Oakland Protestors Try to Block Israeli Shipping; Union Not Interested
Anti-Israel activists claimed that their protest Saturday at the Port of Oakland successfully blocked an Israeli ship from the Zim cargo company from docking. However, the ship was still far away from the port at the time of the protest, and the International Longshoremen and Warehousemen Unions (ILWU), which has supported such protests before, is less inclined to participate in boycotts of Israeli shipping this time, Al Jazeera reports.
"Let the world register that on 16, August 2014, we prevented the apartheid Zim liner for the second time from docking and unloading anywhere on the West Coast," declared activists from "Block the Boat," claiming credit for a delay in the Israel ship's arrival. Their efforts mirrored a similar attempt by anti-Israel activists in Long Beach last week, and they hope to stage similar protests up and down the West Coast, including Canadian ports.
However, the longshoremen who often support such protests are in the midst of contract negotiations, and may be less inclined to join the protest as a result. In 2011, during the height of the nationwide Occupy Wall Street movement, left-wing activists supported an ILWU protest in Washington state. However, the ILWU later resisted Occupy's efforts to mount a protest up and down the West Coast, calling them a "third-party strike."
The ILWU did participate in a brief 2010 protest against Israeli shipping after the Mavi Marmara incident of May 2010, when Israel intercepted a flotilla of six ships from Turkey that intended to break the naval blockade of Gaza. Five ships were boarded peacefully, but deadly clashes broke out on the sixth. Estimates of Saturday's protest varied widely, with local reporters counting 500, and the UK Guardian claiming 2,000 to 3,000.