An Israeli cargo ship arriving in Oakland today was forced to sit idle and not offload its containers when longshoremen joined forces with a coalition of communist and Islamist groups who picketed the port in protest against the recent violent incident off the coast of Gaza.

The ship, owned by Zim Lines, was not carrying any controversial cargo, nor is Zim involved in politics in any way; it was targeted simply because the shipping company is based in Israel.

The planned protest and blockade were organized by The Free Palestine Movement (one of the same groups which organized the Gaza “flotilla” in the first place) as well as a rogues’ gallery of nearly every communist, anti-Israel and radical Islamist group in the Bay Area:

Oakland, CA: Join the Labor and Community Picket of an Israeli Zim Lines Ship

Sunday, June 20, 5:30am
Port of Oakland,Berth 57, Middle Harbor Rd.
Protest Israel’s Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla!
Boycott Israeli Ships and Goods!
Lift the Blockade NOW – Let Gaza Live!
Bring Down Israel’s Apartheid Wall!
We call on everyone who stands for justice and against occupation and apartheid to join the June 20 picket at the Port of Oakland. This is a moment of great opportunity. In San Francisco in 1984, a picket line and refusal to unload cargo of a ship carrying South African cargo was a key event in mobilizing the anti-apartheid movement worldwide.

Sponsored by: Labor / Community Committee in Solidarity with the People of Palestine:
Arab American Union Members Council, ANSWER- Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, Palestine Youth Network, US Palestine Community Network, Al Awda- Right to Return Coalition, Arab Youth Organization, MECA-Middle East Children’s Alliance, Students for Justice in Palestine, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, International Solidarity Movement, San Jose Peace and Justice Center, International Socialist Organization, Peace and Freedom Party – SF, Transport Workers Solidarity Committee and many labor activists in the Bay Area

However, you wouldn’t know any of this if you had just read the mainstream media’s reportage. For example, the San Francisco Chronicle described the protesters as “peace and labor groups”:

“Our view is that the state of Israel can not engage in acts of piracy and kill people on the high seas and still think their cargo can go anywhere in the world,” said Richard Becker, an organizer with ANSWER, one of many peace and labor groups involved in Sunday’s action.

From the list of sponsors above, I don’t see too many “peace” groups, but instead radical Islamic and Arab organizations dedicated to the extirpation of Israel, and some far-left political groups, a couple of which use the word “Peace” in their names as an Orwellian euphemism for “destroy the capitalist system.”

Here’s a video taken at this morning’s protest:

DailyKos also has breathlessly excited updates about today’s action. A follow-up second protest is happening as I write, at 4:30pm on Sunday.


The protesters carried Turkish and Palestinian flags. Peace!

Another false narrative found in the mainstream coverage of today’s incident is the implication that the longshoremen were taken by surprise when they showed up for work this morning but out of principle refused to cross a “picket line.” Again, according to the Chronicle,

The demonstrators want to block the unloading of the Zim ship for a full day. After convincing the day shift of longshoreman to honor the picket line, the demonstrators dispersed around 10 a.m.

First of all, it seems from the online listings announcing the event that labor union groups were among those who organized the protest in the first place, so the longshoremen most likely knew about it ahead of time and had already agreed to blockade the Israeli ship.

Secondly, the phrase “picket line” is being somewhat abused here. Picket lines are traditionally defined as “a common tactic used by trade unions during strikes, who will try to prevent dissident members of the union, members of other unions and ununionised workers from working.” In other words, picketing is supposed to be done by employees, ex-employees, or union members against a business engaging in what they claim are unfair labor practices. But if a group of non-workers and non-union members show up to demonstrate against something they don’t like on purely political grounds, that’s not really a “picket line,” but rather just a “protest.”

The seemingly inconsequential distinction between a “picket line” and a “protest” is significant in this instance, because union members are expected to “not cross a picket line,” but there are no similar enjoinders against “crossing a protest.” If all unionized workers are prohibited from crossing anything self-defined as a “picket line,” then all it would take is three people with homemade signs to shut down any business or corporation by standing out front and declaring themselves to be an uncrossable “picket line,” even though their protest has nothing to do with labor practices or union-busting.

