Public Money Supports Israeli Military Contractor in West Michigan
A week and a half ago, MLive ran a story which announced that MDOT would be contributing nearly half a million dollars for road improvements because of two expanding companies in Kent and Ottawa county.
It is curious that state funding for road improvements would be used to reward businesses, but not surprising. The two companies which have the favor of the state department of transportation are Agape Plastics Inc. and Plasan North America.
Agape Plastics makes custom injection moldings and Plasan North America, “is a Tier One supplier to defense contractors and a leader in composite material technology in the design and development of a variety of military ground vehicles.”
Plasan is not just any military contractor, they are an Israeli-owned military contractor with facilities in the US, France and Israel. Plasan not only makes weapons, but provides “security resources and solutions” that focus on Border Protection, Special Forces Operations, Intelligence Missions, Disaster Management, and Convoy & VIP Protection. Here is a sample of “services” they offer with the products, which is taken from their own promotional material.
Plasan has a facility in Walker, Michigan and was recruited recently by The Right Place Inc. to set up shop in West Michigan. This fits within the larger role of The Right Place, which is to attract businesses to West Michigan, but it is also a reflection of the business agency’s growing relationship with the State of Israel.
This relationship between The Right Place and Israel is directly through the Michigan Israel Business Bridge (MIBB), a Bloomfield Hills-based entity which promotes business relationships between Michigan and Israeli businesses, including the promotion of Israeli products. The Right Place CEO Birgit Klohs is part of the Advisory Council for the MIBB.
It is bad enough that public funds are being used to directly support the private sector, but it is another thing to provide public funds to a company that plays a significant role in the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine. Plasan military equipment and “security solutions” profits from the brutal Israeli repression of Palestinians and supports what is essentially a racist apartheid system.
Considering that there is a growing interest in the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement around the world and in West Michigan, Plasan and supporters like The Right Place Inc, would be worthy targets of anti-apartheid organizing.