SEATTLE – Shouting slogans like “long live the intifada!” and “Israel, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide”, a coalition of anti-Israel activists gathered at Seattle’s Harbor Island last week calling for the elimination of the Jewish state. In a series of protests, ostensibly organized by Falastiniyat, “a feminist grassroots collective”, the activists attempted to disrupt operations at the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 18. The target was a container ship owned by the ZIM Shipping line, a publicly owned corporation sailing under the Liberian flag. Prior to joining The New York Stock Exchange, the shipping line did once have Israeli owners. The prior Israeli provenance was reason enough to try to prevent the ZIM San Diego from offloading its routine import cargo from Asia which, according to the NW Seaport Alliance included medical and PPE equipment. 

Calling for the elimination of the Jewish state, protesters chanted “we don’t want ’66’, we want ’48’. Photo Credit: YouTube

Buoyed that similar intimidation tactics coincided with the departure of a Zim owned ship in Oakland prior to unloading its cargo in early June, the anti-Israel activists hoped for a similar result in Seattle. According to ZIM, their ship’s departure from Oakland before offloading its cargo had everything to do with a congested port and nothing to do with BDS inspired protesters. ZIM’s account is bolstered by the fact that all major West Coast ports have indeed been backlogged as a result of Covid related disruptions to the supply chain. Two other major shipping lines have joined ZIM in avoiding the Oakland port until they resolve their backlog issues,

Meanwhile, back in Seattle, breathless reports of sightings of the approaching ZIM ship filled the Twitter feed of the anti-Israel activists as they anticipated their turn to “block the boat” from being offloaded.

But once the ZIM San Diego docked, things did not go as planned. The activists gathered for near daily protests, at times blocking the road to the terminal and disrupting access to the port. But persuading a 91,000 ton container ship to move against its will is not as easy as it may seem. As days passed and the ZIM ship stubbornly refused to budge, the BDS activists became more and more frustrated by their own impotence.

On June 16th, the protest organizers, surprised by ZIM’s failure to capitulate, let loose a series of desperate Tweets, such as “ZIM refuses to leave despite Seattleites saying NO to ZIM!” and asking their supporters to implore their elected officials to do what the protesters could not, evict the ZIM San Diego from the Seattle Port. The elected officials had something else in mind.

One witness reported that the anti-Israel mob assaulted a port employee and shattered her rear window and dented her vehicle.

Growing increasingly impatient with the disruption to port operations, city and port officials tasked the Seattle Police Department with assuring port access so that commercial activities could resume. Two final raucous efforts to disrupt operations on June 17th & 18th culminated in at least 11 arrests and a resumption of business at the port. The ZIM San Diego was soon unburdened of her cargo and reloaded with Washington state goods and sailing toward her next destination. Left behind was a small dispirited group, frustrated at their failed attempt to harm the world’s only Jewish state.

Photo Credit: Twitter

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