One of the largest military companies in the world. Makes fighter jets and missile systems used by the Israeli air force against Palestinian civilians. Designed a system to surveil and monitor the US-Mexico border.
Boeing Company is a multinational arms manufacturer headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. In 2017, it was listed as the arms-producing company with the second largest defense revenue in the world by Defense News. The Boeing Company produces approximately half of all commercial and defense aircraft fleets worldwide and brought in $93.4 billion in revenue in 2017. The United States Department of Defense is the primary customer of The Boeing Company’s Defense, Space & Security (BDS) segment. In 2017, revenues from the United States Department of Defense and U.S. government contracts made up 31 percent of The Boeing Company’s total revenues. Contracts with customers outside of the United States and foreign military sales made up 55 percent of company revenues. In 2018, the US Air Force awarded Boeing a $349 million contract to design the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), an intercontinental ballistic missile intended to serve as a nuclear deterrent.
Military Sales to Israel
The company has provided Israel with AH-64 Apache helicopters, F-15 fighter jets, Hellfire missiles (produced with Lockheed Martin), MK-84 2000-lb bombs, MK-82 500-lb bombs, Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) kits that turn bombs into “smart” GPS-equipped guided bombs. Boeing’s Harpoon sea-to-sea missile system is installed on the upgraded 4.5 Sa’ar missile ships of the Israeli Navy. Boeing also developed Israel’s Arrow 3 exoatmospheric interceptor missile, V-22 rotorcraft (a combat aircraft that converts from helicopter to fixed-wing airplane), KC-46 Tankers (aircraft with refueling and combat capabilities), Chinook Helicopters, and Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) systems equipped with DIME (Dense Inert Metal Explosive) munitions that use tungsten powder to maximize the bomb’s impact. Boeing has sold SDBs to Israel at least six times from 2008 to 2018, including a January 2018 contract for almost $200M in SDB production.
The U.S. military aid package to Israel following the 2015 Iran nuclear deal agreement included provisions for weapons systems produced by Boeing, including the Arrow 2 and 3 missiles, V-22 rotorcraft , KC-46 Tankers, Apache block III and Chinook CH-47 helicopters, the F-15I squadron of fighter planes, JDAMs, and SDBs.
Collaboration with the Israeli Military Industry
Boeing developed and produced the Arrow 3 exoatmospheric interceptor missile in partnership with the MLM division of the Israel Aerospace Industries. The Arrow 3 can be used as both an anti-ballistic missile system and an anti-satellite weapon. The Israeli Air Force received the Arrow 3 ballistic interceptors in January 2017. On January 18, 2017, the Arrow 3 was deemed operational, and on February 19, 2018, the Israel Missile Defense Organization and the U.S. Missile Defense Organization completed a test flight of the weapons system. Boeing has also been involved in marketing Israeli UAV military drones, the Hermes 450 and 900, in the United States.
Boeing Weapons Used against Palestinian Civilians
Apache helicopters, Hellfire and Harpoon missiles, JDAM guiding systems, and Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) munitions have been used repeatedly in Israeli attacks on densely populated civilian areas, resulting in thousands of civilian casualties in Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza. The human rights community, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, B’Tselem, and United Nations commissions, has ruled these attacks to be human rights violations and at times war crimes.
Between July 12th and August 14th 2006, Israel conducted a ground and aerial bombardment of Lebanon that severely damaged civilian infrastructure and killed 1,183 people, of whom approximately one third were children. According to a report by Human Rights Watch, Israeli forces fired on civilians and civilian vehicles from Apache helicopters on numerous occasions. Human Rights Watch documented multiple Hellfire missile strikes in Lebanon, killing at least five children. Israel may have also used its Harpoon missiles manufactured by Boeing. Israeli forces deliberately targeted apartment buildings, villages, plants, bridges, seaports, and other key features of Lebanon’s infrastructure. As a result of Israel’s aerial bombardment, over 1 million people were internally or externally displaced. According to a report published by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), Israel violated international humanitarian law by failing to take care to prevent civilian casualties during its airstrikes on Lebanese infrastructure.
