— ISM Palestine (@ISMPalestine) August 19, 2014
Pro-Palestinian activists in the city of Oakland, California are blocking the docking of an Israeli commercial vessel in response to Israel’s military campaign in Gaza. The protest entered its third day when 20 protesters demonstrating under the banner of “Block The Boat” arrived at the port of Oakland to stop an Israeli ship from docking.
The Pro-Palestinian activists were able to get the dockworkers to honor the picket line on the second day of the protests and the Israeli-owned commercial vessel was unable to unload. The vessel was owned by Zim Integrated Shipping Services.
The protests are part of the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement to pressure Israel to stop human rights abuses against the Palestinians. The attempt at blocking Israeli vessels was targeted at Israel’s economic relationship with the US.
Inspired by a call from Palestinian civil society to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel until it ends its occupation of Palestinian lands, the action was part of a series of events organized by Block the Boat, a loose Oakland-based coalition of grass-roots organizations. Saturday’s protest, which launched the campaign, drew 3,000 to 5,000 protesters. Block the Boat organizers are planning similar actions in Seattle, Vancouver and other U.S. and Canadian ports in coming weeks…
The port blockade, organizers say, aims not just to put a dent in the Israeli economy but also to expose Americans to all elements of the U.S. relationship with Israel — a partnership they say is also resulting in the militarization of U.S. police forces nationwide. This, the organizers charge, has led to a recent surge in police brutality against communities of color and the killings of young black men like Brown.
Many American police officers, including St. Louis County Police Chief Timothy Fitch, have gone to Israel to be instructed on policing “terrorism.” Is this why the police response in Ferguson looks like the Israel occupation of Gaza?
If enough people get involved and longshoreman and others dock workers cooperate with the activists it may be harder and harder for Israel to do business in the US. Without access to the US market Israel’s economy could be seriously damaged.