Pro-Palestinian protesters rallying against an Israeli-based shipping company with an office on Staten Island gathered in Travis Wednesday afternoon to disrupt what they said is support of overt oppression.
Activists from a collective of organizations, including Within Our lifetime, stood just outside the property that holds the ZIM Integrated Shipping Services office, located at 1110 South Ave., and chanted for just over an hour before conducting a car caravan slated to reach Brooklyn.
The protest is part of a larger movement blocking ZIM cargo ships from delivering goods in the United States.
“Our goal for the rally today is to show solidarity with workers around the world, especially in the Bay area in California, who are protesting the ZIM ship, who are refusing to unload the ZIM ship and refusing to allow it to be docked, in solidarity with the Palestinian people,” said Nerdeen Kiswani, a native Staten Islander and organizer of the protest.
Last week, protesters at the Port of Oakland in California stopped a ZIM container ship from unloading its cargo when the longshoremen reportedly honored the protesters’ picket line and did not unload the ship. Recent protests have been held across North America, spanning from Vancouver to New Jersey.
Kiswani said ZIM is “owned by the Israeli government,” adding that the funds it receives “continue to assist the government in oppressing the Palestinian people,” and activists have said the company supports the enablement of apartheid.
The company, which did not immediately respond for a request to comment, was previously owned by the Israeli government but has since been privatized, according to the company’s website and shareholder data.
Protesters did not enter the lot that included the ZIM office. Instead, around 150 people — according to an NYPD estimate — gathered on the sidewalk and in the right lane of South Avenue waving the flag of Palestine and shouting chants, including, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, an anti-Zionist activist, alongside other Orthodox Jews, spoke to the protesters at the rally and voiced Jewish support for the movement, saying, “Never confuse the issue of Zionism with Judaism.”
Passing motorists, including vehicles decorated with Palestinian flags, honked their horns in approval throughout the 90-minute rally.
“We want to emphasize that we stand with our brothers and sisters who are being oppressed in Palestine,” said Jovanny Guerrero, a member of Shaolin Rising, a youth movement. “We want to end the Israel occupation of Palestine. We want to end American imperialism. We want to end all imperialism.”
“Imperialism does nothing but destabilizes, destroys and displaces all our vulnerable communities,” said Guerrero.
Source: This news first appeared in Silive.