Action set to blockade Israeli ship in Oakland, Calif.

Action set to blockade Israeli ship in Oakland, Calif.San Francisco Bay Area people and organizations in solidarity with Gaza announced “a massive and powerful ‘Boat Blockade’ for Aug. 16 to block the Israeli Zim ship from unloading in Oakland!”

Organizers have formed a huge coalition led by the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, including upwards of 60 organizations. The demonstrators plan to meet at 5 a.m. at the West Oakland Bay Area Rapid Transit station. They will then march and carpool “to the Port of Oakland to show up for Palestine and stand down Israeli apartheid!” (From an announcement by the International Action Center)

The leaflet calling for this action says the following: “Palestine is calling us to action! Palestinian laborers [and the] Palestinian General Federation Trade Union have called on workers around the world to refuse to handle Israeli goods. We will be answering this call by organizing community pickets at the Port of Oakland, asking the longshoremen to honor this request and to stand with the people of Palestine as they have done in the past.

“During apartheid in South Africa, ILWU workers made history when they refused to unload South African cargo in San Francisco in 1984. … In 2010, … we built on ILWU’s history and successfully blocked the Israeli Zim ship from being unloaded at the Port of Oakland.”

Symbolic demonstrations are planned in other cities around the country in solidarity with the action in Oakland.

Already, on the morning of Aug. 13, people in the Long Beach, Calif., area demonstrated outside the Long Beach Harbor Pier A terminal, protesting the arrival of a ship owned by the Israeli Zim American Integrated Shipping Services Company.

Some protesters carried Palestinian flags.  Others carried signs protesting Israeli apartheid and the massacres in Gaza.  Some passed out flyers in English and Spanish to port truck drivers and ILWU members. The flyer promoted a boycott of Zim specifically and Israeli goods generally, with statements by the International Transport Workers Federation, the South African Metal Workers Union and the International Dockworkers Council condemning Israeli military actions and occupation.

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