There’s a group called Palestine Action whose raison d’être is to throw red paint over the British offices of Elbit, an Israeli high-tech arms company, in an orchestrated attempt to hound it out of the country.
Five members of the ‘direct-action network’, which has links to Extinction Rebellion, armed themselves with paint pots and climbed onto the roof of the Elbit offices in Staffordshire in September.
Activists also targeted sites in London, where they not only hurled paint over buildings, but also over several Jewish people, who had gathered to stage a peaceful counter-demonstration.
Quite why the protesters choose to target an Israeli arms manufacturer rather than, say, a British company like BAE – which sold Saudi forces fighter jets as they bombed Red Cross and MSF hospitals in Yemen – is a question where the obvious answer is probably the correct one.
Whatever the group’s intentions, the police, who reportedly sustained injuries during the Palestine Action protests, are taking these incidents seriously. I have been informed that officers recently intercepted a Palestine Action suspect at one of Britain’s ports, as part of a ‘more far reaching’ investigation.
It is easy to look at these events and conclude that the sensible people are in retreat in Britain, and that we are abandoning our national moral compass to radical loons. In truth, however, Palestine Action’s antics demonstrate the exact opposite.
The real lesson from these wild splatters of red paint is the fury of a movement that has been in disarray since its figurehead was routed at the ballot box this time last year. These are headline-grabbing stunts, carried out by a small number of ideologues. After all, the decent majority doesn’t need to throw Dulux about.
Most people appreciate that it is in Britain’s national interest to have a close relationship with Israel.