Thursday, July 01, 2010

Britain decriminalizes vigilantism against Israel

In a mind-blowing verdict, a British jury acquitted people who admitted that they purposefully caused damage to an arms factory - because, they said, the arms were being used by Israel:

Five activists who caused £180,000 damage to an arms factory were acquitted after they argued they were seeking to prevent Israeli war crimes.

The five were jubilant after a jury found them not guilty of conspiring to cause criminal damage to the factory on the outskirts of Brighton.

The five admitted they had broken in and sabotaged the factory, but argued they were legally justified in doing so.

They believed that EDO MBM, the firm that owns the factory, was breaking export regulations by manufacturing and selling to the Israelis military equipment which would be used in the occupied territories. They wanted to slow down the manufacture of these components, and impede what they believed were war crimes being committed by Israel against the Palestinians.

They are the latest group of peace and climate-change activists to successfully use the "lawful excuse" defence – committing an offence to prevent a more serious crime – as a tactic in their campaigns.

They had decided to act last January after three weeks of Israeli military manoeuvres against Gaza in which many Palestinians were killed.

In his summing up, Judge George Bathurst-Norman suggested to the jury that "you may well think that hell on earth would not be an understatement of what the Gazans suffered in that time".

The judge highlighted the testimony by Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, that "all democratic paths had been exhausted" before the activists embarked on their action.
Meaning that the judge pretty much told the jury to acquit them. Unbelievable.

Hove crown court heard the activists had broken into the factory in the night. They had video-taped interviews beforehand outlining their intention to cause damage and, in the words of prosecutor Stephen Shay, "smash-up" the factory.

These statements were posted on the Indymedia website shortly after they were arrested.
Apparently, according to British law, Israel has no right to defend itself from Qassam rockets. Period.

I guess that synagogue bombings can be defended next, because Jews provide material and emotional support for Israel which does all of these war crimes. Then they can go after Melanie Philips.

It turns out that the judge was born in Arab Jaffa, and was brought out of retirement to hear this case, as  a jubilant anti-Zionist notes. Which would explain his directing the jury as to what their verdict should be.

(h/t My Right Word)