Workers Block Access to Toronto Weaponsmaker L3Harris Arming Israel

“Last week we shut down the Toronto arms manufacturer INKAS; today we’re escalating with workers and community members blockading and disrupting production at four different weapons plants this morning, belonging to L3 Harris and Lockheed Martin,” said Rachel Small, organizer with World BEYOND War. “These companies’ weapons components and systems are being used right now to slaughter Palestinians in Gaza. We will not turn away from the horrors we are witnessing and are instead joining people around the world in holding our governments to account, blockading arms factories and shipments, and doing everything we can to cut off the flow of weapons to Israel.”

More than 200 workers and community members blocked driveways and entrances at the L3Harris Don Mills facility in Toronto. At the same time, a group of 50 Indigenous peoples and settlers shut down all access to L3Harris factory in Waterdown, outside Hamilton; dozens of peace activists blocked the main door of L3Harris Montreal facility; and more than 150 workers and community members blockaded the Lockheed Martin manufacturing plant in Ottawa. L3Harris parts are used in the Israeli warships and Lockheed Martin fighter jets that have bombed Gaza over the past month.

Complicit with Israeli War Crimes?

“Canadian workers do not want to be complicit with Israeli war crimes and ethnic cleansing. Echoing the calls of respected human rights organizations, union members are demanding that the Government of Canada end arms exports to Israel immediately,” said Simon Black with Labour Against the Arms Trade. “But we won’t stand by while our government refuses to act.”

“We can’t just wash our hands of the crimes that the Israeli military is committing against the Palestinian people,” said Aidan Macdonald, member of Labour4Palestine. “Canada is actively and continually complicit in Israeli apartheid. Let’s remember that in 2022 alone, Canada exported over $21-million worth of military goods and technology to Israel. There are lots of others like L3Harris and Lockheed and INKAS out there – and they’re all on notice. We are taking action to end Canadian complicity.”

“International solidarity is important to us,” said Thanu Subendran from the Tamil Freedom Coalition. “The Tamil people are no strangers to the genocide that is unfolding throughout all of Palestine. Fourteen years ago, our people were mercilessly massacred by the Sri Lankan state with military assistance provided by Israel. So when Palestinian workers called on all of us to step up and put an end to the sale of arms to Israel, Tamils and all peoples of conscience have a moral obligation to answer that call.”

On October 16, Palestinian trade unionists issued a global call to workers worldwide to halt the arms trade with Israel. Over 30 Palestinian trade unions and professional associations have issued a united call for November 10 and 11 to be global days of action to stop arming Israel.

Over 10,000 Palestinians have been killed since October 7th, including over 4000 children. With a blockade on water, electricity, and food, a quarter of all buildings razed to the ground, and over a million people displaced, UN experts have denounced Israel’s actions as crimes against humanity.

The groups are calling on allies to tell Canada’s Members of Parliament and key ministers to end the sale of arms to Israel through this online action.

More Information

The L3Harris Don Mills facility in Toronto and its facility in Waterdown, outside Hamilton Ontario, produce WESCAM MX-Series electro-optical and infrared imaging technologies that are used for surveillance and for targeting along borders, on aircraft, sea vessels, and drones.

L3Harris is a major supplier for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 aircraft and claims to have delivered two million parts to the F-35 program and 1600 components to each aircraft.

The Israeli Air Force currently has 36 operational F-35s in its growing fleet, which have been deployed in the past month’s assault on Gaza that has killed over 10,000 Palestinians.

L3’s technology is also integral to Israeli warships. Another subsidiary of L3Harris, L3 MAPPS, whose facility in Montreal was blockaded this morning, claims to have pioneered the Integrated Platform Management System used to monitor and control platform machinery and systems of the Israeli Navy’s SA’AR 5 and SA’AR 6 Corvettes. The SA’AR 5 warship has long been used by the Israeli Navy to maintain the illegal naval blockade on Gaza and, according to Israeli forces, SA’AR 6 vessels were used to attack Gaza from the sea over the past month.

L3Harris also makes components for joint direct attack munitions (JDAM) made by Boeing. JDAM are a guidance tail kit that converts unguided bombs into so-called smart munitions. Boeing is reported to be expediting delivery to Israel of 1800 JDAM kits, part of a 2021 sale valued at about $735-million US.

L3Harris and its subsidiaries profit from Canada’s support. The government of Canada has awarded them more than 600 million dollars in contracts with the Department of National Defence and other agencies, according to publicly available government data, and brokered hundreds of millions more in contracts with the US Department of Defense via the Canadian Commercial Corporation.

More than 12,000 tons of explosives have been dropped on Gaza over the last month, which is equivalent to the explosive force of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in Japan in 1945.

Canada awarded 315 permits for a total of $21.3-million worth of military goods and technology exported to Israel in 2022 including $3.2-million in bombs, torpedoes, rockets, missiles, and other explosive devices. These figures do not include the vast majority of military exports that are sold to the US, which are then incorporated into weapons sent to Israel. The list of companies arming the Israeli military has not been not released by the Canadian government, but antiwar organization World BEYOND War has released a map listing dozens of companies across Canada involved in providing weapons and military technology to Israel.

The Arms Trade Treaty, of which Canada is a signatory, stresses the importance of respecting international humanitarian law, human rights, and regulating the global arms trade. Article 6.3 prohibits arms transfers by state parties if they know the arms could be used in genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva conventions, attacks directed against civilians, or other war crimes. There is ample evidence that arms are currently being used by Israel in precisely these ways.

Human Rights Watch has called on key allies of Israel, including Canada, to suspend military assistance and arms sales to Israel, charging that its forces are committing widespread, serious abuses amounting to war crimes against Palestinian civilians with impunity.

“Future military transfers to Israel in the face of ongoing serious violations of the laws of war risk making the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany complicit in these abuses if they knowingly and significantly contribute to them,” Human Rights Watch said. •

Labour Against the Arms Trade is a coalition of peace and labour activists working to end Canada's participation in the international arms trade. Follow them at LAATCanada.

World BEYOND War is a global nonviolent movement to end war and establish a just and sustainable peace. Follow at @wbwCanada.