Speech for Antifascistic 1st of May in Fælledparken, 2023, by SVAI
SVAI is a newly established political initiative called “Stop the Arms Trade with Apartheid Israel” (In Danish: Stop Våbenhandel med Apartheid-Israel).
First of all, we would like to say that we are very happy to be able to speak today. We were given speaking time at the last minute and would like to thank the organizers and everyone who supports the Anti-Fascist 1st of May!
We’re from the International Forum and are here to talk on a very important matter for all who stand in solidarity with the Palestinian just cause and who are dedicated to fight our government’s instrumental oppression and exploitation. We are here speaking on behalf of a newly established initiative called “Stop the arms trade with Apartheid Israel”.
Next to the International Forum, us, other groups in the initiative are Global Action, Boycott Israel, DEMOS, the Communist Party and Enhedslisten’s Palestine Committee – with hopefully more to join!
On the 26th of January this year, the Danish Ministry of Defense pushed through an emergency decision on the purchase of artillery from the Israeli arms company Elbit Systems for 1.74 billion Danish kroner. This is a scandal!
Elbit’s production and exports can be seen as a direct result of the Israeli occupation being Israel’s biggest arms company and a major supplier to the Israeli military.
In fact, Elbit supplies over 80 % of Israel’s drones and advertises that its weapons are battle proven – a quality stamp in the eyes of Elbit and many arms dealers alike. In practice, this means that its weapons are being tested on Palestinians in Gaza.
In 2014, for example, Elbit supplied and even maneuvered drones for the Israeli massacre in Gaza when Israeli forces killed 2,200 Palestinians, including 551 children. According to Amnesty International and others, Israel’s war on Gaza is an act of war crimes. During the massacre in 2014, Elbit’s profits rose by 6.1%.
To add to the list, the company also supplies surveillance equipment to guard the Apartheid Wall on the West Bank, which in 2004 was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice.
Interestingly enough, the Danish government has now decided to openly invest in Elbit. It’s no secret though that prominent figures in the Social Democratic Party in Denmark, both today and in the past, have good relations with Israel.
We have gathered in our initiative against arms trade with Israel to fight the Danish government calling out their complicity and its funding of the Israeli fascist state.
Zionism, the ideology of Israel, is built on the idea of settler colonialism through the means of forced displacement, massacres and persisting apartheid.
This is fascism, and it is fascism that is actively supported by our government, by the European Union, by the United States – in short, by the imperialist and capitalist institutions of the West.
At a time like this, when solidarity with Palestinians and for a free Palestine is under strong attack from fascist and ultra-nationalist forces, in addition to an aggressive criminalization of the BDS movement, it is more important than ever to see all struggles for justice and freedom as connected.
As we mark the 1st of May, we mark the continued struggle of the working class and oppressed people in all forms: migrants, refugees, racialized, women, queer persons, disabled, homeless and marginalized in mind.
The Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice has been going on for more than 75 years, and on the occasion of the 1st of May we send our heartfelt solidarity to the Palestinian people and their steadfast resistance.
Today, in our attempt to fight the Israeli occupation, we need to fight the weapons industry and the Danish government’s bloody investments.
The arms contract made in February this year will be almost impossible to disrupt. But with an upcoming 5 year long defense agreement being debated and decided this spring, we find this is a crucial time for us to intervene.
We must send a strong signal to the Danish government that the people’s movements in Denmark in no way will tolerate the financing of apartheid, ethnic cleansing and colonization. We will not arm Zionism!
So, we invite everyone to join the initiative, both groups and individuals. You can find some of us in the stand for the International Forum all afternoon and some of our people are also here handing out flyers with more information.
Let’s organize, let’s resist and let’s show our solidarity. The struggle continues – have a great 1st of May!