#BlocktheBoat in Vancouver, BC!

BLOCK THE BOAT VANCOUVER, BC

BOYCOTT ISRAELI SHIPPING, BOYCOTT ISRAELI APARTHEIDSaturday, September 6
Gather at 6:15 AM at McDonald’s Parking Lot, 5776 Ladner Trunk Rd, Delta, BC before proceeding to Deltaport
Need a ride? Need directions?
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In the past 60 days, Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, Palestine has killed over 2137 Palestinians, including over 500 children. Over 10,000 are wounded, including over 3,000 children. 20,000 homes have been destroyed completely or beyond possibility of repair, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are displaced.
Thousands of people took to the streets in Vancouver – part of millions around the world – to express their outrage and horror at this brutal assault, supported all the while by the Canadian government and the representatives of all political parties. Palestinian resilience and resistance under the Israeli bombardment inspired the people of the world to take action and step up the campaign to Boycott, Divest and Sanction!
ZIM Integrated Shipping Services is a cornerstone corporation of the Israeli economy that operates a large, global fleet. In Oakland, California, thousands of protesters came out – and blocked a ZIM ship from unloading for 4 days thanks thanks to the solidarity of ILWU Local 10 longshore workers who refused to cross the picket line. In Long Beach, California, another ZIM ship was stopped from unloading by a community port picket. In Seattle and Tacoma, ZIM’s boats were delayed to avoid protests and ZIM’s business as usual was disrupted at the port. Read more: Protestors block and delay Israeli ships up and down US West Coast
Now it is time for us to act in Vancouver
Palestinian labor organizations, including the Palestinian General Federation Trade Union (PGFTU), have called on workers around the world to refuse to handle Israeli goods. Palestinians throughout Gaza, the West Bank and 1948 Palestine have demonstrated their unity in the struggle against Apartheid Israel. ZIM’s activity up and down the West Coast has been significantly disrupted with significant financial impact on the business of apartheid. 
Join us Saturday, September 6 for Port Education and Leafleting of stevedores and truckers on their way to and from work along Deltaport Way – and build the campaign to BLOCK THE BOAT VANCOUVER
Global Statements
Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions – Gaza Strip
Palestinian and South African Trade Unions
Labor for Palestine
Congress of South African Trade Unions
National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa
Transport Workers Solidarity Committee
UNITE, British Trade Union
Block the Boat Actions in Other Cities:
- Oakland, California
- Long Beach, California
- Seattle/Tacoma, Washington
- Tampa, FL
Endorsing organizations: Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign, Canada Palestine Association, Independent Jewish Voices

A Call from Gaza, #BlocktheBoat

Some friends shared this recent article from the Palestinian BDS National Committee and various Palestinian labor unions. Gaza is still occupied and under siege. A call for all of us to consider how we can be in solidarity with Palestinian people and all peoples facing occupation and terror. Point #4 also encourages the continuation of actions such as #BlocktheBoat

 A call from Gaza: Make Israel Accountable for its Crimes in Gaza – Intensify BDS! 

Occupied and still-besieged Gaza, 5 September 2014–From the ruins of our towns and cities in Gaza, we send our heartfelt appreciation to all those who stood with us and mobilized during the latest Israeli massacre. In the occupied West Bank, Israel has embarked on one of its largest illegal land grabs in decades by confiscating another 1000 acres of Palestinian land to expand its illegal colonies. Now, our battle to hold Israel accountable for its fresh war crimes and crimes against humanity has begun. The outcome of this battle to end Israeli impunity will determine whether Israel’s latest assault will be yet another stage in Israel’s “incremental genocide” of Palestinians or the turning point that will bring an end to Israel’s status as an entity above the law—the world’s dangerous pariah. The outcome of this battle depends on you.

Two months after its 2008-09 massacre in Gaza, Israel’s prize was an upgrade in trade relations with the European Union. By 2012, western powers in cooperation with the UN Secretary General had effectively prevented all investigation by the United Nations and the International Criminal Court (ICC) into the war crimes and crimes against humanity that Israel committed during the attack.

