Palestine solidarity movement mobilizes to “block
October 30, 2014
significant step forward in the struggle against Israeli apartheid was taken
this weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area. For the third time in less than
three months, an Israeli cargo ship owned by the ZIM shipping company was
prevented from unloading its cargo as scheduled.
Beijing ship was scheduled to dock at the Port of Oakland on Oct. 25 but
never showed up. The Beijing passed through the Panama Canal, turned north on
course for the Port of Oakland and then after a few days traveling towards
Oakland veered west on its way to destinations elsewhere.
to meet the ship at the Port of Oakland was a “welcoming” party of Palestine
solidarity activists organized by the Block the Boat coalition. The Block the
Boat coalition, comprised of Palestinian, Arab and pro-Palestinian activists
and organizations, was formed earlier this year to highlight the role the Port
of Oakland plays as an entry point for goods being shipped by the Zionist ZIM
corporation. Amongst the array of goods carried by ZIM ships are materiel for
local police forces in the United States.
became clear over the weekend that the ship was not arriving on or near
the schedule, the coalition organized a rally and march on Oct. 26 to the port
to let ZIM know what they can expect if they try to come back.
success of the Oct. 25 mobilization comes two months after the BTB coalition
organized a historic action against the ZIM Piraeus. The ship tried to dock on
Aug. 16, but was prevented from unloading for four days and ultimately little
if any cargo was handled.
coalition issued a press release on October 29, which read in part,
“Pro-Palestinian activists in the Bay Area achieved a decisive victory over the
Israeli-owned ZIM Integrated Shipping Services this past weekend. As part of a
sustained organizing effort to protest Israel’s ongoing occupation and
apartheid against the Palestinian people, organizers deterred the container
ship ZIM Beijing from docking at the Port of Oakland.
of ILWU Local 10, the union which represents dock workers at the Port of
Oakland, informed BTB organizers that the ZIM Beijing has been rerouted to Russia
‘to avoid disruptions at the SSA Terminal,’ according to
a statement by BTB. The ZIM Beijing was originally scheduled to
arrive and unload its cargo at the Port of Oakland on October 25, but changed
course to avoid protests that had been planned by BTB.”
unprecedented development, ZIM has no ships scheduled to dock at the Port of
activists see this retreat as a victory for Palestine, and are hopeful that
they have staved off ZIM for good. “This effort of Block the Boat, the Palestinian
and Arab communities, and allies has truly revealed our collective power
against Zionism,” says Sameh Ayesh of Arab Youth Organizing. “ZIM is the
largest shipping company in Israel, and the 10th largest in the
world; it is now clear to ZIM that our communities in the Bay Area will not
welcome it or any other business that supports Israeli occupation and
solidarity of the port workers, who have historically stood against injustice,
including refusing to unload cargo carried by ships flying the racist South
African apartheid flag, has been an important component of this effort. The
resistance in Palestine is intensifying, and so too must our solidarity all
around the world.
Block the Boat to End Israeli Apartheid!
action at the Port of Oakland on Sunday, Oct. 26 to stop the Israeli Zim
shipping line from unloading
gathered to stop the Israeli ship ZIM Alabama from unloading