South African dock workers refuse to unload Israeli cargo

February 6th, 2009 | Posted in Boycott, Palestine
    Ma’an News Agency, February 2009.

    Photo: Open skies over docks in South Africa.

South African dock workers announced their refusal to offload cargo from a ship carrying goods from Israel scheduled to arrive in Durban on Sunday.

It follows the decision by dock workers there to strengthen the campaign in South Africa for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against “apartheid” Israel, a statement said.

The pledge by union members in Durban “reflects the commitment by South African workers to refuse to support oppression and exploitation across the globe,” the workers said.

Last year, Durban dock workers refused to offload a shipment of arms that had arrived from China and was destined for Zimbabwe to prop up the Mugabe regime. Now, the union’s members are committing themselves to not handling Israeli goods, according to General Secretary Randall Howard.

In 1963, just four years after the Anti-Apartheid Movement was formed, Danish dock workers refused to offload a ship with South African goods. When the ship docked in Sweden, Swedish workers followed suit.

Dock workers in Liverpool and, later, in the San Francisco Bay Area also refused to offload South African goods.

Last week, western Australian members of the Maritime Union of Australia resolved to support the campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel, and have called for a boycott of all Israeli vessels and all vessels bearing goods arriving from or going to Israel.

“This is the legacy and the tradition that South African dock workers have inherited, and it is a legacy they are determined to honor,” the statement said, “by ensuring that South African ports of entry will not be used as transit points for goods bound for or emanating from certain dictatorial and oppressive states such as Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Israel.”

The union added that it applauds “the millions of workers all over the world who have openly condemned and taken decisive steps to isolate apartheid Israel, a step that should send shockwaves to its arrogant patrons in the United States who foot the bill for Israel’s killing machine.”

“We call on other workers and unions to follow suit and to do all that is necessary to ensure that they boycott all goods to and from Israel until Palestine is free,” the union said.

The group also welcomed statements by various South African Jews of conscience “who have dissociated themselves from the genocide in Gaza.”

1 Comment »

Many thanks to all our brothers and sisters in south africa, your resistance against apartheid in south africa have inspired us and we appreciate your solidarity and support in fighting the israeli apartheid state in Palestine….I hope that all workers of the world unite and boycott isreal until Palestine is free.

Comment by Nidal Ahmar — February 6th, 2009 @ 6:19 PM

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