Kuehne+Nagel cuts ties with Israeli arms company following Palestine Action campaign
Transport and logistics major Kuehne+Nagel has cut ties with Israel’s largest weapons company, Elbit Systems, following an action campaign by Palestine Action. The decision was confirmed to Palestine Action in an email by K+N.
The direct-action network took action against Kuehne+Nagel by breaking into the company’s Leicester offices. Following the first action, K+N attempted to disguise the lorries they used to transport Elbit’s weaponry from the premises of their Leicester subsidiary, UAV Tactical Systems.
This prompted Palestine Action to target the company’s Milton Keynes branch and their cargo insurance firm in London. This involved the smashing of their branches’ windows, buildings covered in blood-red paint, and messages left calling for K+N to “cut ties with Elbit”.
Palestine Action were 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 the shipping of 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 their decision to cease their 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 per cent of Israel’s drones and land-based military equipment, Palestine Action claims 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.