Protesters Are Targeting Defense Contractors That Bragged About Profits from Gaza

The three biggest defense contractors in the U.S. that sell supplies to Israeli forces have all faced pro-Palestinian protests in the last month.
raytheon building
Image credit: Getty Images

Pro-Palestine protests have begun to target defense contractor facilities around the U.S. in response to the companies’ roles in arming Israel during its ongoing siege of Gaza, which has killed over 11,000 Palestinians in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack which killed 1,200 Israelis. Raytheon Technologies, now officially RTX, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman have all been targeted in numerous states. 


All three contractors’ stock prices spiked when the conflict began on October 7. All of their CEOs referenced Israel-Palestine as a potential point of profit on earnings calls in recent weeks. 

Protestors gathered in front of the entrance to the El Segundo, California RTX facility on Monday, demanding a ceasefire. Video footage from local news outlet KTLA5 shows organizers holding Palestinian flags, and banners and signs reading “Stop the U.S. War Machine, Free Palestine” and “Let Gaza Live.” Protestors also appeared to have thrown red paint on the facility’s sign. KTLA5 reported that the protest remained peaceful.

RTX did not respond to a request for comment. 

RTX is responsible for developing and supplying Israel’s Iron Dome, an all-weather aerial defense system that shoots incoming missiles out of the sky if it is determined that they will land in a highly populated area. RTX co-produces the system with Israeli firms Rafael Defense systems and Israel Aerospace Industries, and provides it with materials to build its Tamir missiles. It also manufactures the GBU-28 “bunker-buster” bombs, designed during the Iraq war to target underground command centers. The Israeli Defense Force has previously bought these weapons. 


Pro-Palestinian protestors also held a demonstration at defense contractor Northrop Grumman’s office headquarters in San Diego, a two-hour drive south of the RTX facility. They covered the office complex’s sign with red paint and a sign that read “For-profit crime against humanity.” Video broadcast by ABC10 local news showed that the mass of protestors filled the entire street. Northrop Grumman did not respond to a request for comment. 

RTX’s role in Israel’s defense systems has also caused protestors to stage a “die-in” at the RTX facility in Tucson, Arizona. Individuals lay on the ground in front of the facility entrance, blocking traffic. Pictures shared by local news outlet AZPM show that most wore masks and sunglasses to cover their faces, and some covered their bodies with white sheets. They brought signs which said, “Raytheon Missiles Bring Genocide,” and “Tucson residents against a genocide economy.” 

AZPM reported that the Tucson Coalition for Palestine had organized the event. This organization does not appear to have a website, but Motherboard contacted the Arizona Palestine Solidarity Alliance, which operates out of Tucson. Its cofounder, Mohyeddin Abdulaziz, told Motherboard that members of the group had attended the die-in. 


“It was an action that really represents a form of resistance to militarization, to the war industry, to the companies that profit from destroying people and nations,” Abdulaziz said in a phone call with Motherboard. “What was impressive to me about it is the fact that it was very well organized by a group of young people. They knew exactly what they were doing, they knew what messages they were going to put forward, and they put forward very strongly that we as a people reject the militarization of our economy.” 

Abdulaziz said he was not surprised by Raytheon’s statements about the war on its earnings call. “That’s the history of the military industrial complex in the United States,” he said. “A lot of those companies have their people in government, and in government, they make decisions of war and peace—and of course, it’s always for war, because that’s how they make their profits.”

Protestors staged a similar die-in at aerospace defense contractor Lockheed Martin’s offices in Arlington, Virginia last week. Individuals wrapped themselves in white sheets spattered with red paint and lay motionless on the sidewalk. Some were strewn with flowers. 

A spokesperson for Lockheed Martin told Motherboard in an emailed statement, “Lockheed Martin’s core values are to do what’s right, respect others and perform with excellence. These values provide clear, unambiguous and uncompromising standards for how we treat each other with understanding and compassion. We respect the right to peaceful protest and we’ll continue to partner with the U.S. military and our international allies to deliver strategic deterrence and security solutions.” 

“These are very capable companies,” Abdulaziz said. “They have a lot of resources. They have a lot of knowledge, they have a lot of technology. And it would be really helpful for our community that their creativity be redirected toward the peace industry, instead of the war industry.”