US activists plan to block Israeli cargo ship at New York dock

US activists plan to block Israeli cargo ship at New York dock
Thousands of US activists in New York are planning to to block Zim Qingdao, an Israeli cargo ship, from unloading as part of the worldwide #BlockTheBoat campaign.
3 min read
25 July, 2021
Solidarity activists are campaigning as part of the BDS movement [Getty]

Thousands of US activists in New York City and New Jersey are planning to block an Israeli-operated cargo ship from docking at the Port of New York on Sunday morning in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Activists seek to stop the ZIM Qingdao cargo ship, which is operated by the Israeli international shipping company ZIM, from unloading. It is expected to arrive at 6 a.m. EST at the Maher Terminal in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

This action comes after the cargo ship was blocked from docking at Oakland, California and was forced back to sea in June.

"On the heels of a historic victory in Oakland, CA, where the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) sent apartheid-profiteering Zim shipping’s ship, the Volans, back to sea without being unloaded, hundreds of protestors set up a militant picket line at the Maher Terminal’s employee entrance to encourage dockworkers not to unload the Zim Tarragona", the organisers said in a press release.

"The action at the Maher Terminal was the first ever pro-Palestine protest held in the Port of New York/New Jersey. It was part of an International Week of Solidarity called for by AROC to Block Zim everywhere."

The press release added that #BlockTheBoat is now part of a global movement, with over 8,000 people worldwide pledging to mobilise at different ports around the world.

The non-violent BDS movement says it is inspired by the campaign that targeted South Africa's apartheid regime and is seeking an end to Israel's brutal occupation of the West Bank.

Israel sees BDS as a strategic threat and accuses it of anti-Semitism – a claim activists firmly deny, calling it an attempt to discredit them.

But the movement, which adheres to peaceful resistance, aims to pressure Israel to respect international law and human rights by lobbying various states, institutions and personas to understand its oppression of Palestinians and take action as a result.

BDS operates by pressuring corporations, artists and academic institutions to sever ties with Israel with supporters saying activities are aimed at promoting a Palestinian statehood.

Israeli officials have recently clamped down on individuals and groups seen as supporting BDS

A law was introduced by Israel in March 2017 barring access to the country for individuals and groups who have previously expressed support of the BDS movement. This includes those who want to enter Palestinian territories, as they must also pass through Israeli border controls.

The BDS movement is seen by many activists as one of the few remaining avenues of effective non-violent resistance to the brutal and persistent Israeli occupation.