During the most recent massacre, on August 2nd 2014, three days after the occupation forces bombed the designated UN humanitarian shelter in Jabalya refugee camp, killing 20 civilians and wounding at least 150 people as they slept, the US Congress approved $225 million in additional military aid to Israel. The following day, the occupation forces bombed another UN shelter in Rafah killing ten civilians and injuring dozens. Also during the massacre, Germany sold Israel an attack submarine with nuclear capability, and Britain refused to freeze its arms sales to Israel. These and other forms of criminal complicity from world governments and official bodies pave the way for Israel’s ongoing genocidal attacks. It is up to people of conscience and all those who seek peace with justice worldwide to make sure this complicity ends now.

We urge you to stand with the Palestinian people in its entirety and to demand that Israel be held accountable for the war crimes and crimes against humanity it has committed and continues to commit against the Palestinian people everywhere. We urge you to intensify boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns to further isolate Israel economically, militarily, academically and culturally.

Intensify BDS against Israel in all fields, including by taking the following actions:

1. Working to have arrest warrants issued against Israeli war criminals and for them to be tried before your courts.

2. Pressuring governments to impose a comprehensive military embargo on Israel.

3. Pressuring governments to suspend all free trade and bilateral agreements with Israel until it complies with international law.

4. Building effective direct action against Israel and Israeli companies, such as the inspiring Block the Boat actions that prevented Israeli ships from unloading in California and Seattle, and the occupations of Israeli weapons company Elbit Systems’ factories in the UK and Australia.

5. Working within trade unions to raise awareness about Israel’s regime of oppression and engaging in effective BDS measures such as stopping handling of Israeli goods, divesting trade union funds from Israel and complicit companies, and boycotting complicit Israel trade unions. The trade union movement has a proud history of successful campaigning against apartheid in South Africa, and the Congress of South African Trade Unions has joined Palestinian trade unions in calling for trade union action to end Israel’s impunity.

6. Holding to account those corporations and retailers that support and profit from Israel’s regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid, including by boycotting their products and taking creative and direct action. The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) has suggested a list of corporate criminals to target: http://www.bdsmovement.net/make-an-impact.

The majority of the world’s people are waking up to the reality of Israel’s rogue regime of oppression and racism. For the rest of what is supposed to be the International year of solidarity with the Palestinian people, demand an end to Israel’s criminal impunity. Stand with Gaza, and act for freedom, justice and peace in Palestine.

Issued by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) and the following Gaza organizations/unions:

Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions
University Teachers’ Association in Palestine
Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (Umbrella for 133 orgs)
Medical Democratic Assembly
General Union of Palestine Workers
General Union for Health Services Workers
General Union for Public Services Workers
General Union for Petrochemical and Gas Workers
General Union for Agricultural Workers
Union of Women’s Work Committees
Pal-Cinema (Palestine Cinema Forum)
Herak Youth Movement
Union of Women’s Struggle Committees
Union of Synergies—Women Unit
Union of Palestinian Women Committees
Women’s Studies Society
Working Woman’s Society
Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel
Gaza BDS Working Group
One Democratic State Group

- See more at: http://www.bdsmovement.net/2014/a-call-from-gaza-make-israel-accountable-for-its-crimes-in-gaza-intensify-bds-12627#sthash.aWccCBXo.dpuf

Location set for Sunday’s debrief & strategy session @3p: the lawn at Seattle Central Community College

Hi everyone, it’s time to have a group discussion of the Block the Boat actions and to strategize the next steps now that we don’t have a looming deadline hanging over our heads. Let’s meet this Sunday at 3pm.

We will meet outside Seattle Central Community College (on the northwest corner of the intersection of Broadway and Pine)  – on the southwest corner of the lawn there along Pine west of the sculpture.

Some questions to consider ahead of time:

  • what about the actions was successful, and what could be improved?
  • What are some specific examples of missed opportunities, and what could be done better the next time?
  • What did we learn?
  • What type of commitment or contribution might you or your group be willing to make to future ship blockade actions, and what would you need to do it?

Hope to see you there!

Debriefing and Strategizing session!

Hi everyone, it’s time to have a group discussion of the Block the Boat actions and to strategize the next steps now that we don’t have a looming deadline hanging over our heads. Let’s meet this Sunday at 3pm.

Location TBD. Please suggest one if you have an idea! Email us at blocktheboatnw@gmail.com

Some questions to consider ahead of time:

  • what about the actions was successful, and what was not?
  • What were some specific examples of missed opportunities, and what could be done better the next time?
  • What did we learn?
  • What type of commitment or contribution might you or your group be willing to make to future ship blockade actions, and what would you need to do it?

