In the first such action in the US, the Longshoreman’s Union in Oakland upheld a picket and refused to offload goods imported from Israel into California on Sunday. The picket was organized by a coalition of peace groups in the Oakland area, and was supported by the Longshoremen.Around 500 workers and their supporters staged an early morning rally at the port of Oakland as the Israeli ship was scheduled to arrive at the port. They chanted ‘Free, free Palestine! Don’t cross the picket line!’, and the workers, members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10, agreed not to off-load the ship.
The ship, an Israeli Zim Lines cargo vessel, was scheduled to arrive at 6 am, but never arrived, and the protesters remained until late afternoon at the dock. They said they would retain a presence at the dock to ensure that the ship would not be allowed to unload its goods for at least 24 hours.
An organizer at the rally said, “We want to send a clear message that if you commit acts of piracy on the high seas, if you attack and murder civilians in cold blood, if you build an apartheid Wall, if you appoint a racist minister like Avigdor Lieberman who calls for the expulsion of all Palestinians, then we will not honor your cargo here in the Port of Oakland.”
The ‘piracy on the high seas’ charge stemmed from a May 31st attack on a humanitarian aid convoy in which Israeli forces killed eleven international aid workers, including one American who were attempting to bring aid to the besieged Gaza Strip.
The boycott action is one of hundreds that have taken place around the world which attempt to pressure the Israeli government to end its occupation of Palestine, and its apartheid system which discriminates against certain people based on race, ethnicity and religion.