Victory for picketers: Israeli ship quits Oakland, its cargo untouched

Waving signs saying “DON’T WORK ZIM” and chanting “Send the ship back to sea until Palestine is free”, demonstrators from around the San Francisco Bay Area and as far away as Sacramento set up picket lines at the port of Oakland, California that were 100% effective in preventing the giant Zim Shanghai container ship from unloading and loading its cargo. The ship was essentially untouched from the time it docked at 5:16 a.m. on Saturday, September 27, 2014 and left just after midnight on the same day.

The effort was in many ways a model of cooperation between Palestine solidarity activists and the membership of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10 and other members of the labor community. Although neither community is unanimous in its views, attitudes or approaches to such matters, they reached out to each other and listened. A significant number belong to both communities and acted as a bridge. Despite some mistakes, good will went a long way in overcoming obstacles.

This is the second Israeli Zim ship in as many months to leave Oakland without taking on cargo. Unlike the Zim Shanghai however, the Zim Piraeus managed through illegal practices to unload a small amount of its incoming cargo. Nevertheless, most remained on board and became a costly burden at subsequent stops.

Other actions have taken place in Long Beach, California, Seattle and Tacoma, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia. More are anticipated in Tampa, Florida, and another is scheduled in Oakland on October 25. This opens the possibility of a global movement to block Zim and other Israeli ships. The message of the organizers is that if Israel is going to deny Gaza the right to receive ships and trade from its port, Israeli ships will be denied the same right.

The Free Palestine Movement supports this movement. It was one of a large number of organizations that endorsed the action, and one of our representatives is on the organizing and tactical committees. Your donations helped to support the expenses of the action, notably six walkie-talkies and the signs that you will see in the photos, but also some other expenses. With your continued help, we intend to make these financial resources available to all groups participating in these actions. For more information, contact us directly.

Israel will be held accountable for its actions.

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