The Israeli container ship ZIM Volans was prevented from docking Monday at the port in Prince Rupert, BC, after a small group of pro-Palestinian activists blocked an entrance to the Fairview container terminal.
The ship, owned by Israeli shipping company Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd., was forced to leave the port in Oakland, California, after International Longshore and Warehouse Workers Union local 10 members supported pro-Palestinian activists and refused to cross the picket line. The Volans remained anchored in Prince Rupert's harbour most of Sunday.
The activists, responded to a call from labor unions in the West Bank and Gaza, and joined with extremist groups in a call to action by the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC).
Groups like the AROC who are working to stop the ship are part of the antisemitic Boycott, Divest, Sanction movement which is committed to stopping the production, sale and transportation of goods from the Jewish state.
ZIM is a member of the 2M Alliance, one of the world’s largest shipping organizations. The company transports products from many different countries all over the globe.
Studies have shownthat the BDS movement has little to no effect on Israel but rather, adversely affects retailers in other countries that are attempting to sell the products, as well as Palestinians who work for Israeli companies.
One example is a plant for SodaStream, which used to be in the West Bank industrial zone of Mishor Adumim, where the Israeli carbonated beverage company employed 1,300 workers. According to The Times of Israel, of that workforce, 350 were Israeli Jews, 450 were Israeli Arabs and 500 were West Bank Palestinians. Pay and benefits were identical for workers in comparable jobs, irrespective of their citizenship and ethnicity.
In October 2015, following pressure from the BDS movement, which launched a vicious campaign against SodaStream and spokeswoman Scarlett Johansson who is Jewish, the company closed the plant and caused 75 Palestinians to be laid off.
A port spokesman in Oakland, Robert Bernardo, said in a statement that port officials support free speech as well as the right for people to assemble peacefully but added, "federal policy dictates that international commerce cannot be stopped. This means that groups can protest, but they cannot disrupt commerce. The port has been engaged with our public safety partners to maintain safety and security while ensuring the timely flow of commerce at the Oakland Seaport."
According to Bernardo, 84,000 jobs are provided by the harbor and affiliated trucking companies and blocking commerce at the port will jeopardize local jobs. "Many Port truck drivers only get paid if they pick up and drop off containers. If they get blocked from going in and out, they won’t get paid. This will impact their livelihood and their families."
For over 10 days the ZIM San Diego, remained moored near Seattle after Antifa-backed, anti-Israel groups threatened to block the ship from unloading. The ship has now docked in port, but is still awaiting union workers to begin unloading the vessel.
Workers arriving at the port were heckled, and in some cases, attacked. A female security guard trying to enter the Port of Seattle Saturday to get to work, was reportedly mobbed by a group of anti-Israel protesters. Her rear window was smashed and her was car dented.