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Solidarity Activists Eye Picketing an Israeli Ship
by Jonathan Nack
Friday Nov 23rd, 2012 2:26 PM
Picket against an Israeli ship at the Port of Oakland in 2010

Looking to intensify and diversify protests, some Palestine solidarity activists are eying the Israeli shipping company Zim Lines [ http://www.zim.com ] as a possible target. Such an action would be in line with the Boycott, Divest and Sanction Movement, which has many supporters in the Bay Area.
2010_picket_of_israeli_ship_at_port_of_oakland.jpg
2010_picket_of_israeli_sh...

Solidarity Activists Eye Picketing an Israeli Ship

By Jonathan Nack November 23, 2012

OAKLAND – The Israeli bombardment on Gaza has set off near daily protests in front of the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco. A fragile cease fire hasn't dampened the enthusiasm of local solidarity activists to press for and end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza and freedom for Palestine.

Looking to intensify and diversify protests, some Palestine solidarity activists are eying the Israeli shipping company Zim Lines [ http://www.zim.com ] as a possible target. Such an action would be in line with the Boycott, Divest and Sanction Movement, which has many supporters in the Bay Area.

In 2010, a ship of the Zim Lines was met by a community picket protesting Israel's attack, massacre and seizure of a ship intending to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza and challenge the Israeli blockade as part of a Freedom Flotilla. In the early morning hours of June 20, hundreds of Palestinian Solidarity activists and trade unionists descended on the Port of Oakland. A picket was set up at Stevedoring Services of America terminal, berths 57-58.

When Longshore workers began to show up for work that morning at the SSA terminal, they encountered a picket line with protestors chanting, “Free, free Palestine, Don't you cross our picketline!” It didn't take long for the longshore workers, members of ILWU Local 10 to decide that they would heed the call, and refuse to cross the picket line.

The ship, Zim Shenzhen, sat in the SSA terminal all day without being worked, costing the Israeli company hundreds of thousands of dollars. In all business, but especially in shipping, time is money. In addition, the ship was forced to pay the Port additional hefty docking fees to extend its stay in Oakland.

The boycott of the Zim Shenshen was the first ever of an Israeli ship in U. S. history. The unprecedented action had been organized by an ad hoc coalition and was supported by both the San Francisco and Alameda Central Labor Councils AFL-CIO. Palestinian solidarity activists, Arab Americans, unionists, and community members were all part of the successful picket.

Clarence Thomas, a member of the ILWU Local 10 Executive Board was quoted at the time stating, “The thing that is going to make Israel and the United States understand that this cannot continue [referring to the blockade of Gaza] is the whole question of commerce and trade. Israel is very vulnerable on that question.”

Monadel Herzallah, of the Arab American Union Members Council, said, “it's indeed a significant turning point in the work with labor, and it's significant because the ILWU honored our picket line, it is something we cherish, that we think will make an impact not only in the United States of America, but also worldwide.”

Israel took the Port of Oakland action very seriously. It made international headlines and was a major story in the Israeli press. The Israeli Consul for the U.S. Pacific Northwest even requested an unprecedented meeting with the ILWU Local 10 Executive Board, but ended up being rebuffed by the union's Board in a diplomatic embarassment for Israel.

The action in Oakland was in part inspired by actions against Israeli ships in Sweden, Turkey, India, and South Africa that occurred in 2010. As such, the actions across the globe represented a significant challenge to Israeli commerce. The global boycotting of South African ships in the 1980s was a significant factor in ending South African Apartheid and the Israelis are very aware of this. The San Francisco Bay Area, and ILWU Local 10, played a vanguard role in boycotting South African ships, and the Israel government and capitalist class are well aware of that too.

The Zim Lines is the major shipping company in Israel. Its ships continue to dock at the Port of Oakland regularly.
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Article on 2010 picket of Israeli ship and its global impact:
Dockworkers, Worldwide, Respond to Israel's Flotilla Massacre and Gaza Siege
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/07/13/18653724.php

Photos from 2010:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/06/22/18651600.php
§Isn't it time to do it again?
by Jonathan Nack Friday Nov 23rd, 2012 2:26 PM


Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Splurge12
Saturday Nov 24th, 2012 9:14 AM
Time to take back the docks!
by Daniel
Saturday Nov 24th, 2012 3:37 PM
The Zionists hold both Gaza and Washington as their hostages, the difference being that Gaza doesn't give in, but Washington does. So yes, we need to picket some Israeli ships, let them know they can't have their way all the time.