A blockbuster report in “The Guardian” newspaper revealed that the Israeli embassy in Britain was attempting to influence the British crown prosecution in its cases against Palestine Action activists being put on trial for confronting the Israeli arms industry. Palestine Action obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information request. There are currently approximately 100 Palestine Action actionists threatened with prison time in a series of cases related to their direct actions at Israeli and British arms factories across the country.
This is not the first time Israeli embassies have been involved in trying to influence various countries and local prosecutors to repress Palestine solidarity and Palestinian community organizing. Most recently, the Israeli embassy in Switzerland pressured the Geneva city government into cancelling an art exhibition of the work of revolutionary Swiss artist Marc Rudin, who made many of the iconic posters of the Palestinian liberation movement. In Germany, the Israeli ambassador denounced the presence of posters supporting Palestinian prisoners on the streets of Berlin, demanding that Samidoun be banned.
We republish Palestine Action’s statement below and urge all supporters of Palestine to stand with the Palestine Action prisoners and campaign to shut Elbit down and confront the alliance of Zionism and imperialism, as expressed through the arms industry, the banking industry and related multinational corporations in the US, Britain, Canada, Europe and elsewhere.
As reported in the Guardian today, correspondence disclosed by the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) shows the Israeli Embassy in London attempting to exert diplomatic influence on the prosecution of Palestine Action activists.
The disclosures, made under the Freedom of Information Act, show correspondence between the Director General of the Attorney General’s Office, Doug Wilson, with representatives of the Israeli Embassy in London, over the period May 2022 to February 2023. While most of these representatives have their names redacted, we know that one is Oren Marmorstein, Deputy Ambassador of Israel to the UK .
In an email dated 9th May 2022, at which time Suella Braverman held the post of Attorney General, Wilson updates the Embassy on matters previously discussed in a meeting. He notes having raised matters on the embassy’s behalf to their Home Office colleagues, relating to Law Officer’s ability to intervene in prosecution decisions and casework. The parties also discussed the ‘operational independence of the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service]’, and the AGO’s ability to bring about prosecutions.
The same email notes a discussion between the parties relating to domestic protest law, including the government’s intended ‘strengthen[ing] of policy powers to tackle non-violent protests’ of a ‘disruptive’ nature. Furthermore, Wilson adds that, in the meeting, ‘we also mentioned the Attorney General’s power to refer questions of law to the Court of Appeal’, and their having done so recently in relation to the Colston Four. This came four months before the judgement in this appeal ruling , a ruling which then largely stripped Palestine Action activists of their rights to the Article 10 and 11 protections of the European Convention on Human Rights. These defences, their Freedoms of Expression and Assembly, were denied due to the activists’ targeting of private property – property belonging to Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest private weapons company.
Over the past year, therefore, there is clear and compelling evidence that the Israeli apartheid state have been attempting to exert pressure over the Director General of the Law Officer’s Department, Doug Wilson, as regards matters of British domestic law, policing, and prosecutions. This email, of the 9th May, came during months of intensive and widespread direct action against the sites and offices of Elbit Systems, which saw two Elbit premises in London and Oldham close permanently .
More recently, in an email dated 1st February 2023, four months into Victoria Prentice’s tenure as AG, the Israeli embassy contacted Wilson. The correspondence discusses the making of a joint declaration between the respective countries’ Ministries of Justice – the body which oversees the judiciary, courts, prisons and probation – to seek ‘closer bilateral cooperation’ over ‘legislation and legal reform, civil and criminal law and legal eduction’. The final point to note is the parties’ discussion of ‘special mission immunity’, with an apparent reticence on the part of the Israeli embassy to host a visit of Israeli officials given the possibility of arrests for war crimes committed.
With the former head of the Foreign Office, Dominic Raab, having met with Israeli officials to discuss Palestine Action in 2021 , we now have confirmation also of AGO, Home Office, and Ministry of Justice collusion with the occupation regime of Israel. Palestine Action have stated:
“This is confirmation of what has been suspected for a long time, that the Israeli state is attempting to exert top-level diplomatic influence to lock up those who stand against its war machine. This undue influence further damages the credibility of charges brought against activists, who have faced criminal trials, sentencing, and litigious harrassment for their action taken against the manufacturers of Israel’s murderous weaponry.
This goes some way to explaining the ludicrous charges brought against activists: conspiracy to blackmail, aggrevated criminal damage, or a seven week trial for ‘going equipped’ – these bogus charges have been brought about because the heads of the British Attorney General’s Office, Ministry of Justice, and police have been working in close collaboration with an apartheid state. In the coming months we’ve over 100 activists due to stand trial, and the possible prison sentences faced represent an injustice of global proporions given that the Israeli war machine has clearly taken hold of British courts.
If this has surfaced now after just one Freedom of Information request, we urge all supporters to undertake research themselves, and to find what else is out there”
NOTES TO EDITORS
If you would like any further information on Palestine action, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Palestine Action is a direct-action network of groups and individuals formed with the mandate of taking action against the sites of Elbit Systems and other companies complicit in Israeli apartheid, calling for all such sites to be shut down.