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Updated: 1 day 15 hours ago

University of Exeter students vote to boycott Israeli settlement products in a landslide

Sat, 01/11/2014 - 11:56am

Students at the University of Exeter have voted overwhelmingly in support of a boycott of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements. The referendum, which garnered 86% approval, generated the largest voter turnout in the history of the university.

Following Israel’s most recent attack on Gaza, a 50-day assault in which over 2,000 Palestinians were killed, Exeter Friends of Palestine, a student-led society, proposed a boycott of settlement goods to the Students’ Guild, whose purpose is to “represent the voice of the student body to the University.” The Guild turned the issue over to a student referendum after receiving hundreds of votes in favor of a democratic process for students to voice their position.

“The unprecedented turnout and high percentage of affirmative votes is a clear indication of the student opinion on this issue,” said May Muhtadi, co-President of Exeter Friends of Palestine. “Students are increasingly horrified by the actions of the Israeli government and are demanding accountability.” The campaign also received widespread support from the university’s faculty, including world-renowned historian Ilan Pappe. “I congratulate the group of students that ran the campaign,” he said. “This is just the beginning.”

This referendum follows on the heels of a vote in August by the UK National Union of Students (NUS) to ensure that “[the] NUS does not employ or work with companies identified as facilitating Israel’s military capacity, human rights abuses or illegal settlement activity.”

In increasingly desperate fashion, a vocal minority in opposition to the referendum actively campaigned against the motion, garnering only 13% of the vote. It is the opposition’s messaging, however, that is drawing increased ire from much of the campus community.

“They appropriated the Palestinian flag and purported to know what is best for Palestinians,” said Francesco Amoruso, a postgraduate student at the university. “This colonial mindset must be stopped in its tracks. They need to move aside so that Palestinians can speak for themselves.”

Indeed, campaign material produced by the opposition group featured the Palestinian flag as a background image while insisting their opposition is fueled only by concern for Palestinian workers. Their official statement claimed that the boycott “will do more harm than good for the Palestinian cause, and we should look into other ways to promote the human rights and statehood of the Palestinian people.” In response, Exeter Friends of Palestine have published an open letter to opponents of the boycott, demanding a public apology and issuing a challenge to a public debate on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

“In regards to the opposition, they know what is right and what is wrong. They should apologize immediately for the tactics they employed during this campaign and agree to a public debate on the issue,” said Charles Phillips, co-President of Exeter Friends of Palestine. “In the meantime, we will continue with our work to contribute what we can to the quest for justice, equality and self-determination for Palestinians.

 

SodaStream to close illegal settlement factory in response growing boycott campaign

Thu, 30/10/2014 - 5:37pm

- SodaStream to benefit from Israel’s displacement of Palestinians in Naqab
– Retailers and investors dropped SodaStream over BDS pressure

Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists have welcomed the news that SodaStream has announced it is to close its factory in the illegal Israeli settlement of Mishor Adumim following a high profile boycott campaign against the company.

“SodaStream’s announcement today shows that the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement is increasingly capable of holding corporate criminals to account for their participation in Israeli apartheid and colonialism,” said Rafeef Ziadah, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), the broad coalition of Palestinian civil society organisations that leads and supports the BDS movement.

“BDS campaign pressure has forced retailers across Europe and North America to drop SodaStream, and the company’s share price has tumbled in recent months as our movement has caused increasing reputational damage to the SodaStream brand,” she added.

The news of this major success against a company famed for its role in illegal Israeli settlements broke amidst intensifying demonstrations against Israel’s policies of colonisation in Jerusalem.

Grassroots boycott activism saw SodaStream dropped by major retailers across North America and Europe including Macy’s in the US and John Lewis in the UK.

SodaStream was forced to close its flagship store in Brighton in the UK as a result of regular pickets of the store.

Soros Fund Management, the family office of the billionaire investor George Soros, sold its stake in SodaStream following BDS pressure.

SodaStream’s share price fell dramatically in recent months as sales dried up, particularly in North America.

After reaching a high of $64 per share in October 2013, the stock fell to around $20 per share this month. SodaStream has estimated its third quarter revenue will be $125 million, down almost 14 percent from the same period last year.

But Ziadah warned that SodaStream will still remain actively complicit in the displacement of Palestinians in the Naqab and will remain a focus of boycott campaigning.

