BEN NORTON: It’s The Real News, I’m Ben Norton. I’m joined by Andrew Feinstein, who is a leading expert on the arms industry. He’s the executive director of Corruption Watch UK, and the author of the book The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade, which was recently made into a film. Andrew is also a former Member of Parliament for the ANC in South Africa. Thanks for joining us, Andrew.
ANDREW FEINSTEIN: Great to be with you.
BEN NORTON: Today we’re going to be discussing the role of Israel in the US arms industry, and specifically the protests in Gaza. For the past six weeks now, protesters inside Gaza have been leading non-violent demonstrations and being gunned down en masse. There have been large massacres of unarmed protesters by Israel, and in fact, on Monday, dozens more Palestinians were killed. Thousands have been shot with live ammunition, including some experimental forms of munitions used by the Israeli military against unarmed peaceful protesters inside Gaza. How is this also related to Israel’s role in the U.S. and global arms trade?
ANDREW FEINSTEIN: So, a crucial component of the arms trade, and growing component- perhaps the fastest growing there is- is the broad area of homeland security, and of surveillance and repression equipment. By Israel attacking what are effectively, by all accounts, peaceful protesters- although, of course, Israel will reflect on them as something very different to that- Israel will then use that information, particularly with non-democratic autocratic regimes around the world- the regimes of Saudi Arabia, of the United Arab Emirates, various Arab countries of similar political systems- and they will say to them, “We have this problem on a daily basis, look how we are addressing it.”
So, we have these protests which are a threat to Israel’s national security- which in itself, is a very questionable point. But that’s how they would argue it. And they would then continue the argument that, “Look how we deal with this through our surveillance equipment, our equipment of ongoing repression of the occupied territories, we know exactly what the Palestinians are planning and when they’re going to plan it. We know who the ringleaders are. And this is how we deal with it, with not just brute force but also the competitive advantage that our technology gives us.”.
And they will speak to a variety of weaponry that is actually illegal to be used in the world. But Israel is signatory to very few of those multilateral agreements, such as the treaty to ban cluster munitions. So, we have seen, time after time, the use of cluster munitions, the use of various chemical weapons in the occupied territories by Israel, and the marketing of these weapons… read more: