An Israeli-operated cargo ship blocked from unloading its goods for four days in Oakland by anti-Israel protesters feigned a return to sea before doubling back secretly to port.
The standoff began Saturday when the Piraeus, operated by Zim Integrated Shipping Services, Israel’s largest shipping company, was scheduled to dock at Oakland Port. Hundreds of protesters organized by the Arab Resource and Organizing Center in San Francisco blocked the entrance to the port to prevent longshoremen from entering, ostensibly to draw attention to Israel’s operation in Gaza.
The ship remained at sea for a day, then docked from Sunday until Tuesday afternoon, when it left with its cargo intact, seemingly headed for Southern California. Instead it quickly turned around and docked at another terminal, where two dozen longshoremen worked overnight to unload the cargo.
AROC’s Block the Boat campaign had earlier declared victory, claiming in one statement that “workers honored our picket,” suggesting that union members sympathized with the protesters.
But a news release Monday from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union said the union takes no position on the Middle East conflict and was concerned only with protecting its workers from the “volatility associated with a large demonstration and significant police presence.”
Anti-Israel protesters had some success stopping Zim ships from unloading in Oakland twice before, in 2010 and 2012.
Demonstrators attempted to block a Zim vessel in Long Beach on Aug. 13 but failed to stop workers from unloading the cargo.
Block the Boat has called for protests in Tacoma, Wash., and Vancouver, B.C., with the aim of shutting down Israeli shipping to the West Coast.
A 22-year-old Jewish woman was assaulted at a pro-Palestinian rally in Oakland, Calif., last week after writing “Am Yisrael Chai” in chalk on the sidewalk.
The incident, which was captured on video, took place at a March 13 rally held at the Frank Ogawa Plaza to mark the fourth anniversary of the wounding of Tristan Anderson, an Oakland resident injured in the West Bank while protesting against the Israeli military.
In the video, Hannah Larson, a Seattle native who immigrated to Israel in 2010, can be seen seen writing on the ground in an area set aside for chalk-written slogans; the words “Freedom to Speak” appear on the ground nearby.
When Larson spelled out the Hebrew phrase that translates as “The Jewish people live” or “The nation of Israel lives,” a young woman later identified as Gabby Silverman of Oakland grabbed the chalk from Larson’s hand, cursing and repeatedly shoving Larson. Silverman also called Larson a “whore.”
Others quickly joined the fracas, and Larson was pushed to the street, away from the rally. Friends of Larson filmed the encounter.
On a Facebook page promoting the rally, Silverman wrote of the incident, “We created a space at the plaza to chalk the names of our dead friends and imprisoned comrades and these zionist pieces of shit chalk ‘am yisrael chai’ over it. This is exactly the settler colonialist mindset that we are fighting against, putting their right wing bullshit over the space for our dead friends. ‘Am yisrael chai’ means ‘the people of Israel live’, which seems mellow enough but its the main slogan of the right wing. My only regret is calling her a whore. That was inappropriate and I'm sorry. Solidarity with whores everywhere!”
Larson could not be reached for comment. Daniel Wencel, 63, who filmed the incident, said he does not believe Larson will press charges.
Michael Harris, a spokesman for the Bay Area chapter of the Israel advocacy group StandWithUs, said this was not an isolated incident.
“This is not the first time that we’ve seen violent responses from members of anti-Israel groups,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that some of the same people who support Hamas violence against Israelis are getting violent toward Israel supporters here.”
Al Davis, the maverick owner of the Oakland Raiders, has died.
Davis, who served as coach and general manager of the NFL team and later became its principal owner, died at his home in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday—Yom Kippur—according to the team’s website. He was 82.
Davis was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992.
He was involved in several lawsuits against the National Football League and had a longtime feud with its late commissioner, Pete Rozelle. Davis won a lawsuit allowing him to move the Raiders to Los Angeles in 1982, then he returned the team to Northern California 12 years later.
Davis was the commissioner of the American Football League but resigned after the AFL and the NFL announced their merger in the late 1960s.
