Transatlantic Jewish coalition set to break the siege of Gaza

Israel/Palestine
on 42 Comments

Within days after the attack on the Mavi Marmara, European activists announced a Jewish Boat to sail in July from an undisclosed location in the Mediterranean, attempting to break the siege imposed by Israel in 2006. The boat is sponsored by a coalition of international Jewish organizations dedicated to peace with justice in Israel/Palestine, including the ”Jüdische Stimme” (‘Jewish Voice’ for a Just Peace in the Near East), along with European Jews for a Just Peace in the Near East (EJJP) and Jews for Justice For Palestinians (UK). American Jews for a Just Peace (AJJP) will serve as the U.S. Coordinator, creating a transatlantic partnership. The small boat’s cargo will include school books, medicines and medical equipment.

Why a Jewish boat? Lots of reasons. The universal values contained in the ethical tradition of Judaism don’t include ‘Do unto others as was done unto us.’ For Jews to publicly confront the Israeli government’s policies of occupation, apartheid, and siege on a world stage highlights the political nature of the conflict and discredits those who insist on framing it strictly in ethnic and/or religious terms. I like best the answer from Glyn Secker, the Jewish Boat’s captain, a British Jew, and longtime activist with Jews for Justice for Palestinians in the UK: “As Jews we should stand as a beacon for human rights, not as an internationally known perpetrator of atrocities.”

These may be reasons enough for us to pour our hearts and souls, as well as the contents of our pockets, into supporting this effort. And imagine telling our grandchildren that in response to Israel’s stranglehold on 1.5 million Palestinian people in Gaza, and in solidarity with the international movement, we sent a boat of Jewish activists to break the blockade. For additional information and to make a contribution, go to: www.ajjp.org/jewishboat.

About Susan Landau

Susan Landau is an activist and organizer with Philly BDS.

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42 Responses

  1. Avi
    June 16, 2010, 1:14 am

    And imagine telling our grandchildren that in response to Israel’s stranglehold on 1.5 million Palestinian people in Gaza, and in solidarity with the international movement, we sent a boat of Jewish activists to break the blockade.

    I appreciate the appeal to decency and moral values, but considering the last 62 years of brutal colonialism and occupation, I think breaking the siege is the least any Jew can do. It’s too early for a self-congratulatory pat on the back.

    • hayate
      June 16, 2010, 1:55 am

      “It’s too early for a self-congratulatory pat on the back.”

      Yeah, but maybe a pat on the back from someone else might encourge more Jewish people to do positive things like this to help the Palestinians.

  2. James
    June 16, 2010, 2:34 am

    israel will figure out a way to label them terrorists too, but this is a bit trickier! the wall will come down, but not without persistence..

    • Shingo
      June 16, 2010, 4:50 am

      “‘israel will figure out a way to label them terrorists too, but this is a bit trickier! the wall will come down, but not without persistence..”‘

      You can be sure our self proclaimed Liberal Zionist will be among the first to condemn these brave and moral people.

  3. Richard Witty
    June 16, 2010, 3:53 am

    Achieving sovereignty is the only path to breaking the siege.

    • Shingo
      June 16, 2010, 6:39 pm

      “Achieving sovereignty is the only path to breaking the siege.”

      Oh shut up Witty and stick your asinine platitudes where the sun don’t shine.

      Israel are blocking any notion of achieving sovereignty, so breakiing the siege has to be done by overwhelming diplomatic pressure, sanctions, or military force..

  4. kmjunk
    June 16, 2010, 4:15 am

    I think the effect of such action will be to encourage more Jews to rise up against Israel and it’s policies. The more Jews do this the louder the voice against the Zionists will become.

  5. Philip Munger
    June 16, 2010, 4:49 am

    I am so happy to see that Jews for Justice for Palestinians are involved in this flotilla. Without their help my tribute to Rachel Corrie, twice canceled in the USA, may never have been performed. Wish I could be with them once again, on this necessary mission.

