#BlocktheBoat protest for Palestine at Port of NY/NJ

Activists march at the Port of New York/New Jersey, June 6. Photo: Suzanne Adely

Elizabeth, N.J., June 6 — On the heels of a historic victory in Oakland, Calif., where the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) sent apartheid-profiteering Zim Shipping’s ship, the Volans, back to sea without being unloaded, hundreds of protesters set up a militant picket line at the Maher Terminal’s employee entrance to encourage dockworkers not to unload the Zim Tarragona.

The action at the Maher Terminal was the first ever pro-Palestine protest held in the Port of New York/New Jersey. It was part of an International Week of Solidarity called for by AROC to “Block Zim Everywhere.”

In the days leading up to the action, organizers were met with harassment and attempts at intimidation by Port Authority police and private security personnel, when they were simply handing out flyers to the dockworkers. This was followed by attempts by police to silence and contain our action away from the gates of the terminal. New York and New Jersey community participants chose to defy the pressure from the police and security forces and marched their way to the terminal gate, facing down police in riot gear.

The #BlockTheBoat victory in Oakland, today’s New York-New Jersey mobilization, and similar mobilizations around the world, are an example of what powerful worker and international solidarity looks like. The #BlockTheBoat movement answered the call directly from Palestinian trade unions in Gaza asking workers across the world to refuse to handle Israeli goods, deal with Israeli businesses or handle Israeli cargo, in accord with the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) for Palestinian rights. 

Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. is Israel’s largest cargo shipping company, dealing in Israeli-manufactured military technology, armaments and logistics equipment, as well as consumer goods. The Zim Tarragona is one of the only remaining Zim-owned ships in the fleet. They’re required by the state of Israel to maintain it for national security purposes. It flies the apartheid Israeli flag.

This Wednesday, June 9, at 4 p.m. in Staten Island, Block the Boat will continue supporting the International Week of Solidarity with a protest outside the ZIM America offices at 1110 South Ave., Staten Island, NY 10314.