Tag Archives: Israeli Aerospace Industries

Technology of Israel Aerospace Industries: Tested on Palestinians, Exported to the World

Air Canada’s complicity with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has been matched by its silence. 



By Marion Kawas

Friday, October 06, 2017

Two weeks ago, it was revealed that a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Elta North America, would be involved in building the U.S.-Mexico border wall. The immediate connection between the “builders” of oppressive and apartheid walls was not lost on those concerned about social justice, but a look at the history of IAI is even more enlightening. It is just one of many Israeli military defense companies that have intensified their global marketing in the last two decades, but it is also wholly owned by the Israeli government and is part of the historical foundation and fabric of the whole Zionist enterprise.

History of IAI – Pillar of the Israeli State

IAI was founded just a few years after the establishment of the Israeli state, under the tutelage of the late Shimon Peres who was then director general of the Israeli Ministry of Defense. It was setup to accommodate the new Israeli Air Force and assist in the military development of the country. “IAI’s development has paralleled that of the State of Israel and the company has been privileged to play a substantial role in the industrial, technological and economic progress of the country and its national security”, the company history page proudly states.

This was part of Shimon Peres’ contribution and legacy, along with developing Israel’s nuclear capacity; these were the kind of “socialist kibbutzim” Peres and Labour Zionism were busy developing in order to ensure military “superiority” over the indigenous Palestinians and the whole region.

IAI has long been recognized internationally as a leader in drone (zanana) development and technology. Zanana is the term coined by Palestinians in Gaza for the constant buzzing or whizzing sound generated by the omnipresent drones overhead. “A group of young boys and girls gathered in Al-Kattiba Square, west of Gaza City, using large pieces of wood and formed the word ‘LEAVE’, in hopes that the drone hovering over the skies of Gaza will read it. One of the participants said that they wish that they can live without the zanana, so at least they can sleep.

Palestinians in Gaza call the Israeli drones in the sky ‘zanana’, meaning a noise maker or buzz. Sometimes they call it the airplane of death”, according to Dr. Atef Abu Saif, in his 2014 study “Sleepless in Gaza”.

Along with helping to build segregation walls between peoples, IAI has also been in the news this year for its billion-dollar contracts with the Indian government, most of which involve supplying the Indian army and navy with missile defense systems.

Canadian activists have been following IAI’s international exploits with dismay, not only because of its intimate connection with the Israeli military’s crimes against Palestinians, but also because Air Canada, the national carrier, is outsourcing maintenance for its B767 and B787 jets to the very same Israel Aerospace Industries.

As a prior government-owned entity, Air Canada is still regarded as a sort of “national icon” and global ambassador; as such, its direct complicity with Israeli war crimes is a shameful rebuke of any pretense at a Canadian “balanced and objective” foreign policy. Campaigns to have Air Canada stop their outsourcing to Israel Aerospace Industries have been underway for over 2 years now and have received support, both within Canada and globally.

However, Air Canada’s complicity has been matched by its silence; an official letter sent by the Canadian BDS Coalition to Air Canada’s CEO Calin Rovinescu on July 3, 2017 has not received any reply nor even been acknowledged. In a move that further emboldens contempt and disrespect for human rights, Rovinescu was also appointed Chancellor of the University of Ottawa, since November 2015. Nonetheless, activists are planning to step up their actions and refuse to allow Air Canada’s stonewalling to dictate the agenda.

There have been encouraging developments in Canadian civil society recently, with Amnesty Canada embracing a call for a ban on all settlement goods and Canada’s largest private-sector union, Unifor, adopting a pro-BDS resolution. Although both these initiatives focused mainly on the occupied West Bank and Gaza, it is the entire Israeli military complex and state entities like Israel Aerospace Industries that make life for Palestinians in those areas both unbearable and untenable. We must make the connections between Israel’s continued impunity to commit war crimes and what we can do internationally in other countries to take a stand and say: We will not enable Israeli war crimes!

