Barclays owns shares worth over £1.3 billion in companies supplying Israel with weapons and military technology. It is extremely likely that these and other UK-made weapons and technologies are being used to facilitate Israel's genocidal military campaign on Gaza. War on Want coordinated a robust letter from UK charities to Foreign Secretary David Cameron demanding a halt of UK arms transfers to Israel but continue to wait for a response.
Armed violence has always been at the heart of Israel’s apartheid and occupation regime. Palestinians have lived under threat of lethal violence from Israeli forces and settlers, arbitrary and abusive arrest and detention, home demolitions and forcible transfer, and intrusive surveillance of all areas of their lives. Since October 7 2023, Israel has escalated all of these unlawful acts and even embarked on a policy of genocidal violence.
Israel’s leaders have openly dehumanised Palestinians, whilst killing some nine thousand children and injuring many thousands more. Over one thousand children have had at least one limb amputated, many of them without anaesthetic. The acute scarcity of medicines, fuel, food and water is due to Israel’s devastating blockade of Gaza, a form of collective punishment and a war crime. UN experts, among many others, demanded action to prevent the unfolding genocide, and now South Africa has filed a case of genocide against Israel in the International Court of Justice.
The decades of militarised repression, apartheid, the ongoing extreme assault on Gaza, and the spike in state and settler violence across the West Bank are made possible by international complicity: countries, including the UK, trade in arms with Israel, and shield it from accountability, whilst corporations, including Barclays, invest in these weapons and other repressive technologies.
In addition to profiting from such arms sales Barclays provides these companies with over £4 billion worth of loans and other financial services.
These companies include:
- Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest private arms company, supplies 85% of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) used by the Israeli army as well as military communications technology and targeting equipment. Elbit Systems weaponry has been used extensively in bombardments of Gaza. Additionally, Elbit Systems has been associated with the production of cluster munitions, banned under international law.
- Raytheon produces bunker buster bombs, used by Israel to target Palestinian homes in repeated bombardments of the Gaza Strip, as well as Paveway guided missiles.
- Caterpillar supplies the Israeli military with D9 bulldozers, used to demolish Palestinian homes, schools, villages, and civilian infrastructure, including sewage and water pipes. D9 bulldozers are used in the construction of illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land.
Subsequent research publicised in December 2023 by the Don’t Buy Into Occupation Coalition showing that Barclays is Europe’s 6th largest creditor of businesses working in Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
In the 1970s and 1980s Barclays shamefully profited from the crime of apartheid in South Africa. It continues to do so through its investments in companies facilitating Israel’s discriminatory apartheid regime against Palestinians. Barclays ended its financial support for apartheid thanks to the tireless efforts of UK activists and campaigners standing in solidarity with black South Africans. Palestinians have called on people of conscience around the world to support their struggle for justice too, including by campaigning to put an end to Barclay’s complicity in Israel’s apartheid regime.
Throughout 2022 and 2023, thousands of people wrote to Barclays demanding that it end its complicity. Barclays carried on regardless. Now, Barclays is complicit in genocide. It's up to us to end that complicity.