Andrew Feinstein is a South African who served as a politician in the ANC under Nelson Mandela, and who now lives in London.
In 2011 after researching the global arms trade for several years, he authored The Shadow World: Inside The Global Arms Trade, which was later turned into an award winning documentary film on the arms industry.
His work exposes the connections between governments, militaries, intelligence services and political parties, and in his meticulously referenced book he shows that the weapons market accounts for around 40% of all corruption in world trade.
It is no surprise then, that Feinstein is deeply critical of Israel which is the world’s sixth largest arms exporter with a defence industry that is the world’s highest per capita.
His support for Palestine stems from his struggle against apartheid in South Africa both as a teenager and as a member of parliament, but he describes the violence, repression and abuse meted out on Palestinians as much worse than what he saw in the South African Bantustans.
Because of his views on Israel, critics have smeared him with accusations of anti-Semitism, but it should be noted that as a member of the South African government, Feinstein passed the first ever motion in its history on the Holocaust, challenging the many unreconstructed neo-Nazis in the country.
His motivation for that was that his mother was one of the very few Jews in Vienna who survived the war, living in a coal cellar for more than three years, and hiding in a rolled up carpet when the Gestapo or SS conducted searches. To this day, bullet-holes remain in the steel door to the cellar. Thirty nine members of her family were lost, primarily at Theresianstadt or Auschwitz.
Feinstein has written and lectured on genocide prevention, including for the Auschwitz Institute itself. He is appalled at the way anti-Semitism is being misused to deter criticism of the Israeli government, its apartheid policies, and its fuelling of genocidal conflict through a highly corrupt trade in weapons.
In this exclusive interview for Real Media, he talks about the drones made in this country by Elbit Systems UK, and how their weaponry and components support the illegal occupation, the killing of civilians, and the enforcement of apartheid. He explains why direct action is necessary and commends the activists representing Palestine Action, people who are prepared to sacrifice their own liberty to halt the flow of weapons used to kill civilians in the occupied territory.
He reminds us that action for Palestine is part of a wider intersectional struggle against the global national security elite, and that the huge trade in arms is often corruptly tied in to power and political parties and is crucial to their electioneering and campaigning, so we can’t rely on these people to regulate the very industry they rely on. Thus from the bullets fired at protesters in Colombia to the rockets landing on civilians in Kashmir or Armenia, from the bloody war in Yemen to the attacks on Gaza, we are all in the same battle.
“Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”
– Nelson Mandela, 4th Dec 1997
Elbit Systems UK has been contacted for comment on several occasions but failed to respond.