(If your group is interested in signing on to the #AirCanadaComplicity campaign, please contact bdscoalition@gmail.com for more info.)

– Marion Kawas is a pro-Palestinian writer and activist, and a member of BDS Vancouver-Coast Salish. This article was contributed to PalestineChronicle.com.


Air Canada CEO Rovinescu, Your Silence Suggests Support of Complicity with Israeli War Crime

air canadaApproaching 90 days and there has been no response to the following letter send to Air Canada CEO, Calin Rovinescu.  Seems the silence of Rovinescu and his senior team support are not prepared to talk about the export of Canadian jobs to the Israeli government owned military company Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI).

The BNC (BDS National Committee) is putting more focus on Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI )with their statement on IAI’s involvement in militarizing the US-Mexico border.

We are still waiting Mr. Rovinescu to hear from you, and you can expect you will be hearing more the majority of Canadians who support sanctions against Israel war crimes (EKOS 2017).

July 3, 2017

Mr. Calin Rovinescu

President and CEO

Air Canada

P.O. Box 14000, Station Airport

Dorval, QC H4Y 1H4

 Dear Mr. Rovinescu

We wish to bring to your attention our concerns about Air Canada’s partnership with Israel Aerospace Industries for maintenance on the Air Canada fleet of Boeing 787 and 767 jets.

Israel Aerospace Industries [IAI] is the subject of boycotts across Europe for its deadly drone technology and production.  Corporate Watch from the UK says “IAI was one of the earliest developers of drone technology and launched its first surveillance drone in 1979.  IAI’s website boasts that its drones have an “unsurpassed track record of over 1,200,000 operational flight hours for over 50 users on five continents.” 

A 2014 study entitled ‘Sleepless in Gaza’ by Dr. Atef Abu Saif details the terrifying impact of drone attacks on the Gaza Strip, especially on children, “Since their first use in 2000, drones have led to the death of hundreds of Palestinians and have injured thousands more. In addition, they have directly impacted Palestinian psychological and social life, as well as causing a grossly negative impact on education.”

By partnering with IAI, Air Canada becomes complicit in the war crimes of IAI. This is fundamentally wrong.

In having the maintenance of the Boeing 787 and 767 jets performed in Israel, you send valuable Canadian jobs out of the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba. Again, this is fundamentally wrong.

In addition to partnering with Israel Aerospace Industries, Air Canada also sells Sabra Hummus as part of the onboard canteen service. Sabra is a partner with the Strauss Group. Strauss is the second largest Israeli food and beverage company and is known for supporting two Israeli military units implicated in human rights abuses, the Golani and Givati brigades.

This is the petition organized by the Canada Palestine Association Vancouver which provides additional background to the reaction of the Canadian public to the complicity of Air Canada in the war crimes of Israel Aerospace Industries and Sabra Hummus.

With the establishment of the Canadian BDS Coalition, Air Canada will become a significant target for action based upon the foregoing. Perhaps you would be willing to meet with a small representative group from the Coalition to further discuss this matter and devise a way forward for Air Canada to extricate itself from complicity with the war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories?

The previous attempt by the Canada Palestine Association Vancouver to engage you in discussion was met by silence which was taken as a message Air Canada did not wish to change behaviour. We shall take a similar message if we receive no response from this letter.


on behalf of the Canadian BDS Coalition

Bruce Katz, Hanna Kawas, Tom Beckett, Karen Rodman

cc     Richard Steer, Vice-President, Air Canada Maintenance and Engineering

         David J. Shapiro, Senior Vice-President, Chief Legal Officer

         Yves Dufresne Vice-President, Alliances and Regulatory Affairs

         Renee Smith-Valade, Vice-President, In-Flight Service

Join in the global campaign to tell Air Canada to end its complicity with Israeli war crimes by signing this petition. 

Learn more about the Air Canada End Your Complicity With Israeli War Crimes here.


This is a global call to join Canadians in this petition. Air Canada flies to 1300 airports in 200+ cities on six continents.