[News] So. African dock workers refuse to offload Israeli ship!!!

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Feb 3 15:05:30 EST 2009

COSATU, PSC: Free Palestine! Isolate Apartheid Israel!

Report by COSATU, PSC (South Africa)
Published: 03/02/09

COSATU and PSC launch Week of Action for Palestine supported by YCL 
and other progressive organisations

Media Conference, COSATU House, 3 February 2009, 11am

In a historic development for South Africa, South African dock 
workers have announced their determination not to offload a ship from 
Israel that is scheduled to dock in Durban on Sunday, 8 February 
2009. This follows the decision by COSATU to strengthen the campaign 
in South Africa for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against 
Apartheid Israel.

The pledge by SATAWU members in Durban reflects the commitment by 
South African workers to refuse to support oppression and 
exploitation across the globe. Last year, Durban dock workers had 
refused to offload a shipment of arms that had arrived from China and 
was destined for Zimbabwe to prop up the Mugabe regime and to 
intensify the repression against the Zimbabwean people. Now, says 
SATAWU's General Secretary Randall Howard, the union's members are 
committing themselves to not handling Israeli goods.

SATAWU's action on Sunday will be part of a proud history of worker 
resistance against apartheid. 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 the San 
Francisco Bay Area and, later, in Liverpool also refused to offload 
South African goods. South Africans, and the South African working 
class in particular, will remain forever grateful to those workers 
who determinedly opposed apartheid and decided that they would 
support the anti-apartheid struggle with their actions.

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 honour, 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.

COSATU, the Palestine Solidarity Committee, the Young Communist 
League and a range of other organisations salute the principled 
position taken by these workers. We also take this opportunity to 
salute 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.

We also welcome statements by various South African Jews of 
conscience who have dissociated themselves from the genocide in Gaza. 
We call on all South Africans to ensure that none of our family 
members are allowed to join the Israeli Occupation Forces' killing machine.

In celebration of the actions of SATAWU members with regard to the 
ship from Israel, and in pursuance of the campaign for boycotts, 
divestment and sanctions against Israel, and our call on the South 
African government to sever diplomatic and trade relations with 
Israel, this coalition of organisations has declared a week of action 
beginning on Friday, 6 February 2009. The actions will be organised 
that have already been confirmed for this week will include:
    * Friday, 6 February: A protest outside the offices of the South 
African Zionist Federation and the South African Jewish Board of 
Deputies, 2 Elray Street, Raedene, off Louis Botha Avenue. Both these 
organisations unquestioningly supported the recent Israeli attacks 
against Gaza, and supported the massacre of civilians and the attacks 
on schools, mosques, ambulances, and UN refugee centres. Protestors 
will be addressed by, among others, SATAWU General Secretary Randall 
Howard, and ex-Minister Ronnie Kasrils. Protest starts at 14:00.
    * Friday, 6 February: A picket outside parliament in Cape Town. 
COSATU members and solidarity activists will be joined by a number of 
members of parliament. Picket starts at 09:30.
    * Friday, 6 February: A mass rally in Actonville, Benoni, at the 
Buzme Adab Hall. The rally will be addressed by, among others, COSATU 
General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, PSC spokesperson Salim Vally, 
South African Council of Churches General Secretary Eddie Makue, and 
ex-Minister Ronnie Kasrils. Rally starts at 19:30.
    * Sunday, 8 February: A protest at the Durban Harbour Mouth, off 
Victoria Embankment [Margaret Mncadi Avenue]. Protestors will be 
addressed by, among others, COSATU President Sdumo Dlamini. Protest 
starts at 10:00.
    * Sunday 8 February: A mass rally in Cape Town at Vygieskraal 
Rugby Stadium. The rally will be addressed by, among others, COSATU 
General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, and Allan Boesak. Rally starts at 14:30.

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