But by using the phrase “picket line,” and ensuring that the media repeats the phrase, it gives cover and plausible deniability to the longshoremen’s union to join in and effectively implement the blockade, without overtly taking credit. “We have nothing against Israel,” they could claim, “but we simply could never cross a ‘picket line’!”

Uh-huh. Right.

Even though the evidence is already overwhelming and continues to grow every day that the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” was actually a planned jihad attack, the anti-Israel forces are doubling down and hoping that this grotesquely misrepresented incident will be the spark which finally causes the West to turn on Israel and actively work toward its destruction.

This morning’s protest was co-organized by Paul Larudee (paste this URL into a browser window: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/06/20/18651338.php — incoming links to Indybay are disabled), one of the very people who was on the Gaza flotilla itself, and who was given a hero’s welcome upon his return to the Bay Area from a short stint in an Israeli jail. But again, you’re not supposed to know that.

Today’s blockade of the Port of Oakland by anti-Israel forces, in collaboration with the Longshoremen’s Union (ILWU), is the opening of another front in the war on Israel — economic, politcal, propagandistic, and military — which escalates week by week. Will it ever end? Not according to the masterminds of the flotilla:

Meanwhile, Yasser Kashlak, a Syrian businessman of Palestinian descent who heads the “Free Palestine Organization” and is funding this boat, as well as another that is to carry journalists and parliamentarians, said over the weekend on Hizbullah’s al-Manar television station that he was more and more optimistic that one day these same boats would take “Europe’s refuse [the Jews] that came to my homeland back to their homelands.

“Gilad Schalit should go back to Paris and those murderers go back to Poland, and after that we will chase them until the ends of the earth to bring them to justice for their acts of slaughter from Deir Yassin until today.” Kashlak, a fervent Hizbullah supporter, called Israel a “rabid dog sent to the region to frighten the Arabs. He said he had a message for Israelis: ‘Get on the ships we are sending you and go back to your lands. Don’t let the moderate Arab leaders delude you, [you] cannot make peace with us. Our children will return to Palestine, you have no reason for coexistence. Even if our leaders will sign a peace agreement, we will not sign.’”

Clear enough for you?

UPDATE:

Keep in mind that the Port of Oakland is not some minor, backwater city-owned port: it is in fact the fourth busiest container port in the country and a major linchpin in the economy of California and the West, serving as the gateway for much of the materials coming from Asia into the United States. A threat to the proper functioning of the Port of Oakland can effect the economy nationwide. It’s not a good sign that fringe groups can dictate which countries get to ship goods into the US. What if someone protested at the port against China‘s human rights record? Would the longshoremen stop unloading Chinese ships and bring most West Coast imports to a halt? Obviously not. Pragmatism dictates that you can bully a small trading partner, but not a big one.

UPDATE II:

The protesters’ plan all along was to protest at the port prior to the arrival of the Zim Lines ship, to ensure that the shift of longshoremen who would be on duty when it did arrive would have already agreed not to do their jobs. But as reported in Israel National News and Gateway Pundit, the Israeli ship arrived several hours later than scheduled, and as things turned out, it was so late that it would not have been unloaded until Monday morning anyway. So the protesters ended up most likely having little or no effect on its actual timetable. Instead, an unrelated Chinese ship at the same berth had its unloading delayed, because the same longshoremen who didn’t cross the “picket line” could not work on it either.

It’s not known if the Zim ship’s late arrival was accidental or if it purposely idled a few hours off the coast to avoid a confrontation at the docks.


(Cross-posted at Pajamas Media.)

19 Responses to “Radicals, Islamists and Longshoremen blockade Israeli ship in Oakland”

  1. 1Cindy on Jun 21, 2010 at 12:44 am:

    “Keep in mind that the Port of Oakland is not some minor, backwater city-owned port: it is in fact the fourth busiest port in the country and a major linchpin in the economy of California and the West, serving as the gateway for much of the materials coming from Asia into the United States. A threat to the proper functioning of the Port of Oakland can effect the economy nationwide. It’s not a good sign that fringe groups can dictate which countries get to ship goods into the US.”

