK government is giving direct material support for Israel’s aggression and sending a clear message of approval for its actions. Almost 100 companies supplying military & security equipment to Israel are based in the UK. Amongst suppliers on your doorstep are BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, G4S, Boeing, Elbit Systems. Israeli companies make enormous profits from military technology that is “field-tested” on Palestinians. The UK government sponsors three “major defence and security exhibitions in the UK” – DSEI, Farnborough International and Security & Policing arm fairs.
House Demolitions: Since October 2015, 29 demolitions were carried out in occupied East Jerusalem. In January 2016, Israel demolished three Palestinian homes in punitive actions, leaving 18 persons homeless. In 2014, Israel demolished 1,177 homes in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank. This policy is a form of collective punishment, and in accordance with humanitarian and human rights law, is assessed as a war crime and a crime against humanity.