“Even if this announced closure goes ahead, SodaStream will remain implicated in the displacement of Palestinians. Its new Lehavim factory is close to Rahat, a planned township in the Naqab (Negev) desert, where Palestinian Bedouins are being forcefully transferred against their will. Sodastream, as a beneficiary of this plan, is complicit with this violation of human rights,” she said.

SodaStream’s participation in Israel’s forced displacement of Palestinians gained international notoriety when A-list celebrity Scarlett Johansson signed up to be a brand ambassador for the company. Following an international campaign urging Oxfam end its relationship with Johansson for endorsing SodaStream, the actor decided to quit Oxfam.

SodaStream has also come under fire for its treatment of Palestinian workers in its West Bank factory, as Ziadah explains:

“Any suggestion that SodaStream is employing Palestinians in an illegal Israeli settlement on stolen Palestinian land out of the kindness of its heart is ludicrous.”

“Palestinian workers are paid far less than their Israeli counterparts and SodaStream recently fired 60 Palestinians following a dispute over food for the breaking of the Ramadan fast. Workers have previously said they are treated ‘like slaves’”.

“Palestinians are forced to work inside settlements in sub-standard conditions because of Israel’s deliberate destruction of the Palestinian economy. There’s an urgent need for the creation of decent and dignified jobs within the Palestinian economy.”

SodaStream have said all workers will be offered jobs at its new plant, although Israel’s apartheid wall and severe restrictions on movement will make the commute to the new plant difficult for its Palestinian workers.

All of the main Palestinian trade unions have called for boycott and are members of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the civil society coalition that leads the BDS movement and helped to initiate the campaign against SodaStream.

The BNC quotes included in this release can be found in the following coverage of this story:

New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/31/world/middleeast/sodastream-to-close-factory-in-west-bank.html?_r=0

Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/oct/29/sodastream-move-factory-west-bank-israel-slash-forecast

Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2813830/SodaStream-factory-West-Bank-Scarlett-Johansson-hot-water-close-operations-Israel-company-says.html

Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2014-10-29/sodastream-to-close-factory-at-center-of-israelpalestinian-spat

International Business Times: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/israel-bds-movement-scores-victory-sodastream-close-controversial-factory-west-bank-settlement-1472320

Kuwait to boycott 50 companies over role in illegal Israeli settlements

Mon, 27/10/2014 - 2:10pm

Direct action by Palestinian activists in the Sha’ar Binyamin settlement, West Bank

The government of Kuwait has announced that it will not deal with 50 companies due to their role in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory in a move being welcomed by campaigners as a landmark success for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The blacklisted companies include some of the top corporate targets of the BDS movement, such as Volvo, Heidelberg Cement, Dexia, Pizzarotti, Alstom as well as Veolia. Veolia was recently excluded from a $750m contract, and “all future contracts,” by Kuwaiti authorities over its role in the illegal Jerusalem Light Rail project and other projects that serve illegal Israeli settlements.

The blacklisted companies are expected to be excluded from contracts worth billions of dollars, especially if other Arab countries take similar steps.

According to media reports, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Commerce and Industry is also investigating the Kuwaiti operations of G4S, the British security company that secures Israeli military checkpoints and colonies and helps Israel run prisons at which Palestinian political prisoners are tortured, with a view to cancelling its license to operate if it does not terminate its participation in Israeli violations of international law.

Zaid Shuaibi, a spokesperson for the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the largest coalition of Palestinian trade unions, parties, NGOs and popular committees that leads the global BDS movement, said:

“This landmark decision means that international companies will now pay an even heavier price for participating in Israeli violations of international law.

“As European banks and pension funds continue to divest from Israel’s occupation and companies such as Veolia and G4S lose billions of dollars as a result of sustained, effective grassroots campaigning, many firms will now be wondering whether supporting Israel’s regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid is good for business,” said Shuaibi.

Many European governments have taken steps to discourage firms from having economic links to the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, but this is the first time a government has decided to boycott international companies over their role in illegal Israeli settlements.

The Kuwaiti move, which follows lobbying by the Palestinian BDS National Committee and its partners in Kuwait, implements a decision of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), taken at a summit of foreign ministers at the height of the Israeli massacre in Gaza in August, to “impose political and economic sanctions on Israel, and boycott the corporations that operate in the colonial settlements built on occupied Palestinian territory.”

