Why we are blocking the boat.
Because it’s time to disrupt Israeli business as usual. It has been time since 1948. And the summer of 2014 only served us a reminder to the world that the Palestinian struggle for liberation is calling on us to join them in their fight to end colonialism.
During the summer of 2014 thousands of Palestinians lost their lives, hundreds of thousands were displaced, and entire neighborhoods flattened to rubble. The physical destruction compounded with the environmental and psychological impact of the Israeli assault on Palestine is now etched in the story of the Palestinian struggle for liberation. People all over the world flooded the streets in protest, demanding an end to the siege on Gaza, an end to the colonial occupation of Palestine, and the freedom of all our political prisoners and the right of return of all of us Palestinians refugees. People in Palestine heard our chants, they felt the rumble of our marches. But Israel continued its assault. What forced Israel to stop their bombings was indeed the resilience and resistance of Palestinians. So this leaves us to wonder what exactly is our role as activists, allies and Palestinians in diaspora? Beyond massive demonstrations, many of us know that we must economically, politically and culturally weaken the state of Israel. And we see Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) as the way to do just that—de-normalize Zionism and end apartheid once and for all.
In July and August 2014, the San Francisco Bay Area saw some of the largest local demonstrations for Palestine. We raised our anti-Zionist and anti-colonial slogans and together and raised the bar on Bay Area solidarity with Palestine. And with Block the Boat, we raised the bar on BDS.
By Blocking the Boat we are disrupting business as usual at ports throughout North America and we are putting BDS into action. Direct action. By stopping Zim we are disrupting international commerce and an asset to Israel’s national security. We are not only choosing to refrain from buying an Israeli product, or engaging with an Israeli institution, we are choosing to take action to stop Israel in its tracks. And we are doing so in struggle with workers, with Black and Brown communities, and with all those impacted by the role of Israel in global repression. The Block the Boat campaign is not only an escalation of BDS tactics; it is bringing BDS into the streets and into our communities.
After successfully blocking the Zim ship in August 2014, activists blocked the ship again and had it turned away in September. And now, on October 25, 2014, the last scheduled Zim ship is to arrive at the Port of Oakland. Alongside the wave of actions at ports throughout North America, we are confronting Israel at the Port of Oakland.
We are making an impact. We have learned from the freedom fighters that ended apartheid in South Africa. We are committed to the values of worker solidarity and the legacy of ILWU who have always waged struggles for justice from the memories of Bloody Thursday to their solidarity with the anti apartheid movement in South Africa in 1984. We are inspired by the resistance to state violence by our brothers and sisters from Ferguson to Oakland. And from the ports of Long Beach, Tampa, New York, New Orleans, Vancouver, Seattle, Tacoma and Oakland, we are holding the US government accountable for its role in making Israel possible. And together, we are building a movement for self-determination.
While we create a rupture in the system, those interested in power and profit are hard at work figuring out a way to stop us. As the Israeli consulate labels the ILWU workers “cowards” for honoring a community picket, threatening ILWU workers, working with the Department of Homeland Security to harass activists and workers, the Zionist organizations call on their allies in the Oakland Police Department to criminalize those standing in solidarity with Palestine at the Port of Oakland. The sides are clear. There is that of the state of Israel, the US and the police state and then there are communities of color, poor and working people. And despite the balance of powers, despite political repression, our movements are thriving through the streets of Ferguson and the Ports throughout North America. And we will continue to confront every institution and decision maker that chooses to profit off of our oppression. After all, our lives are at stake and the will of our peoples have proven boundless.
Update: The ship is delayed and the action is now planned for Sunday —
Zim Beijing WILL NOT ARRIVE Saturday! Follow us for updates & sign up for text alerts! Zim is running scared of our strength! #BlockTheBoat
— BlockTheBoatForGaza (@BlockTheBoat) October 24, 2014