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German ship with 'Israeli' goods targetted by protests

By Adriana Stuijt     Feb 3, 2009 in Politics
South African dockworkers will refuse to off-load the Johanna Russ, a German-owned freighter which may arrive at Durban harbour on Sunday February 8. The local Palestine Solidarity Committee claims it carries 'goods from illegal Israeli settlements'.
Jewish community also targeted:
Trade unionists, together with the SA Council of Churches also plan to target various buildings used by the local Jewish community in South Africa with week-long protest rallies, demanding boycots of Israeli goods from Friday, their spokesmen have said. See
Last week, Western Australian members of the Maritime Union of Australia also called for a boycott of all Israeli vessels and all vessels bearing goods arriving from or going to Israel, according to the South African Palestine Solidarity Committee spokesman.
Johanna Russ shipping schedule
A protest at the Durban Harbour Mouth, off the Victoria Embankment. is planned for Sunday, February 8, by the local dockworkers -- when they all believe the Johanna Russ, owned by the north-German shipping company Zim Lines, is scheduled to arrive. However her published online schedule shows that her expected arrival in Durban is four days earlier, on 4 February 2009 -- and that her departure was being planned for 7 February 2009, a day before the planned demonstration.
She then travels to Mombasa, Djibouti, Eilat, back to Djibouti, Mombasa, and arrives again in Durban on 21 March 2009. see
Johnny Brancart of Zim Lines confirmed that the ship was travelling from Israel. However she carried many goods from many other countries, he said. The nature of the goods on board is not known, he said.
However the Palestine Solidarity Committee's Na’eem Jeenah claims that 'some of the goods are from 'illegal' Israeli settlements."
Anti-Israeli protests rallies will be held from Friday in Durban, Johannesburg and in front of the Parliamentary buildings in Cape Town. Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven and PSC spokesman Salim Vally said 'dock workers would refuse to off-load the ship arriving on Sunday, February 8.'
Demonisation of the state of Israel:
The South African Zionist Federation spokesman Avrom Krengel has slammed the plan, which he said was 'all too clearly aimed at demonising the State of Israel.
"The Cosatu campaign is characterised by sweeping statements of condemnation, emotive accusations and a highly selective use of facts that is both misleading and intellectually dishonest.
"Cosatu's vitriolic anti-Israel rhetoric serves no purpose other than to undermine the cause of peace-making in the Middle East and its call for South Africa to cut all ties with Israel are potentially extremely harmful to South Africa's own interests. Boycotting Israel would serve only to effectively align South Africa with the forces of Islamic extremism seeking Israel's destruction, would import a foreign conflict to South African streets, thereby undermining relations between its people and would have a negative impact on the local economy," he said.
The SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union general secretary Randall Howard said the union's members 'have committed themselves to not handling Israeli goods.'
Last year, Durban dock workers also refused to off-load a shipment of arms from China that had been destined for Zimbabwe, he said, as these arms 'would have been used to prop up the Mugabe regime and to intensify the repression against the Zimbabwean people."
Their week of anti-Israeli action also would target South African Jewish communities: a protest was planned in front of the South African Zionist Federation and the South African Jewish Board of Deputies' Johannesburg office in Elrae Street, Raedene on Friday.
They would also hold a rally on the same day at a pro-Palestine community centre in Actonville on the East Rand and also have pickets in front of Parliament in Cape Town.
Involved in these anti-Jewish protest rallies on Friday also would be Cosatu trade union's general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and the South African Council of Churches' general secretary Eddie Makue.
More about Dockworkers, Boycot, Durban harbour, Israel ship, Palestine solidarity committee
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