Zim cargo ship.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Zionist Organization of America has written a letter to Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent to protest against the repeated blocking of Israeli vessels by pro-Palestinian protesters in the California port city.
“We were alerted to a serious and recurring problem in Oakland, which your department should be addressing: Anti-Semitic protesters have been blocking vessels owned by Zim Integrated Shipping Ltd., an Israel-based shipping company, from docking at the Port of Oakland, and preventing dockworkers from unloading the cargo,” ZOA president Morton Klein wrote in the letter. “This problem occurred for several days in August and it occurred again last week.”
A representative of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union, whose dockworkers were dispatched to unload the Zim ship that tried unsuccessfully to dock in Oakland last Saturday, said some 200 protesters physically threatened the dockworkers and physically blocked their personal vehicles.
The dockworkers felt unsafe and did not unload the ship.
Approximately 50 police officers were on hand but did not intervene.
A statement issued by the union confirmed what was reported to the ZOA, noting that “hostile demonstrators...
effectively block[ed] all access to the terminal,” and that when dockworkers tried to report to work they were “threatened physically... and their personal vehicles were physically blocked.”
“There was ‘a heavy police presence at the scene,’ according to a news report about last Saturday’s protest,” the letter continued. “Why didn’t the police intervene and ensure that the Zim ship could unload its cargo? Why didn’t the police intervene and ensure that the dockworkers could carry out their jobs without fearing for their personal safety? “Why didn’t the police intervene and ensure that international commerce could proceed unimpeded? Why didn’t the police arrest the protesters, who may well have violated the law by physically threatening dockworkers, physically blocking personal vehicles, and preventing the ship from docking and unloading as authorized?” The Zim Shanghai instead docked in Los Angeles on Tuesday to unload its cargo.
In August, demonstrators prevented the Zim Piraeus from unloading at the Oakland Port for five days in order to draw attention to Israel’s operation in Gaza. The Piraeus feigned a return to sea before doubling back secretly to port.JTA contributed to this report.