Hope to see you there!

 

Statement from Palestine General Federation of Trade Union-Gaza Strip

Many of us participated in blocking the ZIM ship in Tacoma and Seattle in response to the call out from the Palestine General Federation of Trade Union – Gaza Strip for people in the US to resist Israeli apartheid

Internationalism and anti-colonial, anti-racist solidarity are key components of class struggle. May we find one another on the streets and in our daily actions, not only through anecdotes of history.

See you all on the streets and at the ports!

PGFTU-Gaza (1)-page-001

PGFTU-Gaza (1)-page-002

 

 

Press Release for Seattle action!

Activist blockade delays Israeli ZIM ship another day at Port of Seattle

After delaying work on the Israeli freight ship ZIM CHICAGO at the Port of Tacoma, local human-rights activists have learned that they also delayed the arrival of ZIM CHICAGO into the Port of Seattle for another full day.

The unloading and loading of ZIM CHICAGO in the Port of Tacoma was completed by 8 AM on Sunday August 24. Ordinarily the ship would have moved to the Port of Seattle within a few hours and been ready for a longshore work shift starting that same Sunday at 6 PM. However, ZIM CHICAGO spent a full day anchored north of Vashon Island, only docking on Monday afternoon. As a result, the longshore work shift to unload the ship began a full 24 hours later, on Monday at 6 PM.

There was plenty of room for ZIM CHICAGO at its scheduled berth in Seattle, but ZIM CHICAGO waited until there were no other ships in a berth that could handle up to three other ships at once.

“We know of no other reason for the ship to wait for an open dock except to avoid spreading the impact of our blockade to other ships, who might then ask for refunds because of delays. This would not be out of simple goodwill toward other shipping lines, but rather to avoid isolation from other shipping lines that might refuse to share berths with ZIM ships in the future,”, said Ed Mast, one of the blockade organizers. “A full day’s delay costs ZIM not only the extra running time money for fuel and staff, but also potential losses in cargo diverted to other ships, as well as credibility with customers that might start to distrust the irregular schedule, and credibility with other shipping lines that might refuse to share berths with ZIM at this and other ports.”

At 5:00 PM on Monday, over 100 protestors gathered at the Port of Seattle to blockade the gates through which longshore workers would enter to unload ZIM CHICAGO. An almost equal number of police had been called, and those police used aggressive physical force to push back the blockaders and open pathways for longshore workers to enter. One arrest was made, though no physical aggression was reported from the blockaders.

“Delay was always our victory condition, since delay costs money to ZIM and sends a message to Israel that it will be increasingly isolated as long as it maintains its regime of apartheid against Palestinians, “ said Nada Elia, another organizer. “They once again delivered us this victory before they reached the port and before we even understood it. We owe this success to the previous successful blockades against ZIM ships in Oakland and Los Angeles, as well as our own blockade in Tacoma. We plan to continue resisting business-as-usual for ZIM and other Israeli companies as long as Israel’s apartheid continues.”

The blockade actions at the Port of Seattle slowed down the entrance of longshore workers to the terminal where the ZIM ship was docked, though it is not yet clear whether or not the blockade caused actual delays to the start of unloading the ZIM ship beyond the 24-hour initial delay in docking.

The West Coast blockades of Israeli ZIM ships are part of the international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel for its ongoing violations of human rights and international law, including Israel’s recent assault on the captive population of Gaza, during which Israel bombed schools, several hospitals, seven UN-­designated shelters, Gaza’s only power plant, and Gaza’s water purification system. More than 2000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed by Israel’s attacks over the past month.

Local activists are also responding to the Palestinian General Federation Trade Unions’ call for international supporters to take action in support of the people of Gaza. A letter signed by 93 Gazan civil society members, including teachers, doctors, and lawyers, demands three basic rights:
1) freedom for Palestinians to move freely in and out of Gaza;
2) unlimited import and export of supplies and goods, including by land, sea and air;
3) unrestricted use of the Gaza seaport.

Updates are public on http://blocktheboatnw.wordpress.com and questions can be directed to blocktheboatnw@gmail.com.

Press release for Tacoma Action & why we’re doing this!