The Arab Summit of 2006 in Khartoum unanimously called for punitive measures against the companies, including Veolia and Alstom, involved in Israel’s colonization of Jerusalem.

The BNC has been working closely with BDS Kuwait since 2010 on advocating for accountability measures against international corporations that are complicit in Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian rights.

Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the BDS movement and a member of the BNC secretariat, commented on this unprecedented BDS victory saying, “We warmly welcome this important decision in support of the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and self determination, and we urge the Kuwaiti government to implement it in full, including by cancelling any existing contracts with the blacklisted companies, as well as others that are also complicit, and ensuring that state money is not invested in any company, such as G4S, that enables Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights and international law.”

“In the wake of Israel’s massacre in Gaza, which was only made possible with the support of international governments and companies, we urge all governments, especially Arab League and OIC members, to impose sanctions on Israel and take action against the complicit corporations that profit from Israel’s occupation and crimes,” added Barghouti.

International companies that participate in Israel’s violations of international law have faced increasing pressure as a result of BDS campaigning in recent years.

Veolia recently announced that it intends to sell off large parts of its business in Israel after boycott campaigns cost the company more than $23bn – not counting Veolia’s latest losses in Kuwait — in lost potential contracts, although the French multinational will still remain involved in the illegal Jerusalem Light Rail Project.

British security giant G4S has pledged to end some aspects of its involvement in torture-ridden Israel’s prison system and checkpoints after trade unions, NGOs, universities and other public bodies cancelled contracts with the company.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) voted in June to divest from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett Packard over their role in Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory.

In January, Dutch pension giant PGGM announced it was divesting from five Israeli banks due to their support for illegal Israeli settlements. In February, it emerged that the sovereign fund of Luxembourg had taken a similar step, excluding nine Israeli banks and firms from its portfolio. In the months that followed, banks and pension funds in Norway, the Netherlands, the US and Denmark made similar announcements.

Notes

  1. French multinational Veolia helps to operate the illegal Jerusalem Light Rail that facilitates the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements and owns a landfill site in an illegal Israeli settlement
    http://www.whoprofits.org/company/veolia-environnement
    http://www.globalexchange.org/economicactivism/veolia/victories
  2. Swedish multinational Volvo provides heavy machinery used for the demolition of Palestinian houses in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, construction of Israeli settlements and construction of the illegal apartheid Wall
    http://www.whoprofits.org/company/volvo-group-ab-volvo
  3. German firm Heidelberg Cement operates quarries in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank
    http://www.whoprofits.org/company/heidelberg-cement
  4. Belgian bank Dexia Israel has been giving long-term loans and other financial services to municipalities of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories
    http://www.whoprofits.org/company/dexia-group
  5. Italian firm Pizzarotti is assisting with the construction of an illegal Israeli railway that passes through illegally occupied Palestinian territory
    http://www.whoprofits.org/company/impresa-pizzarotti-c
  6. For more information on European banks divesting from Israeli or international companies that participate in Israeli violations of international law, see
    http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/adri-nieuwhof/investing-israeli-settlements-continues-cycle-violence-desmond-tutu

Jordan civil society demands boycott of Israel

Mon, 27/10/2014 - 1:16pm


info@jordanbds.net – www.jordanbds.net

AMMAN (27-10-2014) – At a time when the National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) and the Jordanian government pursue an agreement to purchase gas from Israel via American and Israeli companies, Jordanian civil society institutions are unequivocally demanding a boycott by Jordan.

The Jordan BDS Movement –known in Arabic as Alurdun Tuqate’ – published today its statement which more than 60 civil society institutions have signed onto, including labor and trade unions, women’s associations, cultural and charitable societies, sports clubs, human rights organizations and business associations, affirming that they reject any dealings with Israel and call upon all Jordanian institutions from civil society and the public and private sectors to join them in boycott and anti-normalization.

