'Huge Economic Damage': Anti-Semitic Activists Arrested Over Plot To Shut Down London Stock Exchange

'Palestine Action will not back down,' group vows in statement responding to arrests

(Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
January 15, 2024

Six members of a notorious anti-Semitic activist group were arrested in the United Kingdom after plotting to inflict "significant disruption to Israel's weapons trade" by shutting down the London Stock Exchange.

U.K. police announced the arrests Sunday, noting in a statement that all six perpetrators are members of Palestine Action, an anti-Semitic activist group that endorsed Hamas's Oct. 7 terrorist attack on the Jewish state. The group's members intended to cause "huge economic damage" by chaining their necks to London Stock Exchange entrances on Monday, ensuring that those who wished to enter the exchange could not do so without hurting the agitators, according to the Daily Express.

"These are significant arrests," Metropolitan Police detective superintendent Sian Thomas said in a statement. "We believe this group was ready to carry out a disruptive and damaging stunt which could have had serious implications had it been carried out successfully."

Since Hamas's terrorist assault on Israel, Palestine Action has carried out dozens of illegal demonstrations—which the group refers to as "direct actions"—against Israeli defense companies and other friends of the Jewish state.

The group's American spin-off, Palestine Action U.S., has especially targeted Elbit Systems, an Israeli company that provides the Jewish state with counterterrorism equipment. Late last year, for example, the group's members clashed with police outside the company's Boston office in a demonstration that the group said "completely halted" Elbit's business. The radical group also defaced Elbit's Washington, D.C.-area office with graffiti reading "Free Palestine" and "War Criminals Work Here," the Washington Free Beacon reported in November.

While those demonstrations have led to the arrests of Palestine Action members, the group's London Stock Exchange plot seems to mark an escalation in the group's tactics. That escalation could spell trouble for James "Fergie" Chambers, an avowed communist whose family controls the Cox Enterprises empire. Chambers cut ties with his family last year and secured "multiple hundreds of millions of dollars" in the process—money that he has used to fund Palestine Action U.S.

It's unclear if Chambers contributed to the group's London Stock Exchange plot. Chambers did, however, promote the plot on social media and call to "doxx" the Daily Express journalist who informed U.K. police of Palestine Action's plans. Federal agencies in the United States have already "received intelligence" that Palestine Action U.S. could threaten homeland security and heed calls from Hamas to carry out terror attacks, Los Angeles magazine reported.

Chambers told the Free Beacon he has "helped" Palestine Action U.S. "with media" and "backs bail funds for political activists, all over the place, for dozens of causes." Chambers also praised Palestine Action but said he has "no idea what they do in the U.K."

"I respect the work Pal Action have done," Chambers said.

Palestine Action did not return a request for comment. In a Monday statement, the group railed against the London Stock Exchange for the exchange's "relationship" with "Israel's regime" and pledged to "remain steadfast in our direct action campaign against the Israeli weapons trade and those who facilitate." The group's plan to shut down the London Stock Exchange was foiled after the Daily Express reporter infiltrated the group, learned of the plan, and informed police.

"Now more than ever, as Israel's genocide of the Palestinian people has seen over 25,000 killed, more than 60,000 injured and the majority of the Gaza population displaced, Palestine Action will not back down," the group vowed in its statement.

Much like its British counterpart, Palestine Action U.S. has railed against "colonizing Israeli scum" and pledged to dismantle the "Zionist War Machine." Chambers has used his sizable inheritance to cover legal costs for the group's members as they target Israel's allies with vandalism and harassment, actions that Chambers says are part of a broader effort to popularize attacks against Jews.

"We need to start making people who support Israel actually afraid to go out in public," Chambers said in November. "We need to make all of white America afraid that everything they have stolen is going to be burned to the ground. That's what makes them listen."

Both Chambers and Palestine Action have defended Hamas and its Oct. 7 attack, which included the kidnapping and slaughtering of innocent Israeli women and children. Chambers said one week after the attack that "no faction of the Palestinian resistance, Hamas or other, has done *anything* wrong," while Palestine Action referred to the attack as a "fight for freedom from occupation and apartheid."

Update 5:25 p.m.: This piece has been updated to reflect a response from James "Fergie" Chambers.