    I agree, Zombie.

  2. 2Dusty on Jun 21, 2010 at 2:50 am:

    “The demonstrators want to block the unloading of the Zim ship for a full day. After convincing the day shift of longshoreman to honor the picket line, the demonstrators dispersed around 10 a.m.”

    Well, the ship, the Zim Shenzhen didn’t actually arrive until 6:30, so i don’t quite get the claim that they blocked the unloading of the ship…. And it flies under a UK flag which makes this action even more surrealistic

  3. 3Starless on Jun 21, 2010 at 3:51 am:

    Let’s see–the purpose of a picket is to physically intimidated others (scabs, non-union employees) to keep them from crossing said picket. Does this incident mean that longshoremen are a bunch of pussies these days? “Oh, no, Mr. Patchouli-smelling, Vegan-emaciated protester, please don’t hit me with your ‘Free Gaza’ sign!”

  4. 4Ringo the Gringo on Jun 21, 2010 at 9:09 am:

    Thanks for venturing into this pit of snakes, zombie. Good work once again.

  5. 5zombie on Jun 21, 2010 at 9:16 am:

    Dusty: “The demonstrators want to block the unloading of the Zim ship for a full day. After convincing the day shift of longshoreman to honor the picket line, the demonstrators dispersed around 10 a.m.”Well, the ship, the Zim Shenzhen didn’t actually arrive until 6:30, so i don’t quite get the claim thatthey blocked the unloading of the ship…. And it flies under a UK flag which makes this action even more surrealistic

    See my second update:

    UPDATE II:

    The protesters’ plan all along was to protest at the port prior to the arrival of the Zim Lines ship, to ensure that the shift of longshoremen who would be on duty when it did arrive would have already agreed not to do their jobs. But as reported in Israel National News and Gateway Pundit, the Israeli ship arrived several hours later than scheduled, and as things turned out, it was so late that it would not have been unloaded until Monday morning anyway. So the protesters ended up most likely having little or no effect on its actual timetable. Instead, an unrelated Chinese ship at the same berth had its unloading delayed, because the same longshoremen who didn’t cross the “picket line” could not work on it either.

    It’s not known if the Zim ship’s late arrival was accidental or if it purposely idled a few hours off the coast to avoid a confrontation at the docks.

  6. 6Doctor Jeff on Jun 21, 2010 at 9:50 am:

    Official complaints should be put into the longshoreman’s union as I agree with Zombie this is an unrelated protest not a picket line. I think if the longshoremen are hit in the pocket book for stupidly supporting political protests they will look the other way and not carry out such ridiculous actions. The pro-Palestinian forces are getting much more sly and cunning in their ways. If most of these pro Palestinian protestesters had any clue about how harsh muslim based theocracies are on intellectuals, liberals, unions, etc, they would run the other way.

  7. 7Dane on Jun 21, 2010 at 12:03 pm:

    Doctor Jeff: If most of these pro Palestinian protestesters had any clue about how harsh muslim based theocracies are on intellectuals, liberals, unions, etc, they would run the other way.

    No they wouldn’t. Their love affair with Mao continued after he ended the Hundred Flowers campaign and started the giant purge that followed it.

    For whatever reason, lefties of this stripe seem attracted to groups that want nothing more than to kill them. They remind me of a moth that really, really wants to fly into a campfire.

  8. 8Hippo on Jun 21, 2010 at 12:16 pm:

    “Keep in mind that the Port of Oakland is not some minor, backwater city-owned port: it is in fact the fourth busiest port in the country…”

    Ummm… 45th. Not fourth. When the lazy union jackasses (who once went after school kids who wanted the state marine mammal to be the endangered right whale – which the container ships run over) here in Charleston do more work, Oakland is indeed podunk.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ports_in_the_United_States

  9. 9zombie on Jun 21, 2010 at 3:56 pm:

    Hippo: “Ummm… 45th. Not fourth.”

