Boycott of Israeli goods and services is expanding as was evident from the refusal of longshoremen in Oakland, California. They refused to unload an Israeli cargo ship forcing it to turn and head towards Los Angeles.
Oakland, CA, Crescent-online
October 7, 2014, 16:33 DST
Pro-Palestinian protestors in Oakland, California, have prevented an Israeli commercial ship from docking and unloading its cargo. The ship was forced to leave port and head to Los Angeles.
The Israeli National News website reported on September 30 that “International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) spokesman Craig Merrilees says longshore workers did not unload cargo from the Zim Shanghai docked at the Port of Oakland on Saturday morning (September 28) because of safety concerns raised by the presence of police and protesters.”
The protests were organized by Block the Boat, a coalition of social-action and grass-roots groups based in Oakland.
Last month, the group organized another protest against a ship operated by ZIM Piraeus, a company with Israeli stakeholders. The protest lasted for five days, until the ship departed for Los Angeles.
Block the Boat released the following statement that described the rationale for the protests: “From its founding in 1945 by the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Histradut, Zim has served Israeli settler-colonialism, bringing settlers to Palestine and serving as Israel’s only maritime connection during the 1948 war, supplying ‘food, freight, and military equipment’ used of course to carry out the Nakba. The worldwide commerce conducted by Zim today funds the occupation of Palestine with revenue generated on every continent.”
ILWU is a labor union that represents workers unloading Zim ships at various ports around the globe, and their track record is an impressive testimony to supporting human rights issues around the globe.
For instance in 1984, workers refused to unload a ship tied to the regime of apartheid-era South Africa.
In recent years, the workers have strongly identified with the Palestinian cause and are championing divesture from Israel.
In 2010, the workers refused to unload a Zim cargo ship after Israel’s attack on the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish humanitarian flotilla to Gaza, on May 31, 2010 in International waters killing nine Turkish peace activists and injuring scores of others.