Montgomery County and Maryland to spend over $300,000 taxpayer dollars to attract Israeli defense company

RADA Technologies, an American subsidiary of RADA Electronic Industries, plans on expanding operations in Montgomery County by moving its Silver Spring office to a 25,000 square-foot facility in Germantown. The company produces radar systems for military aircraft and battlefield radar equipment as well as “Tactical Radars for Force and Border Protection Solutions.”

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marc and RADA
“The decision by RADA Technologies to expand in our community was supported by a County-State partnership designed to assist this global company with its workforce, technology and space needs. Their expansion is a testament to Montgomery County’s ability to help grow technology-based international businesses.” -County Executive Marc Elrich

RADA Technologies, an American subsidiary of RADA Electronic Industries, plans on expanding operations in Montgomery County by moving its Silver Spring office to a 25,000 square-foot facility in Germantown. The company produces radar systems for military aircraft and battlefield radar equipment as well as “Tactical Radars for Force and Border Protection Solutions.”

RADA does business around the globe and recently announced $6 million in new orders. Their clients include the U.S. military, the UK military, the Chilean Air Force, and, of course, the Israeli military. Private sector clients include Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and General Dynamics.

Governor Hogan announced over the summer that RADA would receive state-level corporate subsidies. In an October 24, 2019 letter, County Executive Marc Elrich requested the Montgomery County issue a resolution of support for RADA and three other companies to receive the state subsidies and further subsidies from the county. On November 19, 2019, County Council introduced just such a resolution. Further action on the resolution is slated for November 26, 2019.

RADA’s expansion into Montgomery County is particularly troubling for their involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and American global imperialism. It is also troubling to see Executive Elrich seemingly unconcerned about the company’s war profiteering, considering Elrich is a “decades-long socialist.”

Perhaps Elrich has been a socialist so long, he’s forgotten core tenets of socialism such as internationalism, anti-imperialism, and the human rights of Palestinians.

“HUNTING A BUFFALO” 

RADA receives financial backing from a large private investment firm (D.B.S.I. investments), which primarily invests in, “mature companies that are positioned globally for high growth or built for vast expansion through M&As.”  RADA claimed a 53% increase in gross profits in the last nine months over the first nine months of 2018 in their recent quarterly report.

Despite their success, the Maryland Department of Commerce still approved a $300,000 conditional loan to “assist” the company’s move to Germantown. Montgomery County has also pledged $50,000 more in grant money through the privatized Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation. According to MyMCMedia, RADA is also eligible for state tax credit programs like the More Jobs for Marylanders program and the state’s Job Creation Tax Credit.

But experts in the field of corporate incentives find tax and financial assistance for large companies (known as “buffalo hunting”) is rarely as effective as simple workforce and job training programs. Nevertheless, in the furious hunt to support the local economy, so-called “socialist” Marc Elrich put himself in the position of lobbying in favor of corporate handouts for a company deeply embedded in American imperialism and Israeli war crimes against Palestinians.

Members of RADA’s board include ex-commander of the IDS ground forces Guy Zur and the former head of logistics for the Israeli Air Force Alon Dumanis. One of RADA’s signature radar products is used for the infamous Israeli Iron Fist missile defense system (the company producing radar for Israel’s Iron Dome system, ELTA Systems, is also located in Maryland). Their international deals to Chile and dealings with the U.S. military are further troubling signs, especially in the wake of Trump’s border policies, given RADA’s expertise in providing “border protection services.”

RADA was introduced to the Maryland business environment through the Maryland/Israel Development Center (MIDC), a non-profit membership organization that promotes bi-lateral trade and economic development. MIDC supported 2017 legislation introduced to the Maryland General Assembly to prevent companies that participate in the Boycott-Divest-Sanction (BDS) movement from investing in the state retirement and pension system. That same legislation would also prohibit companies engaging with BDS activism from securing state procurement contracts.

After the bill failed, MIDC vocally supported Governor Hogan’s Executive Order that barred companies with state contracts with the executive branch from engaging in BDS activity. MIDC has supported efforts to silence BDS activists on the basis that the campaign for Palestinian liberation interferes with business deals between Maryland and Israel. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has claimed anti-BDS legislation and executive action may violate the First Amendment.

RADA does not hide the fact that they fear the BDS movement will hurt their corporate profits.

There are already plenty of local companies in Montgomery County doing the despicable business of feeding the American war machine. There are many others complicit in the racist and the fascist rounding up of immigrants. The last thing the county needs is another company stained with the blood of the innocent. The County Council and County Executive should revisit the question of whether taxpayers should foot the bill for RADA’s weaponized radar systems.

Commonwealth keeps tabs on businesses in the County making money off war, deportations, union busting and more. Read all our coverage at CommonwealthMoCo.com

“Montgomery County Businesses Complicit in ICE Deportations” part 1, part 2, part 3

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