This announcement coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Wadi Araba Treaty thus affirming once again that the Jordanian civil society –representing a broad segment of Jordanians- absolutely refuses to normalize relations with Israel when it continues to perpetrate crimes against Arab peoples. The latest such crimes were the assault on Gaza and the desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

The stance of those who signed onto the “Jordan Boycotts” statement was not only limited to boycotting Israel and its institutions, but also called upon other Jordanian establishments to adopt boycott and anti-normalization. By the same token, the signatories affirmed they are conveying the message to their Arab and international networks and urging said networks to isolate Israel until it terminates its occupation of Arab lands, allows the return of the Palestinian refugees to their homes and until the Palestinian people attain their rights completely. Further, the signatories expressed their position clearly against multinational corporations colluding with Israel, stating that these corporations must choose between either the Arab market, or working with the Zionist entity. This statement is supportive of the call by Palestinian civil society institutions for boycott, dated July 9, 2005 and supports the steadfastness of the Palestinian people.

Attached is the English version of the “Jordan Boycotts” statement in addition to the names of the first 60 institutions which signed onto it. The movement will publish the names of more signatory institutions in the upcoming months.

Jordanian Dental Association
Jordan Geologists Association
Jordan Press Association
Jordan Bar Association
Jordan Nurses and Midwives Council
Jordan Engineers Association
Jordan Agriculture Engineers Association
General Association for Foodstuffs Merchants

Jordan Concrete Association
Arab Women Media Center
Jordanian Council for Engineering Firms

Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Jordan
General Trade Union of Workers in Health Services
General Trade Union of Workers in Electricity
Independent Trade Union of Jordanian Electricity Workers
Youth Committee of the General Federation of Jordanian Trade Unions

The Jordan Museum
The Arab Education Forum
Al Hanounah Society for Popular Culture
Al-Balad Theater
Al-Weehdat Cultural Forum
Ta3leeleh
Khair and Barakah Feminine Society
Al-Shurouq Charitable Society
Bayda AlMaraygheh Charitable Society
That Alnetaqeen Society
Ru’yana Organization
Abu Alsin Ladies Charitable Society
Al-Shobak Ladies Charitable Society
Al-Mudawarah Ladies Charitable Society
Rashed Ladies Charitable Society
Tassan Ladies Charitable Society
Ebal Charitable Society
Almohammadeya Ladies Charitable Society
The Blessed Ones Society

The National Society for Freedom and Democracy
Citizenship and Civil Ideology Association
Pillars of Democratic Dialogue Organization
Phenix Center for Economics & Informatics Studies
Montada Mawtini
Taqqadam Platform

Al-Baqaa Sports Club
Al-Jalil Sports Club
Al-Wehdat Sports Club

The Arab Group for the Protection of Nature
I am a Human Society for Rights of Disabled People
Al-Rakha’a Businessmen Cooperative Association
YMCA
Hayat Educational Fund

Women for Jerusalem Society
Jerusalem Day Society
Palestine International Institute
Jerusalem Forum

More than 500 anthropologists back academic boycott of Israel

Sat, 25/10/2014 - 9:19am

Palestinian children play near houses destroyed during Israel’s summer offensive, in the Shujaiya neighborhood east of Gaza City, 5 October, on the second day of the Muslim Eid al-Adha.  (Mohammed Asad / APA images)

More than 500 anthropologists from around the world have signed a new call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

According to a statement issued on 1 October, the scholars call upon Israel to:

End its siege of Gaza, its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967, and dismantle the settlements and the walls;

Recognize the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel and the stateless Negev Bedouins to full equality; and

Respect, protect, and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

The initial list of signatories featured more than 250 names, including academics from Australia, Canada, China, Holland, India, Lebanon, Palestine, Sweden, Turkey, the UK and the United States. Colleagues from Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Chile, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Kuwait, Portugal, Qatar, Mexico, the Philippines and South Africa, among others, have added their support.

“The recent military assault on the Gaza Strip by Israel is only the latest reminder that the world’s governments and mainstream media do not hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law,” the statement notes, offering a rationale for civil society action.

Amongst the signatories are major names in the anthropology field, including Professors Jean and John Comaroff of Harvard University, Professors Lila Abu-Lughod and Michael Taussig of Columbia University, Talal Asad of CUNY and Sherry Ortner and Susan Slymovics of UCLA.

The list also includes a number of specialists on Palestine itself, including Nadia Abu El Haj of Barnard College, Glenn Bowman of the University of Kent, Julie Peteet of the University of Louisville and Rosemary Sayigh, probably one of the best-known writers and scholars on Palestine since the 1970s.

