Free Palestine Movement
Protestors block Zim ship in Oakland, California, August 2014
You may have heard that the Zim shipping line has decided to discontinue sending its ships to California ports in the US. This is a major victory, but also a tactical retreat for Zim and the government of Israel. They appear to be terrified that ports around the world might block Israeli ships. Demonstrations and successful actions fuel the movement, and Israel may have decided that if there are no Israeli ships to picket, the news media will show little interest.
Perhaps, but that is why the Free Palestine Movement and other groups are working to encourage and develop pickets at other ports around the world. Zim lost millions of dollars and several clients as a result of the actions in the US. Shipping clients expect their cargo to be delivered on schedule, and the Oakland disruptions alone resulted in delays of weeks or months as well as extra shipping costs on non-Zim carriers. If a few more ports around the world can accomplish the same results, Zim will suffer greatly, and possibly mortally. Bringing down the giant Zim shipping line would be a major victory for the picket organizers, and might lead to similar actions against other Israeli interests.
On 1-3 December, Beirut, Lebanon will host an international meeting of the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine. The Free Palestine Movement will be one of dozens of organizations from as many countries to be represented. Our contribution will be a proposal for global actions to stop Israeli ships at ports around the world and to convene an international labor conference on Palestine in 2015. The proposal will occupy a major part of the conference, which will also address the brutal Israeli siege of Gaza, the threats against the Palestinian community in Jerusalem and its Muslim and Christian holy places, as well as other topics.
Co-founder Paul Larudee will represent FPM at the conference and will report on the results after his return. We hope that other groups that are pursuing similar objectives in other places will also share such information, so that we do not miss this opportunity to give Israel a small taste of what it means to suffer a blockade of its ships, as it has done to Gaza for the last 47 years.