    Godspeed and be careful!

  6. Citizen
    June 16, 2010, 6:11 am

    A boatload of self-hating Jews? It will be interesting to see how the US MSM spins these blockage runners. What will the USA mayor of the Big Apple say? And Barnie Frank? How about all those goyhim water carriers for Israel in congress, those on Fox News, and the Christian Zionists? How about Beck? Which of our forefathers will he cite against these self-hating jews?
    Will he search through Ayn Rand–and find the unhelpful focus on individualism? Will he discover Hannah Arndt? Perish the thought!

    • potsherd
      June 16, 2010, 8:04 am

      Israel would have to sink the boat and drown them all for the MSM to give this boat the slightest attention.

      I think Israel has already won this round. It doesn’t look like it now, but looking ahead on the chessboard, the next moves are evident.

      Blockade-running is now established as terrorism, or at least “provocation,” which is the same as terrorism. Turkey is now a terrorist state, in league with Iran and Hamas (who are now identical).

      Israel, in response to worldwide pressure, will “ease the blockade” by allowing in sugary snacks and potato chips, to accelerate the malnutrition of the Gazan population. The dupes in the MSM will then sigh in relief and say, “See, it’s all right now, Israel has eased the blockade”. There’s no more problem.

      Leaving standing even stronger the right of Israel to conduct such a blockade in the first place. Leaving Gaza still a prison, but with potato chips.

      • James
        June 16, 2010, 3:12 pm

        the msm does seem to have undue influence, but i think a lot of cracks are appearing it as well.. we are going to see change…

    • Psychopathic god
      June 16, 2010, 6:49 pm

      will Iranian marines protect the ship whilst its in Mediterranean? That would be priceless.

  7. ehrens
    June 16, 2010, 6:30 am

    Not just one boat. They are looking into the possibility of at least one additional boat because so many European Jews have asked to go. I hope at least one of the boats is called Exodus II.

  8. annie
    June 16, 2010, 7:33 am

    this is wonderful news. i love this. from the first time i heard of the jewish boat it made all the sense in the world. my heart is with yours. god speed.

  9. Les
    June 16, 2010, 9:12 am

    Jewish ethical tradition has something considerably more demanding than “do unto others.” It is Hillel’s, “If I am only for myself, then who am I?”

  10. David Samel
    June 16, 2010, 9:14 am

    I love the idea, and wish the voyagers success and safety. There are legitimate and complex questions about the particular value of Jewish action in opposing Israeli policies. On the one hand, the very notion may tend to unfairly reduce the value of non-Jewish participants, and there is something distasteful about making distinctions based on ethnicity among people who share the same moral cause.

    In this case, however, a Jewish boat makes perfect sense to me. Let’s face it. Israel places a higher value on the lives of Jewish human beings than non-Jewish. While there is a great deal of resentment directed against “self-haters,” they still have the right genes and would be readily welcomed back into the fold if they changed their ways. Spilling Jewish blood remains a big problem for Israelis; at least I hope so. Also, the cruelty toward Gaza is a manifestation of Israeli Jewish arrogance that it is entitled to treat the “natives” as criminals to be punished, or children to be spanked. This treatment is done in the name of Jews worldwide, and it is important for Jews to signify their rejection of this unwanted privilege. And of course, a Jewish flotilla just might be more prominent and difficult for pro-Israel pols and media to deal with, as Citizen already noted.

    As a compulsive nit-picker, I’m not a big fan of the Jewish values/beacon for the world rationale. It seems to me that every religion claims the mantle of being especially righteous, and Jewish claims are not superior to anyone else’s. As a non-religious Jew, I find just as much morality, often more, in my atheist friends as my religious ones (and some of the most moral people I know are devout Catholics). If this Jewish values rationale resonates for others, fine, but it’s not one that gets me pumped up.

