Canterbury and Whitstable MP Julian Brazier has been criticised for promoting companies that enable Israel to carry out its deadly attacks on Palestinians.
The junior defence minister was visiting Raytheon in Fife, and took the opportunity to promote the “crucial” products supplied to it by Whitstable-based Amphenol. Both companies provide military-use components to Israel.
Mr Brazier’s action has caused him to be accused of inconsistency after he has previously expressed concern about companies involved in facilitating Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Ironically, Mr Brazier has in the past been condemned by extreme Zionists as “probably one of the most anti-Israel MPs”, and he supported moves for Canterbury City Council to dump Veolia as a contractor because of its activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. He has a track record of concern for the plight of Palestinians and of support for statehood.
Raytheon has been the target of peaceful protesters from the Scottish PSC, while Amphenol has been identified as one of at least four companies in east Kent making components for military use in Israel. It is a supplier, to major Israeli arms company Bartec, of components used by the Israeli military.
A local resident, in a letter to the Whitstable Times responding to its coverage of the MP’s visit, has pointed out a glaring contradiction in Mr Brazier’s public statements, asking: “Is this the same MP who has previously professed concern for the plight of the Palestinian people?”
Below is the full text of local resident Frankie Green’s letter to the Whitstable Times:
Is the Julian Brazier singing the praises of weapons manufacturers Raytheon and Amphenol (‘MP hails British success on visit’, Your Views, December 3) the same MP who has previously professed concern for the plight of the Palestinian people suffering, as they did in Gaza recently when over 2000 died as Israel rained death and destruction upon them while the world watched in horror? The contradiction in praising these arms dealers is obvious, as is the fact that such industries drive and fuel conflict rather than resolving it.
People sometimes feel that violent conflicts elsewhere are too far away to relate to (though of course distance doesn’t necessarily mean not caring about our fellow humans.) However, in reality our society is entwined with and complicit with the bloodshed in Palestine and globally. Not only does Britain profiteer as a nation from the trade in weapons of mass destruction, but factories in our local communities contribute to deadly warfare and the terrorising of populations by making components for these weapons.
We are all deeply implicated, for example, by the fact that Amphenol is hand-in-glove with its representative Israeli military dealer Bar-Tec, and it is hard to see how Mr Brazier can call such companies ‘great example of successful British business.’ An avowed Christian would be expected to be aware of the principle of turning ‘swords into ploughshares’. Or does the injunction ‘thou shall not kill’ not apply if aiding and abetting the slaughter of civilians is deemed good for British business?
We need and deserve politicians who have the ethical ideals necessary to halt this barbaric industry, starting with ending the callous arms trade with states guilty of crimes against humanity such as Israel and other oppressive regimes. Other countries provide some examples: Norway excluded Raytheon from investment due to its production of cluster munitions, which ‘violate fundamental humanitarian principles.’ Small steps can show the way.
Transforming the technology currently used to destroy lives and livelihoods into a force that can be used constructively to better the world should be a priority. It requires the will and moral courage to act toward making positive change possible. This need not lead to loss of jobs, which is a vital issue. Quite the opposite, it can convert employment in weapons production into alternative work on life-affirming technology to improve societies and environments rather than devastate them – creating industries in which workers, and society as a whole, could feel pride not shame.