Russell Brand. Credit: Eva Rinaldi via Wikimedia Commons.

Russell Brand. Credit: Eva Rinaldi via Wikimedia Commons.

( British comedian and actor Russell Brand has called on banks, pension funds, and other businesses to sever any ties to Israel or ongoing deals that “facilitate the oppression of people in Gaza.” In particular, Brand singled out the Barclays bank, which he said manages “the portfolios of an Israeli defense company called Elbit, which makes the drones that bomb Gaza.”

“The message they give us is the exact opposite of the reality, they’re acting like they’re part of our community,” Brand said on the new episode of his online show, “The Trews.”

Brand also asked viewers to sign a petition on the Avaaz campaign website, which is pressuring companies and brands to rethink their investment in Israel. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement petition has massed nearly 1.7 million signatures, but some of the brands listed are defending their ties with Israel. Hewlett-Packard stated that “respecting human rights is a core value” of its business and that the company uses Israeli security checkpoints to allow employees to “get to their place of work or to carry out their business in a faster and safer way.” Caterpillar said that while it “shares the world’s concern over unrest in the Middle East,” it doesn’t have neither “the legal right” nor the means “to police individual use of its equipment,” which has come under scrutiny for its role in the bulldozing of Palestinian homes.

Brand previously criticized Fox News host Sean Hannity’s interview with Palestinian-American guest Yousef Munayyer. In the video, Brand said Hamas terrorists might use “what we would perceive or term as acts of terror” to defend themselves against Israel.

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