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Center Column Archives
For several years, Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) activists in Northern California and across the globe have pressured retailers to stop selling SodaStream products in their stores. On October 29, amid ongoing boycott pressure from the international community, Israeli beverage firm SodaStream announced that it was closing a controversial factory located in an occupied West Bank settlement. SodaStream said that it would relocate the factory by the end of 2015.
After successful blockades of Zim Line ships at the Port of Oakland in August and September, a third blockade was set to target the Zim ship Beijing on Saturday, October 25. The Beijing was rescheduled to dock Sunday, October 26, and then delayed indefinitely. Organizers — remaining vigilant for a potential docking at any time during the week — called for a solidarity march from West Oakland BART station on the afternoon of Sunday 26th, as a show of force to let Zim know that activists would be ready should the Beijing attempt to unload cargo in Oakland. The Beijing never docked at the port of Oakland and instead headed for other ports.
Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) activists in the San Francisco Bay Area came together again on September 27 and 28 to picket and blockade an Israeli Zim Line ship at the Port of Oakland. Organized by the Stop Zim Action Committee this time, Palestine solidarity activists dispersed across five entrances at the SSA terminal over multiple shifts, preventing longshore workers from unloading cargo for two days until the ship left port.
Israel's Ministry of Justice has filed an indictment against a border policeman for assaulting and injuring 15-year-old Tarek Abu Khdeir, cousin to Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was burned to death by Israeli settlers, in July. According to reports, the officer, whose name remains under gag order, was indicted at the Jerusalem magistrate court on September 10, for using "excessive force" that could not be justified.
On August 21, Santa Cruz activists picketed outside of a talk at Temple Beth El about Israel and Gaza, given by Dr. Andy David, Israel's Consul General for Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. The topic of the talk was "Operation Protective Edge," Israel's name for their most recent military assault on Gaza, which began on July 8 and has killed thousands of Palestinians. To greet those entering the talk, a series of large signs with the names of those killed in the war was displayed near the temple's entrance, and individuals held a large banner on Soquel Drive that read "Sick of Gaza Massacre?"
In a major victory against the Israeli Zim Lines shipping company, their ship the Piraeus was forced to leave the Port of Oakland after a mass march, four days of picketing, and the refusal of ILWU Local 10 and ILWU Local 34 to work the ship despite attempts by the Oakland police department and Alameda County deputies to break up the ongoing pickets. The Zim ship is believed by some to have unloaded only a portion of cargo before giving up and heading back out to sea. Oakland's "Block the Boat" victory represents a historic first for the worldwide Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement.
Latino activists in solidarity with Palestinians marched down Market Street in San Francisco on August 2 in a unity call for saving the children of Central America who are languishing at the US-Mexican border, as well as the children dying in Gaza. Movimiento por la Reunifacacion Familiar organizers reached out to everyone to join together in a march chanting, “No mas ninos deportados nuestros ninos son sagrados!” “No more children deported; our children are sacred.”