Activists from throughout the Lower Mainland will gather early Tuesday morning at Deltaport for an information picket targeting a major Israeli shipping company, Zim. The action is in solidarity with the aid flotilla to Gaza, which included a Canadian Boat and which has been prevented from sailing to the occupied and blockaded Palestinian territory.
The protest will take place Tuesday, July 19, 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m., Deltaport. Returning delegates from the Canadian Boat to Gaza, the Tahrir, will be among the participants in the picket Tuesday morning. The Tahrir was stopped from sailing to Gaza by the Greek coast guard.
“The Israeli government attacked our humanitarian flotilla with sabotage, threats of violence, and a great deal of political and economic pressure — that’s ultimately why the Greek government shamefully agreed to enforce the Israeli blockade,” said Irene MacInnes, a Vancouver member of the Canadian Boat to Gaza (CBG) who was among more than 30 Canadians on board the Tahrir.
“Our Canadian Boat and the Freedom Flotilla aimed to highlight the impact of the blockade of Gaza,” added MacInnes. “While Gazans cannot travel or ship exports by sea, massive Israeli companies like ZIM are able to freely do business around the world despite their connection to the unjust policies that bring so much suffering to Palestinians.”
Zim is by far the biggest Israeli shipping company, and one of the 10 largest in the world, with 60 weekly services to 180 ports worldwide, including Deltaport. This year’s Freedom Flotilla was a follow up to a similar effort in May 2010, when Israeli armed forces raided a Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara, killing nine activists.
Following last year’s massacre, a number of Palestinian labour organizations issued a call for international solidarity: “During the South African anti-apartheid struggle, the world was inspired by the brave and principled actions of dockworkers unions who refused to handle South African cargo… Today, we call on you, dockworkers unions of the world, to do the same against Israel’s occupation and apartheid. This is the most effective form of solidarity to end injustice and uphold universal human rights.” Dockworkers in the U.S., Sweden, Turkey, India and South Africa have responded with support actions.
“We are calling for a boycott of Zim because Palestinian civil society has asked people of conscience to target Israeli shipping in the wake of the Israel’s illegal sea blockade of Gaza and its vicious and violent attacks on the humanitarian ships trying to connect Palestinians to the outside world,” said Gordon Murray, a member of the Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign (BIAC).
“By flotilla and boycott and many other means, the global movement to dismantle Israeli apartheid is growing,” said Murray.
A lone French flagged boat, the Dignity, from the Freedom Flotilla managed to get out of Greek territorial waters and is currently sailing towards Gaza. One delegate from the Canadian Boat to Gaza, Stephan Corriveau, is on board the Dignity, and he reports that they are aiming to reach the shores of Gaza on Tuesday. The Israeli navy has threatened to intercept any ships from the flotilla attempting to reach Gaza.