Organizers also noted, however, that “In addition, 46 scholars have elected to sign this statement anonymously” and that at least forty of these were untenured academics, post-doctoral fellows or graduate students. This seems to suggest that academic staff without the protection of tenure still feel that they may face harassment or discrimination if they speak up for Palestinian rights.

The group of anthropologists joins a number of US academic associations, including the American Studies Association, the African Literature Association, the Association for Asian American Studies and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association in supporting the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

In doing so, the anthropologists pledge “not to collaborate on projects and events hosted or funded by Israeli academic institutions, not to teach at or attend conferences or other events at such institutions, and not to publish in academic journals based in Israel.” However, as with other boycott supporters, “They remain open to collaboration with individual scholars based in the Israeli academy.”

From colonialism to solidarity

In addition to their generic support for the call for an academic boycott, the announcement notes that anthropology as a discipline “specialize[s] in how power, oppression, and structural violence affect social life, and as witnesses to the State of Israel’s multiple and egregious violations of international law that constitute an assault on Palestinian culture and society, they pledge to abide by their discipline’s stated commitment to ‘the promotion and protection of the right of people and people’s everywhere to the full realization of their humanity.’”

The statement also notes anthropology’s history as a discipline which, having started out with close links to colonialism, has endeavored to become a means of supporting the self-determination and liberation of the peoples with whom it works.

“In responding to the Palestinian call,” the statement continues, “we seek to practice what the [American Anthropological Association] calls an ‘engaged anthropology’ that is “committed to supporting social change efforts that arise from the interaction between community goals and anthropological research.” Anthropological research has illuminated the destructive effects of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian society.”

In addition to acknowledging the wide-ranging impacts of Israeli occupation and militarism on Palestinian people, the statement also notes the particular effects on higher education – including recent raids on a number of Palestinian universities, among them Birzeit University, the Arab American University in Jenin and Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, and the destruction of large parts of the Islamic University of Gaza.

This is explicitly contrasted with the “unconditional support” pledged for the Israeli military by universities including Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University, Bar-Ilan University, Haifa Univerity, Ben-Gurion University and Technion.

The anthropologists’ statement, while singling out the “intimate” connection between Israeli academia and militarism, also notes that anthropologists have taken strong ethical stances on other countries and organizations complicit in human rights abuses, including the South African apartheid regime, abusers of indigenous and minority rights in Chile, Brazil and Bulgaria, the brutal Pinochet regime in Chile and commercial boycotts including those of the Hilton Hotel chain and Coca-Cola.

The full statement and signatory list are at http://anthroboycott.wordpress.com, as are contact details for those wishing to add their names to the list.

Israel excluded from Italy military exercises after protests

Mon, 20/10/2014 - 8:29am

The Israeli air force has been removed from the list of armed forces now taking part in multinational military training exercises on the Italian island of Sardinia following a campaign by anti-war activists.

During Israel’s deadly 51-day bombing campaign on Gaza in July and August, anti-militarization and Palestine solidarity groups mobilized against the military drills in general, and Israel’s participation in particular.

Palestinians in Gaza, standing in the rubble of destroyed homes, posted photographs appealing directly to Italy not to “train the pilots who bombs us.”

The prospect of Israeli F-16s using the island to train for bombing missions, combined with the ill-timed delivery to Israel of two Italian trainer jets just after the attacks on Gaza began, created public outrage in Italy, with multiple calls for an embargo on weapons cooperation with Israel.

On 31 July, the Italian defense ministry published a note in an attempt to calm the waters. Without mentioning Israel, the ministry note stated that the planning stages for the drills had not yet been completed and only upon completion would the participating countries be confirmed.

The drills started last month and are scheduled to run until December.

As speculation on the possible exclusion of Israel continued, so did the mobilizations. A demonstration on 13 September at the Capo Frasca firing range, where Israel was to train, saw large-scale participation.

More than 350 people broke into the military area in an act of civil disobedience.

Contradiction

On 25 September, Gioacchino Alfano, Italy’s deputy defense minister, responded to a parliamentary question by claiming that military drills with the Israeli air force were never in the plans and therefore could not have been suspended.

That statement contradicted a March 2014 document from the Capo Frasca firing range, which clearly indicated that Israel was to take part in drills during the second half of 2014.

