Block the weapons to the Zionist state

Yossi Schwartz ISL (RCIT section in Israel/Occupied Palestine), 24.02.2024

The Zionist Foreign Minister Israel Katz in a letter on Thursday addressed to the UNSC wrote that Iran has accelerated its shipments of weapons to Hezbollah through Syria since the war in Gaza began. He also threatened a war against Iran saying that Israel has an “inherent right…to defend its territory and its citizens.”

What a hypocrite Israel that is receiving weapons and ammunition from Western imperialism and in particular from American imperialism for the genocide of the Palestinians is complaining about Iran that send weapons to Hezbollah used to help the Palestinians who are murdered by Israel.

We need to stop the transfer of weapons to Israel . Our brothers and sisters in the trade unions in the USA, Britain, the EU and other countries can do it. However, while some trade unions act against the Zionist apartheid genocide, some only pass resolutions and there are unions that are control by class collaboration bureaucracy that must be removed.

“Last October 18, the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) issued an urgent appeal notably “calling on trade unions in relevant industries: 1) To refuse to build weapons destined for Israel. 2) To refuse to transport weapons to Israel. 3) To pass motions in their trade union to this effect,” as well as to take action against companies complicit with the Israeli siege, to pressure governments to stop military trade with Israel “and, in the case of the U.S., stop funding it.” In response, on October 30, five Belgian transport unions issued a joint statement saying they were refusing to load or unload arms shipments heading to the war zone. And on November 6, the Barcelona dock workers’ union announced it would “not permit activity in our port of ships containing war materiel,” while calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

In Britain, Canada and elsewhere unions have passed motions and there have been protests outside Israeli companies, notably the “defense” contractor Elbit. In Italy, rank-and-file dock unions in Genoa and other ports actually stopped operations with Israeli ships and held a national one-day strike against the war on Gaza on November 17 that shut down hundreds of warehouses in logistics hubs. In Sydney, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) joined protests against Israeli ZIM Lines ships and has called for an immediate ceasefire. In January, the 20-million-member International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) issued a statement, “Global Unions Call for Unified Action Following IJC Ruling on Gaza Genocide Case.”

In the United States, beginning in October the United Electrical Workers (UE) circulated a petition to other unions with demands for a ceasefire and restoration of food, fuel, water and electricity to Gaza, demands that were taken up by the United Auto Workers (UAW), American Postal Workers Union (APWU), National Nurses Union (NNU), Service Employees (SEIU), Painters (IUPAT), Flight Attendants (AFA) and even the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and National Education Association (NEA).

As for the national AFL-CIO, after first quashing a ceasefire call by a local labor council in Washington State last October, on February 8 it issued a statement that begins by “condemn[ing] the attacks by Hamas,” does not oppose the Israeli assault on Gaza, and calls for the release of Israeli hostages held in Gaza but not for freeing the more than 8,000 Palestinians held hostage in Israeli prisons. In short, this is a pro-war statement – but what else can you expect from the outfit whose international “labor” operations in conjunction with U.S. intelligence agencies earned it the nickname “AFL-CIA” in much of the world?

What About the ILWU?

While hundreds of Palestinian civilians are wantonly slaughtered by the mass-murdering IDF occupation forces every day, while the specter and reality of this genocidal war horrifies millions around the world, what has come from the titled officers of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) has been a thundering silence. This is no accident. It goes hand-in-hand with the action (and inaction) on union matters by the ILWU International leadership under Bob McEllrath (2006 to 2016) and currently Willie Adams. The common denominator is class collaboration. Where McEllrath focused on cooperation with the shippers’ Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), Adams has set his sights higher, seeking a seat at the White House table, literally, and dock jobs threatened by automation or Palestinians facing genocide be damned” [1]

“Around the world, trade unions and workers are refusing to participate in the production and transportation of arms intended for Israel. Particularly notable are the actions of port workers’ unions, who have demonstrated in line with their tradition that the struggle for workers’ rights is inseparable from the fight for human rights, equality, and freedom” [2]

Globally, unions have responded. Workers in the port of Naples refused to handle shipments of arms destined for Israel. In early November, a joint statement was released by port and transport workers associated with Unione Sindacale di Base (USB) in Italy, the Nakliyat Is Union in Turkey, and several maritime unions in Greece. They urged their governments to halt the transfer of weapons from domestic ports and to withdraw support from the Israeli government. In their statement, they said, “We cannot tolerate the loading and unloading operations of ships, planes, etc., carrying weapons into the conflict or providing logistical services to it, to help feed a system that slaughters thousands of innocent people, especially women and children, every day. They emphasized that the history of transport workers has always been on the side of peace, against fascism, racism, occupation, and the oppression of peoples. “For this reason, we cannot tolerate the transformation of the ports, airports, ships, and trains of Europe into centers of trafficking of death,” they conclude. On November 10th, hundreds of unionists organized protests in Genoa in solidarity with Palestine. Port workers there announced their refusal to load ships from the Israeli company ZIM Integrated Shipping Services, carrying arms deliveries to Israel. On the same day, hundreds of unionists in the United Kingdom, under the slogan ‘Workers for a Free Palestine,’ blocked the entrance to the BAE Systems factory in Rochester, which allegedly supplies components for military aircrafts used in bombing Gaza. Transport workers’ unions in Belgium also expressed their resistance, issuing a joint statement refusing to handle the loading or unloading of arms “intended for the genocidal war against Palestinians.” [3]

“About 100 protesters arrived at the Port of Tacoma at 5 a.m. on Monday determined to block any efforts to load cargo onto the Cape Orlando, a ship the activists thought could be transporting weapons to Israel. They chanted ​“Free, free Palestine!” and by 6 a.m. the group had grown by hundreds more. The protest raged on throughout the day … Dockworkers in Barcelona, also on Monday, called for a cease-fire in Israel and Palestine and declared that they would not work on ships carrying weapons. “Workers have committed to not load, unload, or facilitate the tasks of any boat containing weapons,” the Spanish publication El Diario reported” [4]

“Any transfer of weapons or ammunition to Israel that would be used in Gaza is likely to violate international humanitarian law and must cease immediately, a team of UN experts has warned. All States must ensure respect for international humanitarian law by parties to an armed conflict, as required by 1949 Geneva Conventions and customary international law, the experts said. “States must accordingly refrain from transferring any weapon or ammunition – or parts for them – if it is expected, given the facts or past patterns of behavior, that they would be used to violate international law.”The team of experts welcomed the decision of a Dutch appeals court ordering the Netherlands to halt the export of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel.” [5]


USA: Second largest union, SEIU, calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

Date:22 Jan 2024

USA: United Auto Workers, largest union to call for a ceasefire in Israel/Palestine; commits to forming a divestment and just transition WG on union’s economic and labor ties to the conflict

Date:1 Dec 2023

Workers block UK BAE Systems site, claiming the factory is supplying equipment used in Israel’s bombardment of Gaza

Date: 10 Nov 2023

Spain: Barcelona dockworkers union vows not to load weapons for Israel or any conflict zone amid increased direct action against the bombardment of Gaza

Date:7 Nov 2023

Ports shipping weapons to Israel blocked by dockworkers and protestors, from Barcelona to Oakland Date:6 Nov 2023




[3] Ibid



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