October 28, 2014 UPDATE:
Bay Area Community’s Decisive Victory Over Apartheid Israel
Oakland has made history once again with another BDS victory for Palestine against the Israeli Zim shipping line. This latest round of organizing has been the most momentous and historic. Members of ILWU Local 10 informed Block the Boat organizers that the Zim Beijing which was headed to the Port of Oakland, has been re-routed to Russia to avoid disruptions at the SSA terminal. For the first time ever, an Israeli ship has been completely turned away before reaching its port of destination due to sustained overwhelming community organizing.
The damage to Israel’s credibility can’t be exaggerated--the Zim line, though privately owned, is an Israeli “security asset.” Israel exerts control over the corporation through a “golden share” which it uses to prevent the sale of the company into foreign hands. The Zim line is mandated to be part of Israel’s critical supply chain during protracted military conflicts. The brand and economic impact on Zim has yet to be calculated, but is surely devastating. Goods have been rerouted, and undelivered for months. ILWU workers have honored our pickets and sided with the community against US complicity in Israeli apartheid. Zim has been disrupted and confronted by anti-Zionist protests in Seattle, Tacoma, Los Angeles, Vancouver, New Orleans, New York and Tampa. Ports all over North America are making it clear that Israel can no longer conduct business as usual because Zionism is simply not welcome on our coasts.
The Zim Beijing, which was scheduled to arrive in Oakland on the morning of Saturday October 25, 2014, instead broke from its heading soon after it reached the north western coast of Mexico on Wednesday, October 22nd, and headed further northwest. Several sources, including Zim’s own online schedule, and port and union authorities confirm that the Beijing’s intended destination was Oakland, but that it changed its itinerary to avoid yet another humiliating defeat. In an article published on 10/26, headlined "Zim Beijing Avoids Oakland" the GulfShip News reported, "The ship was due to call on Saturday, but then delayed its call to today [Sunday]. Reports from Oakland suggest Zim has now decided to cancel the call altogether. Zim has been hit by protests at Oakland in August and September, disrupting its schedules."
We also tracked the ship via satellite using an online marine tracking service and documented that the ship listed its destination as Oakland just minutes after it left the Panama Canal--the norm for Zim ships on the Asia Pacific line, which stop at either Los Angeles or Oakland before heading to China and Russia. Just days into its 9 day journey from the Canal, however, Zim abruptly removed Oakland from its online schedule, and headed northwest, taking it ever farther from Oakland.
Confronting Global Repression
It is clear that the Zim Beijing diverted course in response to the powerful Block the Boat organizing. In August, Block the Boat organized and inspired a series of historic night and day pickets, which with the support of ILWU workers, prevented the Zim Piraeus from unloading for 4 days, and eventually forced the ship to leave before even a fraction of its cargo could be unloaded. In September, Zim faced another set of pickets that forced the Zim Shanghai to offload in Los Angeles, rather than its intended Oakland destination. The Block the Boat coalition along with the broader Bay Area community has made it clear that we can determine what takes place in our towns. And business with the racist, exclusionary, Zionist state of Israel, which works alongside local and federal law enforcement to repress our communities, will not go unchallenged.
Activists remained focused throughout Zim’s obfuscations, organizing for a large turnout to picket the Beijing whenever it would arrive--Saturday, Sunday, or any day of the coming week. Given the convoluted maneuvers Zim used in August, in which it left the port under the cover of an Israeli consulate press release, only to return to another terminal less than an hour later, organizers now know to be thorough and patient. After tracking the Zim Beijing for several days, Block the Boat prepared for a week of possible pickets by staging a late day march of hundreds on Sunday to the Port of Oakland to show the strength and focus of this movement. It was a warning to Zim to keep going as it reached the 1000-mile mark from Oakland and a promise that the gates would be lined again with unstoppable anti-Zionist picketers if it returned.
As the Beijing sails beyond the horizon, it still bears the destination of Oakland, though it is over 1200 miles away from San Francisco Bay at the time of this statement. Our efforts have paid off; Zim Beijing does not appear to be turning around. Even if it did reverse course and head back to Oakland at this point, it would be a week late, and it would find us once again, prepared to stop it at the port.
We are declaring a historic victory in our effort to block the Beijing. It is very likely that Zim has been completely prevented from doing any future business at the Port of Oakland. Only time will tell if Zim’s changes to its schedule reflect the real re-routing of its ships, or simply just another ruse to fool opponents of Israeli apartheid. Obviously, here in Oakland, we are ready for Zim’s return any time. Together with our brothers and sisters from Ferguson to Palestine, we are fighting back against state violence and apartheid and we are prepared to bring it down brick by brick, wall by wall, port by port.
To increase accessibility for the march and rally at the Port, we'll still be running shuttles from West Oakland BART. If you are able to help with shuttling at 3PM, please contact us as firstname.lastname@example.org. There will be a wheelchair loading van at the event. If you expect to need it, please contact us at the email address above. Rides will still be available for those that have not contacted us ahead of time.
Zim is on the run, but we are tracking the ship closely!
Based on our calculations, the Zim Beijing cannot make it this weekend, but it could change course and arrive this week. Let's show Zim what they can expect if they try to come back. Meet at West Oakland BART at 3pm SUNDAY to march and rally at the Port of Oakland. It is important we are ALL OUT on Sunday to show our strength and to remind Zim that Israeli cargo is not welcome on the West coast!
Text 'join' to (510) 346-5951 for important updates. Follow #blocktheboat and @BlocktheBoat.
Take the wind out of Zim's sails!
Zionism isn't welcome on our coast!
