Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Protests Against Israel in US Ports

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

The Port of Oakland is the 5th largest port in the United States.

On Saturday September 27, for the second time, protesters prevented an Israeli cargo ship from Zim Cargo from unloading its cargo at the port. The group of protesters was small - only about 200 people. They were organized under the banner of "Block the Boat for Gaza Online." Officially, they were upset by Israel's 50 day operation against Gaza this summer.

The first time this happened was in August and now this second time during the last days of September it has happened again. Twice in two months. Each time, the Zim ships eventually pulled out of Oakland and unload their cargo in Los Angeles.

Protesters prevented the ship from unloading by blocking the ship and the entrance to that section of the port so that the longshoremen could not and would not access the Zim ship.

The ILWU union (International Longshore and Warehouse Union) speaking for the longshoremen said that they did not take a stand on the politics. They also said that their workers and their vehicles were blocked and that they were threatened so they decided not to unload the ship or even break the line.

Here is the real problem: If this situation becomes more common, Zim will simply dock in LA or Long Beach. Zim is one of the biggest cargo companies in the world. It is a multi-billion dollar company.

Ironically, what the protesters do not realize is that they are not hurting Israel, they are hurting their local workers. When Zim takes it business elsewhere, the port will have to cut workers.

In the end, this kind of boycott will not be successful. 

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