A photo of a Barclays branch

More than 1,500 people have closed their Barclays bank accounts in protest of its links to Israel. Thousands of others have signed a pledge to never bank with Barclays.

Campaigners have identified that Barclays holds over £1 billion in shares and provides over £3 billion in loans and underwriting to 9 companies whose weapons, components, and military technology are being used by Israel in its attacks on Palestine. This includes General Dynamics, which produces the gun systems that arm the fighter jets used by Israel to bombard Gaza, and Elbit Systems, which produces armoured drones, munitions and artillery weapons used by the Israeli military.

Campaigners say that by providing investment and financial services to these arms companies, Barclays is facilitating the provision of weapons and technology for Israel’s attacks on Palestinians.

Ben Jamal, Director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: “Nobody with a conscience would bank with Barclays in the 1970s and 80s when we fought to stop it supporting the brutal, racist system of South African apartheid. Nobody with a conscience could now bank with Barclays knowing it helps facilitate Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza. That’s why more than 1500 people are closing their Barclays accounts en masse today, in a clear message that there can be no business as usual during a genocide.

More than 27 000 Palestinian men, women and children have been killed by Israel in what the International Court of Justice has accepted is a plausible case of genocide. And to its eternal shame, Barclays is complicit. We forced Barclays to stop supporting apartheid before, and we’ll force it to stop supporting genocide and apartheid now.”

The boycott is reminiscent of a similar campaign targeting Barclays in the 1980s. Then, campaigns were calling on Barclays to end its support for Apartheid South Africa.

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Image credit: Peter Richmond – Creative Commons