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

Open Letter from Gaza: Three Years after the Massacre, Justice or Nothing!

Tuesday, 27th December, 2011

We, Palestinians of Gaza, 3 years on from the 22-day long massacre in Israel’s operation ‘Cast Lead’, are calling on international civil society to make 2012 the year when solidarity with us in Palestine captures the spark of the revolutions around the Arab world and never looks back. On this anniversary we demand an international liberation movement that eventually leads to just that, liberation for us Palestinians from 63 years of brutal military occupation and ethnic cleansing that pours shame on any organisation or government claiming to endorse universal human rights.

We will never forget the hurt of 3 years ago, the criminal onslaught that we lived through, the blood of over 1400 murdered men, women and hundreds of children running through the streets of Gaza, between the rubble, soaking our beds and etched on our minds. We will never forget. For they are still dead, and thousands more are still maimed. [1]

  We will never forget the last 63 years during which our land, homes, olive groves, lemon trees and cherished way of life was taken away from us, while Israeli soldiers held our fathers’ faces in the sands, imprisoned them, or shot them in front of us. We will not forget the sickening cowardice of the international community that has allowed and enabled this ethnic cleansing of our people, subjecting us to Israel’s racist Zionist vision that defines us, the indigenous people of Palestine, as the undesired ‘ethnic group’ for the region.

The US continues to ‘reward’ Israel with 6 billion dollars of tax-payers money while the EU increases its trade and diplomatic relations. For the Israeli apartheid regime this translates as the green light to unleash the 4th most powerful military on us to ‘do its worst’ against our civilian population, of which over half in Gaza are children and over 2 thirds are UN registered refugees.

Continue reading

Israel Shaken by boats of non-violent human rights activists with medical supplies

[After weeks of making threats on the flotilla, including Israeli military planning with simulated attacks on yachts, and lining up US and other government’s support for a murderous assault, Israel has now successfully bribed the bankrupt Greek government to stop the boats from leaving Greek waters.  Once again, international condemnation of the illegal Israeli occupation and blockade of Gaza, is drawing international attention and broad condemnation. — Frontlines ed.]

Greece bars vessels carrying several hundred activists from leaving Greek ports for Gaza Strip

Greece on Friday banned ships heading to the Gaza Strip from leaving Greek ports, and a vessel carrying several dozen Americans which left port without permission was asked to return.

A diver prepares to inspect the Stefano Chiarini, part of the Freedom Flotilla II, which is due to set sail to Gaza from Greece Photo: REUTERS

The Telegraph (UK), July 1, 2011

A flotilla of nine Greek and foreign-flagged vessels and several hundred activists have said they want to break Israel’s sea blockade and deliver aid to the Palestinian territory.

Greece’s Civil Protection Ministry said coast guard authorities had been ordered to take “all appropriate measures” to implement the ban.

It also said the “broader maritime area of the eastern Mediterranean will be continuously monitored by electronic means for tracking, where applicable, the movements of the ships allegedly participating” in the flotilla.

Witnesses said one of the boats, called the Audacity of Hope and carrying several dozen Americans, had left port on Friday afternoon. Activists said on their Twitter feed that they had been intercepted by the Greek coast guard. Continue reading

The Palestine Papers, Israel and Britain

A conspiracy of vultures to displace and deceive

By Gilad Atzmon
28 January 2011

Gilad Atzmon argues that more than anything, the leaked Palestine Papers show that Israel is not in the slightest bit interested in peace, and they demonstrate British deceitfulness and hypocrisy.

I have a rule: I never intervene in Palestinian political matters. I never comment on Palestinian internal debates. I do not think that I have the right to do so. I am an ex-Israeli and an ex-Jew, and I write about Israel, Jewish identity politics and Zionism.

For me, the leaked Palestine Papers provide us with a valuable glimpse into Israeli politics and Western complicity in the crimes carried out against the Palestinian people. I realize that most Palestinian commentators agree that the leaked papers have “damaged whatever little credibility the Ramallah-based authority still enjoyed among Palestinians”. Yet, more than anything else, the Papers prove beyond doubt that Israel is not a partner for peace. In spite of the weaknesses that have been shown by the Palestinian Authority   (PA) since the 1990s, Israel has failed to secure a peace deal, and has consistently failed to show any will to bring the conflict to an end. In short, Israel has always wanted more. Continue reading