A conversation with Jan van Aken (Bundestag member of DIE LINKE) and Shahaf Weisbein (activist of Hamushim)
The arms industries in Germany and Israel have repeatedly surpassed record figures in the export of military equipment and surveillance technologies to authoritarian regimes and conflicting groups around the world. While Germany repeatedly violates its own principle of not sending weapons to warring regions, Israel even ignores UN sanctions in the licensing of arms exporters, which prohibit the delivery of weapons to certain countries.
The flourishing of the business of war manifests not just in the increasing number of military conflicts worldwide. Lobbyists of the arm industry also influence domestic and foreign policy and actively propagate military solutions instead of peaceful conflict resolutions . In Israel, for example, the potential surplus value of having weapon systems live-tested can even play a role when deciding whether or not to even deploy its military.
Both in Israel and in Germany, anti-militarism activists are fighting the power of the arms industry. With direct actions, in parliament or in court, they try to impose a limit to this deadly business. Thus, at the center of this event stand the following question: What can we learn from each other, and what are the possibilities for us to work together, against the business of war, especially in Israel and Germany?
- Jan van Aken is a member of the Bundestag for the party DIE LINKE. The main focus of his parliamentary work is on arms exports and peace policy.
- Shahaf Weisbein is an activist of the recently-founded Hamushim (Hebrew: Armed) project, which mobilizes against the crimes of the Israeli military industry.