Furthermore, Israel has participated in similar drills undertaken in Sardinia in recent years, as photographs posted by the Israeli military prove.

Israeli air force jets take part in a 2010 military exercise on the Italian island of Sardinia. (Israel Defense Forces/Flickr)

A source at the Italian defense ministry told The Electronic Intifada that “no Israeli military personnel will be involved in the exercises.”

“We can consider this a small victory. It demonstrates that grassroots pressure can affect government decision-making,” commented Fawzi Ismail, president of the Sardinia-Palestine Friendship Association. “Public opinion had its say and apparently the Italian government and NATO felt it inopportune to have Israel participate after the attacks on Gaza.”

Ismail noted that the mobilizations against the training exercises will continue. The Italian, German and US militaries are all participating in the drills.

During the exercises, bombs, missiles and artillery rounds are being fired across the island from tanks, helicopters, combat jets and warships.

Power of action

Further demonstrations are planned over the next few weeks.

Sardinians have made it clear that they intend to continue campaigning against the takeover of their land by military forces.

A number of private firms are also involved in the exercises. Among them are Alenia Aermacchi, part of the Finmeccanica group, Italy’s top weapons manufacturer. Alenia will be testing its M-346 trainer jet.

Two of those jets were delivered to Israel in July. They were part of a consignment of thirty jets that Israel has ordered from the company as part of a $1 billion deal, which gives Italy the dubious honor of being Europe’s top weapons provider to Israel.

It would be naive to see the exclusion of Israel as a change in direction for the Italian government, considering the strong ties between the two countries. But it is a testament to the power of grassroots action.

Stephanie Westbrook is a US citizen based in Rome, Italy. Her articles have been published by Common Dreams, Counterpunch, The Electronic Intifada, In These Times and Z Magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @stephinrome.

Los Angeles activists block unloading of Israeli cargo ship for two days

Sun, 19/10/2014 - 8:56am

The Block the Boat coalition of Los Angeles claimed another victory this weekend after an Israeli cargo ship, the Zim Savannah, delayed docking at the port of Long Beach for at least 34 hours.

Cookie Partansky, an organizer with the LA Block the Boat coalition, told The Electronic Intifada that approximately 150 activists gathered at the Los Angeles port at 6am on Saturday, 18 October. The morning’s action followed weeks of communication with the longshoremen’s union and educating workers about Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestine, as well as the group’s reasons for targeting Zim, an Israeli shipping line.

The coalition — representing nineteen different activism groups — showed up at the port Saturday morning despite being informed at 5am by a member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 13 that the ship was still at sea and no workers had been called in to unload it.

“The fact that the boat is delayed for 24 hours is already costing Zim shipping a significant amount of money because their entire schedule will be delayed. This is already a victory for us,” Partansky said Saturday afternoon.

Another protest planned

The Block the Boat activists had planned to return to the port Sunday morning, in hopes to again stop the unloading of the ship after the 24 hour delay ended, but were informed by the union on Saturday at 4pm that the morning shift had been canceled.

Now the group plans to return to the Long Beach port Sunday afternoon, at 4pm, when the ship has been rescheduled to unload.

Partansky said that while the rank and file members of LA’s ILWU Local 13 have been more “reserved” in their support for the Block the Boat actions than those in the Bay Area union chapter, the LA coalition has continued to reach out to the union and the port truck workers in order to secure their support, and increase their understanding of why the anti-Zim picket lines have been organized.

Block the Boat LA, which delayed a Zim ship from unloading on 23 August, was formed in the image of the San Francisco Bay Area’s Block the Boat coalition. That group aimed to prevent the offloading of Zim ships at the Oakland port in response to the brutal, 51-day military assault by Israel on Gaza this summer.

The Bay Area Block the Boat campaign was launched in August and delayed the Zim line for four straight days — widely considered a historically successful action in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign. Other Bay Area activists also delayed the ship from unloading in Oakland on 27 September, and the Bay Area Block the Boat coalition is readying for yet another port shutdown on 25 October.

Update:

The Zim Savannah has again delayed its arrival at the port of Long Beach until Monday, 5pm local time. In a statement to the press, the Block the Boat coalition writes, “Each reschedule has an economic consequence, every twelve hours the Zim vessel is not unloaded the cost is in the thousands of dollars; a victory for Block The Boat Los Angeles.”

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