California Dock Workers Struggle Against Class Collaboration

Transport Workers Solidarity Committee’s Response to ILWU International’s Statements on ZIM Protests
Recent ILWU press releases and public statements are misleading and conflict with well-established ILWU policies and positions on Palestine and Israel. The editor of the ILWU newspaper, The Dispatcher, at the direction of the ILWU President, can not overturn those policies and positions without a vote by Convention delegates.

The Israeli Consulate’s statement that the ZIM Pireaus sailed from the port of Oakland on August 20 after completing cargo operations is untrue. But for the ILWU Communications Director, Craig Merrilees, to make that same statement, reaffirming the Zionist’s self-serving distortion places the ILWU on the side of those responsible for the recent slaughter of over 2,100 Palestinians, most of them innocent Gazan civilians. The false statement implies that the 5-days of picketing by thousands of protesters had no impact on cargo operations. The original call for a mass protest on August 16 and 17, mobilizing a few thousand was made by a coalition, Block the Boat, initiated by the Arab Research and Organizing Committee. However, subsequent picketing on August 18, 19 and 20 that stopped the ship’s cargo operations was done spontaneously by a smaller group of Bay Area activists, including the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee.

The truth is that after failing to gets its cargo worked at the SSA terminal, ZIM Lines tried to fool protesters that the ship was sailing to Russia, but longshoremen knew otherwise. The ship departed August 19, headed out the Golden Gate at night then abruptly reversed course, made a Williamson turn and headed back to the Port of Oakland, this time to Berth 22. Ports America, the employer, tried to shift longshore workers from another ship to work the ZIM Pireaus but there already was a picket line at the terminal gate. Some ILWU Local 10 members refused to work the ship. Those that reluctantly worked it, despite pressure from the employer and union officials, rebelled by slowing down cargo ops to a crawl. One crane operator boasted that barely 1% of containers was actually moved before the ZIM ship was forced to sail. Continue reading

The Zionist Threat to “Take Alice Walker Out”

“Alice Walker’s New Book Makes Her the Zionists’ Target”Smearing Alice Walker
by JEFFREY BLANKFORT, in CounterPunch, June 26, 2013
Alice Walker

Alice Walker

In the comments section of a recent online article in the right wing New York Jewish publication, Algemeiner, not to be confused with the Frankfurter Allgemeine but conceivably with Der Sturmer, there was an argument over whether or not the “Mossad should deal with” Alice Walker as punishment for the critical comments directed towards Israel and American Jewish supporters of Israel in her latest book, “The Cushion in the Road” which, we can assume, none of those commenting had read.

All it took to set off the threat and a stream of racist venom against the 69 year African-American author was an inflammatory headline in Algemeiner’s June 19th edition:“ADL Blasts Anti-Israel Author Walker: ‘She is ‘unabashedly infected with Anti-Semitism’” followed by an article in the same vein.

As could be anticipated from the headline, the story featured a statement by Anti-Defamation League director, Abe Foxman:

“Alice Walker has sunk to new lows with essays that remove the gloss of her anti-Israel activism to reveal someone who is unabashedly infected with anti-Semitism.

“She has taken her extreme and hostile views to a shocking new level, revealing the depth of her hatred of Jews and Israel to a degree that we have not witnessed before.  Her descriptions of the conflict are so grossly inaccurate and biased that it seems Walker wants the uninformed reader to come away sharing her hate-filled conclusions that Israel is committing the greatest atrocity in the history of the world.”

According to an ADL press release, Walker’s book “devotes 80 pages to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, often making comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany, denigrating Judaism and Jews, and suggesting that Israel should cease to exist as a Jewish state.”

To make the point, the ADL includes four examples. Let’s look at one of them:

“Walker analogizes the Palestinians’ situation with the civil rights era and discrimination against Blacks in the American South.  She writes: ‘It is because I recognize the brutality with which my own multibranched ancestors have been treated that I can identify the despicable, lawless, cruel, and sadistic behavior that has characterized Israel’s attempts to erase a people, the Palestinians, from their own land.’”

In case the inner racists of its readers hadn’t been stirred up enough by Foxman’s rant, the Algemeiner reporter added that “Walker has a history of making extreme anti-Israel statements. In June 2012 she refused to allow an Israeli company to publish a Hebrew edition of her novel, ‘The Color Purple.’ Most recently, Walker wrote a letter calling on the singer-songwriter Alicia Keys to cancel her upcoming July 4th concert appearance in Tel Aviv.”

“In her book,” the article concludes, “Walker accuses Israel of ‘genocide,’ ‘ethnic cleansing,’ ‘crimes against humanity,’ and ‘cruelty and diabolical torture.’” In so doing, it should be noted, she is simply observing the same phenomena that a number of dissident Israelis have previously noted. Continue reading

Yet another toothless UN condemnation of Israeli crimes?

[Israel would not allow the UN team to conduct inquiries or take testimony in Israel, and has already dismissed this report, the latest of countless UN declarations, resolutions and findings of Israeli violations of international law.  Israeli impunity serves only to rubbish the credibility of the UN as a force for justice, and clarifies once again the need for people to press forward their direct, uncompromising struggle for Palestinian liberation against the always-expanding settler-colonial crimes of ethnic cleansing, Israeli apartheid, and brutal displacement. — Frontlines ed.]