More than 100 Palestinians have been killed since Israel resumed airstrikes last week.  On Saturday and Sunday, Palestinian medics said at least 22 people were killed, including a one-year-old girl and a mother and three children from the same family. And today several Palestinians have been killed, including a three-year-old boy!  No business as usual for Israel until Palestinian demands for justice and freedom are met.  Let’s end these atrocities!  Block the Boat!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 25, 2014

Activists succeed in delaying Israeli ship in Tacoma, prepare for Seattle

Local human-rights activists succeeded in delaying work on unloading the Israeli freight ship ZIM CHICAGO at the Port of Tacoma, and have reason to believe they delayed the ship from entering the Ports of Tacoma and Seattle for several days.

“Delaying even by one hour costs ZIM money.  Delaying for days causes a significant expense and sends a clear message that there will be no business as usual with Israel as long as it blockades the Gaza Strip,” said Nada Elia, an organizer of the blockade.

“Delay has always been our goal and expectation.  The amazing success in Oakland of turning a ZIM ship away altogether of course raised our hopes, but we always knew our circumstances were different here, especially with a local longshoreworkers’ union that was willing to send workers across our picket line, even when some members of the union were sympathetic with our cause,” said Ed Mast, another organizer.

For the Saturday 8 AM longshore work shift, at least 150 activists blocked both of the entry gates for longshore workers at the Washington United Terminal (WUT) where the ZIM ship was docked at the Port of Tacoma.  That picket successfully closed both gates, and the work of unloading the ZIM CHICAGO ship was delayed; but then workers were snuck in through an entirely different terminal, a very unusual and surprising action.  At first some blockaders felt defeated by this, but then it became apparent that the Port of Tacoma and the ZIM company, to achieve this maneuver,  had to delay the arrival of the ZIM CHICAGO ship for days until August 23 when that alternate terminal was empty of any scheduled ships to be unloaded, so that longshore workers could be diverted there from the WUT terminal.  ZIM was also most likely trying to divert more shipping customers to unload their goods from the ship in Vancouver instead of Puget Sound, out of fear of the possible blockade.

“They were so afraid of repeating the disaster they faced in Oakland that they delivered us our victory before they even reached the port,” said Mast.

At the Saturday 6 PM longshore workers’ shift, the blockaders employed a mobile strategy using cars and bicycles to move their blockade rapidly between terminal gates.  It turned out that the Port of Tacoma had opened at least seven terminal gates for this purpose, some of which hadn’t been used in years or decades and were unknown to many staff.  Blockaders managed to be at all of them, turning away some cars and facing physical aggression from police and others.  The work of unloading the ZIM CHICAGO ship was once again delayed, though physical force by police managed to allow a reduced work force to enter the various terminals.

The Block the Boat campaign is preparing more blockades for the ZIM CHICAGO ship’s arrival in Seattle.   It is not yet clear whether similar factors as before are causing apparent delays in docking and unloading in the Port of Seattle.  Date and time are not yet certain, but blockade actions are being planned for as soon as Monday evening.  Updates are being posted at blocktheboatnw.wordpress.com and sent out by text, email and Twitter.

BACKGROUND:

On the heels of a successful action in Oakland, CA to block an Israeli ZIM freight ship from unloading in the port there, human-rights activists in the Puget Sound area are blockading and attempting to delay another freight ship from the same Israeli company which will be unloading at the Port of Seattle.

The West Coast blockades of Israeli ZIM ships are part of the international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS)against Israel’s ongoing violations of human rights and international law, including Israel’s recent assault on the captive population of Gaza, during which Israel bombed schools, several hospitals, seven UN-­‐designated shelters, Gaza’s only power plant, and Gaza’s water purification system.  More than 2000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed by Israel’s attacks over the past month.

Local activists are also responding to the Palestinian General Federation Trade Union call for international supporters to  take action in support of the people of Gaza. A letter signed by 93 Gazan civil society members,  including teachers, doctors, and lawyers, demands three basic rights:
1) freedom for Palestinians to move freely in and out of Gaza;
2)  unlimited import and export of supplies and goods, including by land, sea and air;
3) unrestricted use of the Gaza seaport.

The day and time of the Seattle blockade is not yet certain. Updates are public on http://blocktheboatnw.wordpress.com and questions can be directed to blocktheboatnw@gmail.com.