SABDS Coalition

Affiliated to the palestine national BDS committee

Latest Information


Media Release: Durban dockworkers refuse to offload Israeli ship. No to Transnet-facilitated Israeli imports!


Issued: 20 May 2021

Members of the South African BDS Coalition, its affiliates and other partner organisations and trade unions will converge on the Durban Esplanade and Durban port on Friday, 21 May, to protest the docking of an Israeli ship, and in celebration of the decision by members of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) to boycott the offloading of the ship.


The decision by SATAWU and the BDS Coalition follows a call by the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) on workers and trade unions to “refuse to unload [Israeli] ships and goods from sea and airports”. The PGFTU call is one of many actions of boycotts, divestment and sanctions called for by Palestinians - a consequence of the barbaric Israeli onslaught on Gaza, the killings of Palestinians in the West Bank, the pogroms in Haifa Lyddia, Haifa, Jaffa and other town and cities and the ethnic cleansing in Occupied Jerusalem. More than 230 people have been killed, most of them civilians, including about 70 children, as well as the wholesale destruction by Apartheid Israel of infrastructure in Gaza, and a 14-year medieval-like siege of the territory.

The Zim Shanghai, owned by Israeli state-owned company Zim Lines, docked in Durban last night, 19 May 2021. The action against the ship is part of a global set of actions against Zim Lines. The protests also target Transnet, demanding that the parastatal not allow goods to or from Israel to pass through South African ports.


Earlier this week, workers in the Italian city of Livorno refused to load an arms shipment onto the Asiatic Island, another Zim Lines ship. Their union, L’Unione Sindacale di Base (USB) said, “The port of Livorno will not be an accomplice in the massacre of the Palestinian people.” The cargo, USB said, contained “weapons and explosives that will serve to kill the Palestinian population”.


In the port of Oakland, USA, trade union and Palestinian solidarity activists are preparing to prevent the offloading of another Zim Lines ship that is due to dock there soon, in a campign called “Block the Boat”. In 2014, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union refused to offload a Zim Lines ship in Oakland, and this will be the first Zim ship to dock in the port since then.


South African workers are not newcomers to action against Zim Lines. In February 2009, SATAWU members in Durban refused to offload a Zim Lines ship in protest against the 2008-2009 Israeli attack on Gaza.


Workers and solidarity activists have planned two actions in Durban this week in response to the docking of the Zim Shanghai:

  • Workers will refuse to offload the ship and handle the ship’s cargo, which is due to start on Friday, 21 May. SATAWU has already informed Transnet of their refusal to offload the cargo.
  • Activists will hold a protest on the Durban Esplanade at 7am on Friday.

The trade union federations, unions and other organisations that have pledged their support for these actions are:

  • NUMSA 
  • SAPU
  • FAWU
  • The Coalition of the Poor
  • Ubunye BamaHostela
  • Abahlali Base Mjondolo
  • KZN Subsistence Fisherfolks
  • Right2Know
  • Market Users Committee
  • South Durban Community Environmental Alliance
  • Assonet (Migrant Communities)
  • People Against Oppression
  • Groundwork Friends of the Earth South Africa.
For more information or interviews, please contact:

Jihaan Haffajee: 083 391 6243

Martin Jansen: 082 870 2025

Roshan Dadoo: 082 816 2799

SA health workers for Palestine


Take Action! #SaveSheikhJarrah and Defend Jerusalem: Boycott Israel, Support Palestinian Resistance

Show your support, join us. Take your stand and make a difference. 


Take Action! #SaveSheikhJarrah and Defend Jerusalem: Boycott Israel, Support Palestinian Resistance

Join the protest against Israeli Apartheid.

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Take Action! #SaveSheikhJarrah and Defend Jerusalem: Boycott Israel, Support Palestinian Resistance

Join us. Take your stand and make a difference. 

Palestinians in Jerusalem are under attack on multiple levels, defending their land, city and identity from erasure and colonialism for 73 years. They face the stripping of their identity and residence — even from their place of birth — severe repression, land confiscations, home demolitions and ongoing Zionist attempts to erase the Palestinian and Arab presence and nature of the city.

Right-wing settler mobs have rampaged through Sheikh Jarrah in the past days, screaming “Death to Arabs” and attacking Palestinians. Settlers attacked Palestinians breaking the Ramadan fast during Iftar, pepper spraying them and throwing rocks at them. Working hand in hand with these violent settlers, the Israeli military has attacked residents, sprayed skunk water and tear gas throughout the neighbourhood, invaded homes, assaulted women, children and elders and seized dozens of Palestinian youth defending their own homes.

In Silwan, Palestinians are being threatened with violent expulsion from their Jerusalem homes in order to make way for a “David-themed” tourist attraction to produce income for the Zionist settler colonial project, built atop the homes and lives of the indigenous Palestinian people.

Join us in the Week of Palestinian Struggle from 15-22 May — and before the week officially begins — to escalate our organizing, resistance and action to support the Palestinians struggling, resisting, fighting and facing the most severe, brutal and deadly colonial violence on the front lines of liberation struggle.

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Boycott Israel

The Palestinians have been abandoned, neglected and betrayed. Now their fate rests in the streets. It has always been this way.

The international, Arab and Palestinian campaign to boycott Israel can play an important role at this critical time. Local boycott groups can protest and label Israeli produce and groceries. During Ramadan, Israeli dates from stolen Palestinian land are marketed around the world while Israel attempts to force Palestinians from Jerusalem, demolish homes, and imprisons thousands more. By participating in the boycott of Israel, you can directly help to throw a wrench in the economy of settler colonialism.


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