Independent UN inquiry urges halt to Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory

[Photo:  Members of the Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli Settlements from left: Unity Dow, Christine Chanet, Chairperson and Asma Jahangir hold press conference. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré]

United Nations News Centre, 31 January 2013 – An independent inquiry mandated by the United Nations has called on Israel to halt all settlement activity and to ensure accountability for the violations of the human rights of the Palestinians resulting from the settlements.

The report of the International Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) states that a multitude of the human rights of the Palestinians are violated in various forms and ways due to the existence of the settlements.

“These violations are all interrelated, forming part of an overall pattern of breaches that are characterized principally by the denial of the right to self-determination and systemic discrimination against the Palestinian people which occur on a daily basis,” said a news release on the report.

The UN Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, dispatched the Mission in March 2012 “to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”

Since 1967, the Mission’s report notes, Israeli governments have openly led, directly participated in, and had full control of the planning, construction, development, consolidation and encouragement of settlements. Continue reading

The campaign to boycott apartheid’s sports teams — then (South African) and now (Israeli)

Israel Dropped the Ball on Human Rights, but We Won’t!

by Anna Baltzer, National Organizer, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

October 18th, 2012

Israel Dropped the Ball on Human RightsLast week, more than 100 organizations worldwide — including dozens of US Campaign coalition members — signed onto a letter of support for the first Israeli sports team boycott campaign in the United States, organized by member group Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign (MN BBC). The Israeli basketball team Maccabi-Haifa has been in the United States playing U.S. teams including the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“Stop Playin’ with Apartheid”

When the Timberwolves refused to cancel their game with the Maccabi, almost two dozen activists protested inside the stadium calling on the team to “Stop Playing with Apartheid!” The protestors were ejected from the game for “disruptive and inappropriate messages” (meanwhile, counter-protestors waving Israeli flags were allowed to stay). According to a press release on the MN BBC website, a legal observer and civil rights attorney was assaulted and temporarily arrested by local security and police.

A boycott of Apartheid South Africa’s sports teams proved to be a particularly effective tool in the struggle to end oppression there. At the time, South African teams that had not taken a public stance against apartheid would not be invited by any self-respecting tournament or venue. It should be no different with Apartheid Israel today.

In the same way that South African teams were, almost all Israeli sports teams are cynically used as ambassadors of an apartheid state. Additionally, Maccabi is sponsored by Ya’akov Shahar, chairman of Mayer’s Cars and Trucks Ltd., the official importer to Israel of Volvo. Both companies are heavily involved in the Israeli occupation, as documented by Who Profits?, an Israeli research project. Israeli sports teams like Maccabi are also notorious for racism and racial discrimination against Palestinians.

As the activists in Minnesota stated: “Love Basketball; Hate Apartheid.”

The Palestinian call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) first made its way into U.S. basketball discourse when the US Campaign learned that legendary player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar canceled participation in an Israeli film festival following Israel’s killing of twelve unarmed Palestinian refugees attempting to exercise their internationally-recognized right of return.

It’s time to slam dunk Israeli Apartheid!

For more information on this and related campaigns, see:  http://endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=3293

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For background on the international boycott of South African apartheid’s sports, see this video documentary clip, and the articles which follow: Continue reading

UK: The Campaign to Boycott the Companies that Support Apartheid Israel

The companies that are being boycotted are listed and detailed at http://www.inminds.com/boycott-brands.html

The UK campaign distributes these “Boycott Cards” to remind supporters of Palestine and opponents of Apartheid Israel:

The BLM and BDS: Lessons and Applications for the Palestinian Liberation Movement

The Black Liberation Movement and Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions: Lessons and Applications for the Palestinian Liberation Movement

By Kali Akuno

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions or BDS movement, launched in 2005 to uproot the zionist settler-colonial project and dismantle the Israeli apartheid state following the various setbacks to the Palestinian liberation movement stemming from the Oslo accords, is rapidly growing into a powerful international political force. As the movement continues to grow and expand it is bound to encounter more obstacles and roadblocks. One way to defeat these limitations is to study and learn how other peoples’ movements that have employed BDS strategies and tactics on an extensive level organized themselves to overcome or maneuver around the roadblocks on their path. One such movement is the Black Liberation Movement (BLM) in North America. The BLM has employed BDS strategies and tactics extensively for the greater part of the last 200 plus years in its unfinished question for liberation. What follows is a brief summary of the BLM’s experience and a short exploration of some of the lessons learned from this extensive experience. Continue reading

Jewish-American activist: Why I disrupted Netanyahu’s speech to Congress

Why did I disrupt?

by Rae Abileah on May 26, 2011

Do you know that our Congress gave 29 standing ovations to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he spoke in the Capital on Tuesday, May 24? I couldn’t watch this hero’s welcome for a man who supports the continued building of illegal settlements, won’t lift the siege of Gaza, and refuses to negotiate with the new Palestinian unity government. During the talk, when Netanyahu was praising young people rising up for democracy in the Middle East, and I took my cue to stand up from my seat in the Capitol Gallery, unfurl a banner, and shout, “No More Occupation! Stop Israeli War Crimes! Equal Rights for Palestinians!”
Immediately, I was tackled, gagged and violently shoved to the floor by other members of the audience, many of whom were still wearing their badges from the AIPAC conference this past weekend. Police dragged me out of the Capitol gallery, and an ambulance whisked me to the hospital, where I was treated for neck and shoulder injuries and put under arrest for disrupting Congress. After I disrupted, Netanyahu said to his Congressional audience, “You can’t have these protests in Tehran; this is real democracy.”

Is it? What kind of a democracy do we live in when free speech is met with brutality and arrest? Continue reading