- Campaigners protest at Barclays Annual General Meeting today to demand the bank ends its complicity in Israeli apartheid, as it was forced to do in relation to South African apartheid in the 1980s
- Barclays invests over £1 billion in, and provides £3 billion in loans to, companies supplying weapons to Israel – used to attack, oppress, and dispossess Palestinians
- Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), War on Want and Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) vow to step up pressure on the bank to #StopBankingOnApartheid
Protestors have descended on Barclays’ Annual General Meeting today to highlight the UK banking giant’s role in enabling violence against Palestinians. Activists gathered outside with banners, placards and a novelty cheque made out for £1 billion to Israeli apartheid from Barclays, to highlight the bank’s controversial financial ties with companies supplying weapons and military technology used by the Israeli armed forces in attacks on Palestinians.
Campaigners were joined by environmental activists protesting Barclays’ heavy financing of fossil fuels. All are stressing the interrelation between the militarised violence faced by Palestinians and the climate catastrophe, and the need to hold companies like Barclays to account for its destruction of people and planet.
Research released by PSC, CAAT and War on Want last year uncovered that Barclays holds over £1 billion in shares and provides over £3 billion in loans and underwriting to 9 companies whose weapons, components, and military technology have been used in Israel’s armed violence against Palestinians.
The companies identified include Elbit Systems, which produces military technology, surveillance systems and drones used in Israel’s attacks on Palestinians, including its bombing campaigns of the besieged Gaza strip. A range of financial institutions have divested from Elbit Systems due to its role in producing weapons used in violation of international law, including internationally banned cluster munitions.
Since the research was released, hundreds of campaigners have been demonstrating at Barclays branches across Britain to demand the bank ends its complicity in Israel’s militarised attacks. On March 25th, 35 Barclays branches were picketed in the most recent national day of action.
Under Israel’s current far-right government, violence against Palestinians has been rising since the turn of the year. During the first quarter of 2023, the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces (84) was almost four times higher than during the same period in 2022.
Ben Jamal, Director of PSC, says “Barclays shameful complicity in Israel’s attacks on Palestinians, a key part of its regime of occupation and apartheid, must end. As Israel ramps up its brutal assaults on Palestinians, it’s more important than ever we take action against financial institutions, like Barclays, who are facilitating this violence.”
Chi-Chi Shi, Senior Campaigner at War on Want, says “Barclays is once again profiting from crimes against humanity. Activists’ persistent campaigning forced Barclays’ to end its investments in apartheid South Africa – now, people of conscience must do the same again. We stand with the Palestinian people in demanding Barclays respects international law and ends its complicity with Israel’s apartheid regime.”
Kirsten Bayes from Campaign Against Arms Trade said, “The products of the arms companies funded by Barclays have been used to create misery in Palestine and across the world. It is high time that Barclays committed to investing its funds ethically, instead of profiting on the back of conflict and death.”
 Financial research on Barclays links to Israeli weapons: https://palestinecampaign.org/wp-content/uploads/Barclays-Arming-Apartheid-FINAL-1.pdf
 United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Protection of Civilians Report April 2023 https://www.ochaopt.org/poc/28-march-17-april-2023