    Oakland is the fourth-largest CONTAINER port in the United States: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_of_Oakland

    The Port of Oakland was the first major port on the Pacific Coast of the United States to build terminals for container ships. It is now the fourth busiest container port in the United States

    Good catch — I have now amended the post to say “container port” not just “port.”

    The biggest ports overall, as your link shows, deal in massive volumes of grain and other commodities not in containers. Oakland is entirely containerized, and specializes in importing all the manufactured goods coming in from Asia.

    Thanks for noticing that.

  10. 10Fairfax on Jun 22, 2010 at 12:57 pm:

    I agree, that picket line is inaccurate; perhaps a protest line. Just a little further clarification:

    The Zim Shenzhen vessel was due to come in at 2 pm Sunday. However that was advanced to 5:30 am, which is not uncommon as it was only 24 hours away in Los Angeles.

    That is why the protest worked well. It prevented a morning and afternoon gangs from working the vessel (and the other China Shipping vessel docked at the terminal). They got there before the longshore workers did and blocked entrances to the parking lots.

    The port and Zim were well aware of the protest tactics, so rescheduled the vessel to arrive in the late afternoon, to hopefully work at night. However, the afternoon protest thwarted that idea, and the vessel worked Monday and has since departed.

    Also, when the protest line went up, the longshore labor were reluctant to cross it for safety reasons. An arbitrator between the PMA and ILWU was brought in and declared the longshore must go back to work if the Oakland Police Department could safely provide ingress/egress. The OPD said it could not (due to crowd size and lack of sufficient officers), so the longshore were not permitted to enter the facility.

    There is some history to this. Back in 2002, there was a violent anti-war protest at the Port, and the police went a little crazy and shot rubber bullets at innocent bystanders. Several longshore workers were injured.

    Finally, the Port of Oakland is actually ranked 5th in the U.S. for container (TEU) traffic, and 45th in world using the same measure. You are right, the above link with rankings is for short tons, which biases toward ports that ship a lot of bulk ore, metals, oils, and agricultural commodities. Oakland is purely a container port. A better ranking is this one:

    http://aapa.files.cms-

  11. 11richb on Jun 23, 2010 at 10:25 pm:

    Is the Port of Oakland open to the general public? If it is, that seems dumb in this day and age. So any old group can just walk in and block everyday operations of the port? Having people who have no business being inside the port seems more like a safety issue then anything else.

    It seems a simple thing to end this type of nonsense is to limit access to those with business in the port. If they want to protest whatever, they can do it outside the main gate.

  12. 12Fairfax on Jun 24, 2010 at 2:32 pm:

    The Port of Oakland has 8 terminals that are not open to the public. All port operations are behind secure access points. This is true for all U.S. ports and you need two ID cards to enter operating areas: a local port ID and a federally-issued TWIC card.

    However, certain terminals, like the one that hosted the Zim vessel, have open access parking lots with entrances from the public street. Workers park and then walk further inside the terminals to go through the manned security gates.

    The protesters were smart in that they blocked the access to the longshore parking lots so they couldn’t park and report to work without the cooperation of the Oakland Police Department to provide crowd breaks.

    They were also smart as they started at 5:30 am, well before the ship arrived. The longshore start reporting for work at 6 am, so it effectively shut down the terminal for a whole day.

  13. 13common-sense on Jun 25, 2010 at 9:00 am:

    well, being a former Local6 member, I can say this kind of shenanigans by the losers of the ILWU in cahoots with the commies and jihadis – will just make it all the easier to justify ships using the new port under construction SOUTH OF THE BORDER, thereby eliminating more Local6 jobs when it opens
    good work you union deadbeats (and to think, they used to be hard working thugs)
    thanks to Nafta the ships will offload in MX and truck or train to the US proper

  14. 14Julia on Jun 25, 2010 at 7:23 pm:

    At least the activists didn’t fire guns on the Israeli ship’s passengers, or board the ship illegally in international waters.

