Oakland: Picket Successfully Blocks Unloading of Israeli Cargo Ship

Photo credit: Brooke Anderson

By Taylor Jensen 

On June 7, activists held a picket, joined by workers at the Port of Oakland, successfully preventing the unloading of the Volans, a ship belonging to the Israeli carrier company Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. 

The recent call to block Zim carrier ships was coordinated by the the Arab Resource Organizing Center (AROC) in the wake of the recent resistance of the Palestinian people against Israeli occupation. Zim is Israel’s largest shipping company and transports Israeli-manufactured military technology, armaments, and logistics equipment.

Footage shared by AROC on social media showed demonstrators blocking the road at the entrance to the port. Demonstrators held signs with slogans reading, “Stop ZIM Cargo, Stop Israeli Apartheid,” as well as Palestinian flags.

The picket was able to successfully prevent the ship from docking as a result of workers with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 supporting the protest. The last time an Israeli cargo ship was turned away from an American port was in 2014, and the recent picket is the first time a pro-Palestinian protest has taken place at the port of Oakland.

AROC executive director Lara Kiswani told Tribune, “We responded to the call directly from Palestinian trade unions in Gaza asking workers across the world to refuse to handle Israeli goods, deal with Israeli businesses, or handle Israeli cargo.” 

The call to action by AROC resulted in activists and workers across the US organizing pickets against Zim. In Romulus, Michigan, the organization Palestinian Youth Movement led a protest outside of the company’s shipping offices. In Staten Island, New York protesters demonstrated outside of the Zim offices on Wednesday. In Elizabeth, New Jersey demonstrators were unfazed by police intimidation tactics and held a picket line at the Maher Terminal at the Port of New York/New Jersey.

Kiswani continued, “We are seeing communities turn the tide against Israel’s ongoing occupation, apartheid, racism, and violence against the Palestinian people who are fighting for their liberation.” 

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