Join the BDS movement to end Israeli apartheid!
Port of Oakland
SUNDAY, October 26th
Meet at West Oakland Bart and march to the Port of Oakland
451 7th St., Oakland, CA 94607
IMPORTANT: Those planning to participate must subscribe to text-alerts in order to receive updates about the 10/25 Block the Boat. Text "join" to (510) 346-5951.
END THE SIEGE ON GAZA!
END THE COLONIAL OCCUPATION OF PALESTINE!
RIGHT OF RETURN FOR ALL PALESTINIAN REFUGEES!
FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!
BOYCOTT, DIVEST, SANCTION!
This summer, we made history at the Port of Oakland when we stopped the Israeli-owned shipping company Zim from unloading its goods for four straight days. The blockade was a catalyst for cities all over the U.S. and across the globe in the ever-growing BDS movement to resist Zionism and end Israeli apartheid.
The military assault on Gaza—which killed more than 2,200 Palestinians and left more than 100,000 homeless—has halted, thanks to the Palestinian resistance, but our struggle is not over. With the full support of the U.S. government, Israel continues to carry out its brutal occupation, confiscate more land and build more settlements, imprison thousands of Palestinians, and maintain the siege on Gaza as part of its policy of ethnic cleansing.
The apartheid state of Israel not only impacts Palestinians, but also plays a role in the oppression of communities all across the globe. The Zim shipping line is instrumental in upholding this system of global repression. There are direct ties—training, weapons, and surveillance—between Israel’s occupation of Palestine and the increasingly militarized occupation of black and brown communities in the United States. And it is now a well-known fact that police departments in and around Ferguson, Missouri, have received training from Israel.
Why Block Zim at the Ports?
ZIM shipping line transported weapons and European settlers from as far back as 1948, playing a central role in the creation of the state of Israel and ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Now it’s responsible for shipping Israeli ammunition used on poor, black and brown communities all across the US. One-third owned by the Israeli government, Zim fuels a significant portion of Israel's economy. Challenging Zim cuts a lifeline of Israeli colonialism and exposes the strength of US-Israeli ties.
Ports have historically been places for workers to assert their power and make social change. During apartheid in South Africa, ILWU workers refused to unload South African cargo in San Francisco in 1984. This action was a major catalyst for international anti-apartheid solidarity that helped topple the apartheid regime of South Africa.
We built on that legacy at the Port of Oakland in 2010, after a Turkish flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, was attacked by Israel for attempting to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza, by successfully blocking a Zim ship from being unloaded—the first time in US history an Israeli ship was blocked. And recently, we made history again with the 2014 Block the Boat campaign, stopping Zim and Zionism and the port of Oakland for four consecutive days. Just as apartheid fell in South Africa, so too it will fall in Israel!
Call to Action!
Israel was defeated by the resistance and resilience of the people of Gaza. We are inspired as they rebuild and continue to affirm life in the aftermath of Israel's latest bombardment. Palestinian resistance did not begin with Israel's latest bombardment—it has been going on since 1948, since Israel came into existence. And it will not cease until Israeli apartheid falls. It is now more important than ever to continue to weaken the racist state of Israel and bring down apartheid.
Palestinians are unified in their call to people around the world to take action against Israel everywhere. Bay Area residents have the opportunity to up the ante and be leaders in the movement for justice in Palestine!
We salute the longshoremen who stood with the Palestinian people by honoring our Block the Boat picket and refusing to unload Zim in August, and for doing so again during another successful picket in September. We will be asking workers to once again join with us in sending a message to the world that Zionism is not welcome at the Port of Oakland. Join us!
Join the Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions!
From Oakland to Seattle, Los Angeles, Vancouver, New York, New Orleans, and Tampa—turn the Israeli ship around!
We encourage allies in cities across the US to join us in building on our historic victory against Zionism by ensuring that Zim ships are not welcome anywhere!
Not in Palestine.
Not in the Bay.
Stand Against Zionism Everywhere.
Addameer: Palestinian Prisoner Support and Human Rights Organization
Advance the Struggle
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition USA
All African People's Revolutionary Party
American Muslims for Palestine
Anakbayan East Bay
Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC)
Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within
Center for Political Education (CPE)
Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel
Community Futures Collective
Critical Resistance Oakland
Critical Resistance Los Angeles
East Bay Solidarity Network
Free Palestine Movement
Freedom Socialist Party
Friends of Sabeel--North America (FOSNA)
GABRIELA San Francisco
Global March to Jerusalem - North America
Gray Panthers of San Francisco
Haiti Action Committee
Helena (Montana) Service for Peace and Justice/SERPAJ
Interdenominational Advocates for Peace
International Action Center
International Coalition to Free the Angola 3
International Jewish Anti Zionist Network (IJAN)
International Socialist Organization (ISO)
Iraq Veterans Against War (IVAW) - Bay Area
ISM - Northern California
Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
Justice for Palestinians
Labor for Palestine
Lighthouse Masjid Social Justice Committee
Marcha Patriotica Colombia - California Chapter
Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
Milbes Family Foundation
New York City Labor Against the War
NorCal Friends of Sabeel
Occupy SF Action Council
Divestment and Sanctions National
Palestine Poster Project Archives
Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM)
Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL)
The Peace and Freedom Party of Alameda County
Queers Undermining Israeli Terror (QUIT)
Real Cost of Prisons
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
SF Women in Black
The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
UAW2865 BDS Caucus
US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN)
WORD (Women Organized to Resist and Defend)
Workers World Party
Please email email@example.com with subject "Endorse Block the Boat" to add your organization.