The Massachusetts native grew up in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, N.Y.
The Oakland Hebrew Day School in California has raised $1 million in 10 months to match a grant from an anonymous donor.
The $2 million will be used to provide need-based scholarships for students to attend the Modern Orthodox day school, the Bay Area school announced Tuesday.
The donor, who remains anonymous, also pledged another $100,000 for the school to find new donors to support the school’s long-term scholarship funds by Dec. 31.
The school is marking its 20th anniversary this year.
“We saw participation ranging from $15 to over $100,000 and donations from every part of our community,” said Rabbi Yehudah Potok, the head of school. “We also had nearly 100 percent parent participation.
An exhibit of Palestinian children’s artwork illustrating the Gaza War, slated to be shown at a children’s museum in California, has been cancelled.
The exhibit scheduled to go on display at the Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland on Sept. 24 was cancelled due to pressure from the community, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The drawings in the exhibit, created by children ages 9 to 11, showed bombs falling, tanks firing and people getting hit, according to the newspaper.
The exhibit, which was to open with special poetry and art projects for children, was organized by the Middle East Children’s Alliance. The Alliance is currently searching for a new venue for the exhibit.
The museum cancelled the exhibit late last week, saying it did not want to be dragged into the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, according to the Chronicle.
The complaints came from Jewish groups, as well as other groups in the community, the Chronicle reported.
Oakland-based singer/songwriter Hyim has a Middle East peace proposal he’d like to float: Send 10,000 kids to the region, have a heart-to-heart with their Arab and Israeli counterparts and then get ’em all singing.
“Kumbaya”-flavored pie in the sky? Hyim doesn’t think so, and the musician/self-styled peace educator lives life accordingly. It’s all a bit incongruous: a young Jewish man, hailing from a family of doctors and teachers, who found his artistic (and personal) salvation in music, especially hip-hop.
And he’s no white hip-hop wannabe, cruising the suburbs in daddy’s Beemer.
Hyim — born Hyim Jacob Ross 30 years ago — is the real deal, a product of the tough Oakland public schools and an eyewitness to the pain and thuggery of the streets.
His father, Robert Norman Ross, a Potrero Hill Health Center physician, was gunned down in a murder-suicide committed by the crazed husband of a former patient. Hyim was just a boy at the time.
Today, the former angry young man is a mature recording artist and official spreader of joy.
That’s the underlying message of his CD, “Let Out a Little Peace,” newly re-released on his own independent label, Family Productions. Hyim wrote, produced and arranged the CD’s 11 songs, and he played guitar and piano, as well.
Hyim’s music is tough to classify. He calls it “urban world beat,” a nice way of saying he doesn’t exactly fit with the cookie-cutter music industry.
Which is exactly how he likes it.
His lyrics tend to zero in on themes of love and reconciliation, occasionally with a subtle Jewish flair. In “Let Out a Little Peace,” Hyim sings: “We will create this peace/One by one/Accept our grief without vengeance/And let this cycle cease.”
Is he talking about Israel? Or about a boy, enraged that his father died so senselessly? He won’t say.
What he does say is that music remains an engine for social change, and he plans to stoke it as much as possible.
“Hip-hop is the poetry of a generation that’s had materialism shoved down its throat,” he says. “It’s about finding power when you’re feeling powerless.”
Hyim says delving deeply into hip-hop helped him overcome his father’s murder, as did making his own music. It took him years to work through it, but he did so in a way that helped him embrace life, rather than leave him embittered.
He attended Oakland’s Skyline High School, befriending kids of every ethnicity. At the same time, Hyim never forgot he was Jewish, becoming bar mitzvah at the East Bay’s Kehilla Community Synagogue.
“It’s part of what I am,” he says. “When you become conscious of cultural awareness, you have to find your own harmony and seek your roots.”
Hyim is eager to take his musical message to the streets. But whether success comes quickly or not, Hyim is following age-old advice: Enjoy the ride. “When God gives you a skill, it’s a non-mitzvah to disregard it.”