    Figures that nationalists have an amazing way of not even hearing about the crimes of their state, yet blow up the crimes of their state’s enemies at any chance they get…

  15. 15Dane on Jun 27, 2010 at 8:44 pm:

    Julia: At least the activists didn’t fire guns on the Israeli ship’s passengers, or board the ship illegally in international waters.Figures that nationalists have an amazing way of not even hearing about the crimes of their state, yet blow up the crimes of their state’s enemies at any chance they get…

    “And you are lynching Negroes” (Russian: А у вас негров линчуют; literally but at your place negroes are lynched) is a reference to a logical fallacy, whereby the validity of arguments in one area are placed under the dependence of arguments in another area.

  16. 16Dusty on Aug 28, 2010 at 8:22 am:

    In reality, organized labor was deeply embarrassed by what was done in their name, and sent this letter to the local Counsul General of Israel:

    Akiva Tor
    Consul General
    State of Israel
    456 Montgomery Street, Suite 2100
    San Francisco, CA 94104

    Dear Mr. Consul General

    I am writing you regarding the incident that took place on June 20, 2010, in which a group of anti-Israel demonstrators picketed at the Port of Oakland resulting in members of ILWU Local 10 not unloading a Zim container vessel based on an arbitrator’s determination that the picket line present a “health and safety” risk. The vessel was unloaded the next day.

    We want to make it perfectly clear to you and to the people of Israel that our union is fundamentally opposed to efforts to interfere with Israeli ships or cargoes and to the larger “boycott, divestment, and sanctions” effort being directed against Israel. We repudiate such tactics as antithetical to efforts to bring about real peace in the Middle East. We believe that the proper role of the US labor movement is to support efforts to bring about a just settlement that will enable Israel, the national homeland of the Jewish people, and a future Palestinian state to live side-by-side within safe and secure borders, free from war, terrorism, and in mutual respect and recognition.

    It is our understanding that anti-Israel resolutions supporting this activity were passed in the Alameda and San Francisco Labor Councils. We wish to assure you that our union was never consulted about these actions and we repudiate them.

    Moreover, we are very concerned that events such as occurred June 20 could result in the diversion of freight from the Port of Oakland to the Port of Los Angeles/Lon Beach or other ports along the Pacific Coast. We represent members who provide trucking and rail services for containerized shipping leaving the Port of Oakland and we do not believe that our members’ jobs should be placed in jeopardy because of the efforts of fringe groups to demonize Israel.

    We hope what occurred at Oakland will be a one-time event that will never be repeated. We will be urging our brothers and sisters to insure that this is the case.

    Marty Frates Secretary-Treasurer

    cc: James Hoffa, International President, IBT
    Rome Aloise, President, Teamsters Joint Council 7
    Randy Cammack, President, Teamsters Joint Council 42
    Art Pulaski, Exec. Secretary-Treasurer , CA Labor Federation, AFL-CIO
    Bob Balgenorth, President, CA State Building and Construction Trades Council
    Josie Camacho, Acting Exec. Secretary-Treasurer , Alameda Labor Council
    Tim Paulson, Executive Director, San Francisco Labor Council
    Bob McEllrath, International President, ILWU
    Richard Mead, President, ILWU Local 10
    Members, Executive Committee, Alameda Labor Council
    Members, Executive Committee, San Francisco Labor Council
    Omar Benjamin, Executive Director, Port of Oakland

  17. 17شات كتابي on Sep 27, 2010 at 11:02 am:

    your place negroes are lynched) is a reference to a logical fallacy, whereby the validity of arguments in one area are placed under the dependence of arguments in another area

  18. 18شات كتابي on Sep 27, 2010 at 11:52 am:

    Official complaints should be put into the longshoreman’s union as I agree with Zombie this is an unrelated protest not a picket line. I think if the longshoremen are hit in the pocket book for stupidly supporting political protests they will look the other way and not carry out such ridiculous actions. The pro-Palestinian forces are getting much more sly and cunning in their ways. If most of these pro Palestinian protestesters had any clue about how harsh muslim based theocracies are on intellectuals, liberals, unions, etc, they would run the other way.

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