From December 27th, 2008 to January 18th, 2009, Israel conducted an assault on Gaza it called “Operation Cast Lead.” The assault injured over 5,300 people and killed 1,383 Palestinians, of whom 333 were children. Israeli forces destroyed the homes of over 3,400 Palestinian families and left thousands of civilians homeless and physically impaired. According to the UN’s Fact-Finding Mission to the Gaza Conflict, missiles fired from Apache helicopters targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure on numerous occasions over the course of the assault. Amnesty International documented the use of Hellfire missiles to kill children and medical staff in Gaza. According to Amnesty International, there is evidence that Israel used DIME weapons during Operation Cast Lead. The UN reported that Palestinian and foreign doctors who treated victims during the 2009 attack on Gaza documented injuries consistent with the impact of DIME munitions. According to a report published by the United Nations Human Rights Council, Israeli forces deliberately targeted civilian objects and failed to take every possible precaution to minimize civilian casualties, thereby violating customary international law.
In 2014, Israeli forces used JDAM guiding systems, Apache helicopters, and Dense Inert Metal Explosions (DIME) in an attack on Gaza called “Operation Protective Edge” that killed 2,251 Palestinians, of whom 1,462 were civilians and 551 were children. Israeli forces conducted over 6,000 airstrikes in Gaza and damaged or destroyed 18,000 housing units, 73 medical facilities, and many ambulances. As a result of the attack, over 1,500 Palestinian children were orphaned and 11,231 were injured, of whom 3,436 were children. During the assault, the Israeli military targeted civilian homes and other targets with one-ton bombs equipped with JDAM guiding systems, according to Amnesty International. Israeli forces used Apache helicopters in their attack on Rafah on August 1 and in an attack on Al Shati Refugee camp. Defense for Children International documented at least 13 children killed by missiles fired directly from Apache helicopters in its report on Protective Edge. An independent medical fact-finding mission reported evidence that Israel had once again used DIME explosives in its attacks on civilians in Gaza. According to a report by the United Nations Human Rights Council, Israeli forces may have violated international human rights law and committed war crimes on numerous occasions because of their apparent disregard for the preservation of civilian life.
In its report on Operation Protective Edge, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that the destruction to both property and civilian life as the result of air strikes, including with missiles fitted with JDAM systems and/or fired from Apache helicopters, could "amount to a violation of the principle of distinction...[and] may also constitute a direct attack against civilian objects or civilians, a war crime under international criminal law." The report also confirmed that JDAM systems were used in the killing of at least 166 people, including 89 children. Following Protective Edge, Boeing was awarded an $82 million contract to further supply Israel with JDAM kits in November 2014. In June of 2017, the United States Department of Defense awarded Boeing a contract of over $10 million involving foreign military sales of JDAMs to Israel.
F-16 aircraft were repeatedly used in 2018 to conduct airstrikes in Gaza, resulting in civilian deaths. In February, Israeli missiles launched from F-16 warplanes killed two 17-year-old Palestinian teenagers during six extensive airstrikes, the largest assault since Operation Protective Edge. The attacks wounded two more Palestinians and damaged civilian homes. In July, Israeli forces used F-16 aircraft, helicopters, and unmanned aerial drones to launch about 85 missiles at the Gaza Strip, killing two children and injuring 28 people. The attack damaged residential homes and partially damaged or destroyed numerous ambulances and trucks transporting medical supplies.
