Protests outside Barclays last Saturday (Picture: Socialist Worker)

A day of action this Saturday is set to focus on Barclays bank and draw attention to its complicity with Israel’s genocidal assaults on Palestinians.

Barclays provides hundreds of millions of pounds worth of investment, loans, and financial services to companies helping Israel murder Palestinians.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has called the action after uncovering Barclays’ links with deadly arms companies.

It holds over £1 billion in shares and provides over £3 billion in loans and underwrites nine companies whose weapons, components and military technology are used by Israel to attack Palestinians.

This includes General Dynamics, which produces the gun systems that arm the fighter jets used by Israel to bombard Gaza from the air. 

And it also includes Elbit Systems, which has also been the focus of direct action by Palestine Action and other groups.

Elbit Systems produces armoured drones, munitions and artillery weapons used by the Israeli military to brutalise Palestinians in repeated bombardments.

Barclays also funds Raytheon. This killer company produces bunker buster bombs used by Israel to reduce Palestinian homes to rubble. 

And it finances Caterpillar, which supplies the Israeli military with D9 bulldozers to demolish Palestinian homes, schools, villages and infrastructure. Then Caterpillar helps to construct illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

Barclays is also Europe’s sixth largest creditor of businesses working in Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

By providing investment and financial services to these arms companies, Barclays is facilitating the weapons and technology used to massacre and make Palestinians suffer. 

The boycott on all Barclays’ services is set to continue until the bank ends its complicity in Israel’s attacks.

Since July 2022, Palestine activists have campaigned for Barclays to end its financial ties with the companies arming Israel. PSC has also called for Barclays’ account holders to close their accounts on the same day on 9 February.

The long history of Barclays’ backing for apartheid rulers

Barclays directly profits from Israel’s apartheid regime. And it’s not the first time it has grabbed wealth from such oppression.

Barclays also propped up apartheid in South Africa. But tireless anti-racist campaigning forced the bank onto the back foot.

In solidarity with the anti-apartheid movement, activists in Britain took action against companies that supported racist oppression.

From the 1970s the main target was Barclays—the biggest high street bank in South Africa.

Barclays actively supported the South African army by providing it with a number of loans. And it produced a range of booklets encouraging people to immigrate to South Africa.

Pickets outside Barclays banks called for a boycott until the bank withdrew. The campaign went on for 16 years, with students at the forefront.

Protesters disrupted the bank’s annual general meetings, student unions forced the closure of campus branches and thousands of institutional and individual customers closed their accounts.

Students staged rent strikes and sit-ins at bank branches and made pamphlets about Barclays’ apartheid ties.

In 1986 Barclays withdrew from South Africa. But now it needs to be made to listen again—and end its support for murder and colonisation.

The strikes and protests by the black working class were central to breaking apartheid. But the boycott campaign helped to raise awareness and encourage solidarity.

For the Palestine Solidarity Campaign action against Barclays go to Read more on boycotts on page 13

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