Protestors gathered at the Head offices of JCB World HQ today, Wednesday 15th December 2021, calling for JCB’s Directors to end sales of bulldozers to Israel. JCB exports equipment to its sole dealer in Israel, Comasco, who in turn have a contract with the Israeli Ministry of Defence. JCB’s bulldozers are used by the Israeli military to demolish Palestinian homes, schools, health centres and even its olive groves and animal shelters.
The protestors held up graphic photographs of Palestinian families standing in shock and despair around the rubble of their homes, with JCB equipment shown clearly in the photographs. They sang ‘Homes Torn Down’ a song specially composed for the occasion focussing on the broken Palestinian lives and dreams as a direct result of JCB sales to Israel.
JCB have been regularly criticised for its actions in exporting its equipment to Israel, in full knowledge that their equipment is used by the Israeli military. Last month an investigation by the UK Department of Trade concluded that JCB was failing take any measure to check on the end use of its equipment, and that, in spite of its position as a major, prestigious global company, it had no human rights policy. Last week Amnesty International published a major report JCB Off Track on the sale of JCB equipment to Israel, concluding that JCB did not appear to care that its products have been used for years to destroy Palestinian homes and communities.
Natalie, one of the protestors, said:
JCB know perfectly well the destruction wreaked by its bulldozers in Palestine. There is a mountain of evidence and even the Department of Trade is now calling JCB to account. And yet JCB continues to treat with contempt any attempt to engage with them over this issue. For years it has ignored letters, reports and constructive attempts by NGOs to discuss with them measures that JCB could easily take to end its complicity with Israel’s war crimes. JCB exports its products to over 150 countries and could choose to suspend its policy of exporting to Israel without a dint in its profits. The Bamford family are always keen to highlight their philanthropic work, including its charitable donations to the biggest child welfare charity in the country, the NSPCC. And yet the family are utterly blind to the suffering of Palestinian children, living in the rubble of their lives after yet another JCB bulldozer ploughs through their homes.Today we handed in a letter to Graeme Macdonald calling on JCB to finally listen to the multitude of voices calling on the company to prove that it does care about human rights and the welfare of Palestinian children. We are not optimistic, as we have sadly seen the heartlessness of this company and its Directors over a number of years. But we do care, and we will continue to protest until the owners of this company finally come to their senses and show some humanity.
The protestors held a one minute’s silence to remember the Palestinian children who would be homeless this Christmas as a direct result of the Israeli Army’s use of JCB bulldozers and for all victims of Israeli war crimes.