STATEN ISLAND, NY – Pro-Palestinian protesters rallying against an Israel-based shipping company with an office in Staten Island gathered in Travis on Wednesday afternoon to disrupt what they said was support for overt oppression.
Activists from a collective of organizations, including Within Our Life, stood just outside the property that houses ZIM’s Integrated Shipping Services office, located at 1110 South Ave., and chanted during a just over an hour before driving a trailer destined for Brooklyn.
The protest is part of a larger movement preventing ZIM freighters from delivering goods to the United States.
“Our goal for today’s rally is to show our solidarity with workers around the world, especially in the Bay Area in California, who are protesting against the ZIM ship, who refuse to unload the ZIM ship and to allow it to be moored, in solidarity with the Palestinian people, ”said Nerdeen Kiswani, a native of Staten Island and organizer of the protest.
Protesters at the Port of Oakland in California last week prevented a ZIM container ship from unloading its cargo when longshoremen allegedly graced the protesters’ picket line and failed to unload the ship. Recent protests have taken place across North America, from Vancouver to New Jersey.
Kiswani said that ZIM “belongs to the Israeli government,” adding that the funds it receives “continue to help the government oppress the Palestinian people,” and activists said the company supports the activation of apartheid .
The company, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment, was previously owned by the Israeli government but has since been privatized, according to the company’s website and shareholder data.
The protesters did not enter the lot which included the ZIM office. Instead, around 150 people – according to an NYPD estimate – gathered on the sidewalk and in the right-hand 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, addressed the protesters at the rally and expressed 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 alongside our brothers and sisters who are oppressed in Palestine,” said Jovanny Guerrero, member of Shaolin Rising, a youth movement. “We want to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine. We want to end US imperialism. We want to end all imperialism.
“Imperialism only destabilizes, destroys and displaces all of our vulnerable communities,” Guerrero said.