Seattle/Tacoma Human Rights Community to Serve Israeli Shipping Company with Notice of Ongoing Boycott Action
MONDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2014
3:30 PM – Rally to Follow
Zim American Integrated Shipping Services
S.W. Klickitat Way, Seattle, WA 98134
Block the Boat Northwest, a local anti-apartheid coalition, will make a public delivery of a demand letter to the Seattle offices of Zim American Integrated Shipping Services Co. LLC, an Israeli-owned transport company. The letter serves notice that Puget Sound activists will continue to boycott and blockade Zim freight ships until the State of Israel complies with the demands of the internationalBoycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS):
- End the occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantle the Wall;
- Recognize the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality;
- Respect, protect and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.
The Seattle action will be part of ongoing West Coast and international boycott and blockade actions targeting Zim Shipping. On October 25, Oakland’s Block the Boat for Gaza will once more blockade a Zim ship from unloading in the Oakland harbor.
As a part of Ofer Brothers, Israel’s largest and most profitable conglomerate — with close ties to Israel’s security apparatus — Zim is in a unique position to influence the State of Israel to comply with the demands of the international BDS movement, which are in accord with international humanitarian law. As a shipping company, Zim should also respect several specific rights of the people of Gaza:
- Freedom for Palestinians to move freely in and out of Gaza;
- Unrestricted import and export of supplies and goods by land, sea and air;
- Unrestricted use of the Gaza seaport.
Block the Boat NW is responding to a call by the Palestinian General Federation Trade Union for actions to end Israel’s ongoing violations of human rights and international law, including Israel’s recent assault on the captive population of Gaza, during which Israelbombed schools, several hospitals, seven UN-designated shelters, Gaza’s only power plant, and Gaza’s water purification system. More than 2000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed by Israel during the fifty days of its assault on Gaza.
Since the West Coast campaign to blockade Zim ships began in August, Zim is estimated to have lost thousands of dollars a day for the delays in Oakland, Los Angeles, Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver.
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.
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.