Labor Groups to Picket Israeli Ship in Protest of May 31 Raid Deaths

Categories: Labor
ship rigging.jpg
Not in Oakland you're not...
Bay Area labor groups plan to picket the Israeli container ship, Zim Shenzhen, on Sunday, June 20 when it is scheduled to arrive at 5:30 a.m. in the Port of Oakland, said local longshoreman Jack Heyman.

"South Africa, Norway, Sweden, are going to be following suit," he said. "There will be a ripple effect around the world."

Calls to the Israeli Consul General and to the San Francisco Labor Council were not immediately returned.

On May 31, Israeli Defense Forces commandos, enforcing a siege against Gaza, killed nine activists aboard a Turkish ship. The "Freedom Flotilla" killings -- and the siege -- have sparked international outrage. Bay Area longshoremen have a history of joining international social justice causes.

In 2008, the union shut down West Coast ports to protest wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And in 1984, the union refused to unload a ship carrying South African cargo for 11 days.

"We're asking dock workers not to work Israeli ships," Heyman said. "This is a dramatic escalation of the protest against Israel's actions against Palestine."

Update:
At 3:27 Tuesday, the Israeli Consulate sent the following message:
"We were informed there might be demonstrations at the Oakland Port, and we trust that the authorities will enable the Port to function as normal."

Another Update:
Israeli Consul General Akiva called at 4:30 to share the following thoughts:
"I think it is an unjustified protest, but I hope everything will work out. There are lots of protests in San Francisco; we have them outside the consulate often. I just think it's not justified, because we have to find a way to know what is entering Gaza in order to prevent ourselves from being rocketed. We're not trying to keep out humanitarian goods, or goods in general. We're trying to keep out munitions. So I hope this protest will not obstruct the longshore union, nor the Port of Oakland."

Editor's note: The picket seems to be a private action by labor movement members interested in the Palestine issue, and does not appear to be endorsed by International Longshore Workers International Union Local 10. On our behalf, a staffer at the ILWU international office checked with Local 10 officials and several other people, and nobody seemed to be aware of the action.

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