Sa’ar missile ships with Boeing’s Harpoon missile system are used to enforce the illegal naval siege of the Gaza Strip. Israel limits Gaza fishermen to an area no wider than 3 to 6 miles off the coast, severely limiting their access to fishing. The restriction is in contravention of the Oslo Agreements which state that Gaza fishermen should have a clearance of 20 nautical miles off the coast. Even when within the 3 and 6 mile boundaries, Gaza fishermen risk being attacked by Israeli naval vessels, which have killed and injured fishermen and damaged or confiscated their boats. Multiple leading human rights organizations (here, here, and here) consider the siege of the Gaza Strip to be collective punishment in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international law. In 2016, United Nations Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon condemned the blockade of Gaza as “collective punishment” and called for accountability. A Sa’ar ship also participated in the Israeli attack on the unarmed Free Gaza Flotilla in 2010, resulting in the killing of 10 humanitarian activists. In November 2017, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda reaffirmed that “there is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed by some members of the Israel Defence Forces” during the attack on the Free Gaza Flotilla in 2010. The Israeli Navy also used an older version of the Sa’ar to enforce a naval blockade on Lebanon during the 2006 Lebanon war.
Boeing’s involvement in surveillance on the US-Mexico Border
In 2005, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has launched a project attempting to secure all U.S. borders, titled the Secure Border Initiative (SBI). Its virtual fence component, SBInet, was planned as a combination of surveillance technologies relying primarily on radar and camera towers along the entire length of the border. In 2006, Boeing was awarded the contract for this entire project estimated at $2.5 billion, promising to detect 95 percent of illegal border crossings. Under SBI and SBInet, the company was awarded several long term contracts for construction, logistics, integration and support.
Almost immediately, the project fell behind schedule and went over budget. Worse, it barely worked—sensors confused raindrops or leaves blown in the wind for people, an official from the U.S. Government Accountability Office told 60 Minutes. In 2010, after spending almost $1 billion over four years, Boeing deployed the first segment of SBInet along 53 miles of Arizona’s 387-mile border with Mexico, a mere 2.5 percent of the entire border. In January 2011, in response to concerns regarding the performance, cost, and schedule for implementing the systems, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced the cancellation of any further procurement of SBInet systems, and of the SBI project altogether.
- On April 12, 2016, the College Council of the University of Chicago passed a resolution to Divest University funds from apartheid, urging the university “ to withdraw, within the bounds of their fiduciary duty, investments in securities, endowments, mutual funds, and other monetary instruments with holdings in companies profiting from human rights abuses and violations of international law in Palestine, including, Boeing."
- The Undergraduate Student Government Assembly at University of Illinois-Chicago unanimously voted on Februrary 16, 2016, to pass a resolution to divest from corporations profitting off the Israeli occupation and other human rights violations, including Boeing.
- On January 19, 2016, a landslide vote by the University of South Florida student senate passed a joint resolution to divest from corporations who profit from "illegal and brutal occupation" in Palestine, including Boeing. The resolution was later vetoed by the student government president.
- Northwestern University students voted to divest from Boeing in February 2015, citing its provision of fighter jets to the Israeli Air Force.
- In February 2015 the University of California Student Association, the official governing assembly of all University of California students, passed a resolution calling for the university to divest from companies “that violate Palestinian human rights,” specifically mentioning Boeing.
- Students at UC Los Angeles passed a resolution to divest from Boeing in November 2014, stating Boeing “ha[s] provided weapons used in attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”
- A 2014 referendum passed by students at DePaul University decreed that Boeing “profit[s] from Israel's violation of the human rights of Palestinians and minorities within Israel.”
- Students at UC San Diego passed a divestment resolution in March 2013, citing Boeing’s involvement in “Israel’s military occupation and violence against Palestinians in violation of international law and human rights.”
- In November 2012, the Brown University Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies recommended that Brown divest from Boeing and other companies which are "profiting from the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories."
- Undergraduate students at Arizona State University, in June 2012, voted to divest from and blacklist Boeing due to its “complicit[y] in human rights abuses in the occupied Palestinian Territories.”
- The University of Massachusetts at Boston’s student government passed a divestment resolution in 2012 stating that Boeing “manufactured and sold weapons...been used in direct attacks on Palestinian civilians.”
- The student government at the University of Michigan at Dearborn passed a divestment resolution in 2010 due to Boeing’s “[sale of] weapons, goods, and services to Israel.”
- In 2005 and 2006, the University of Michigan at Dearborn passed resolutions urging divestment from Boeing, citing the company’s “support and benefit from the ongoing illegal Israeli occupation.”