  11. Chu
    June 16, 2010, 10:13 am

    I’m not sure how a Jewish Boat will have a different encounter that the last Irish vessel, the Rachel Corrie. If the boat is intending to soften the hearts of Israeli Jews, I am skeptical also.
    I can see it now, media headlines will label the boat the Goldstone Express, (next stop terrorist-ville) and the Israelis can all march together in the streets drinking their flavor-aid cocktails. Cause the more and more I read about Israel, it looks like an augmented JonesTown. Not the suicide portion yet, but fleeing San Fransisco to set up camp in Guyana, the propaganda, the paranoia. The camp started out with the best intentions of liberalism, and devolved into a death cult.

    • azythos
      June 16, 2010, 11:58 am

      Chu. You get it.

      Boats cost a huge lot of money and the Israeli pirates don’t return anything even when threatened by a respectable military power like Turkey. Seeing that the “Jewish flotilla” is not expected to cause a major upset,perhaps not even a ripple in public opinion, it looks like a lot of good aid money flushed down the drain.

      In fact, that money can pay for the Nazis making it into a major propaganda victory by delivering the innocent goods “to the Gazans” under the gaze of fawning Fox cameras, after towing them without major media attention.

      Good behavior is not likely to get the attention of the Great Unwashed of the West. If the goal is to sway the specifically “Jewish” opinion, we know for sure that the Nazis are not going to misbehave with Birthright kids if they are not positively forced to. This time they would even gladly sacrifice a couple soldiers if they know what is “good for Israel”.

      Working to turn specifically “Jewish” opinion around is also money down the drain, anyway. I am not talking about individual cases, but statistically speaking the overwhelming majority of common-folk Zionism supporters is not Jewish, just your average, irresponsible pretend-idiot who holds his personal comfort above everything else as long as he has the excuse of being “misinformed by the media”. The influential part of nominally “Jewish” opinion is big money, consciously Nazi because of dollars and cents. We don’t have a lot of hard data about the rest, so sue me if my estimates are wrong: of the remaining 1-3% of Western population that counts as “Jewish” in Zionist eyes, it seems to me that the unreligious who haven’t already emigrated to the shithole would have big time trouble seeing themselves as Jewish anyway, except for the US. The remaining religious (good number of them more precisely Judeofascist anyway because late-indoctrinated, not nurtured in the bud by their godless earlier-generation parents) are …how many?

    • potsherd
      June 16, 2010, 12:44 pm

      The real game-changer will be the Iranian boats, which are apparently already on their way. This is going to play right into the Israeli narrative. A very bad move.

      • eljay
        June 16, 2010, 1:39 pm

        >> The real game-changer will be the Iranian boats, which are apparently already on their way. This is going to play right into the Israeli narrative. A very bad move.

        Yup, I couldn’t believe it when I read that the Iranians were planning to send a boat. Maybe someone should have referred *them* to the same PR agency the Palestinians keep being referred to… ;-)

      • Richard Witty
        June 16, 2010, 3:04 pm

        The Iranians involved will be a game-changer.

        It could easily shift the question from a humanitarian one to an escalating military conflict between very significant military powers.

        The United States and Europe would nearly certaintly side with Israel in such a conflict.

        Iran has ignored Gaza for 18 months as far as the humanitarian aspect is concerned. It is playing this for its escalatory politics solely.

        Many LIKE the prospect of pushing Israel into war. I don’t.

      • decentjew
        June 16, 2010, 5:07 pm

        Why not a flotilla of Iranian Jews? After all, they are the 2nd largest Jewish population in the Mid East. Furthermore, it is their lives being threatened by the nuclear psychopaths of Israel.

        The Israelis have tried for years to lure the Jews of Iran to move to Israel. To their credit, the Council of Iranian Jews told the Israeli filth from the sewer to drop dead.

      • Shingo
        June 16, 2010, 6:51 pm

        “It could easily shift the question from a humanitarian one to an escalating military conflict between very significant military powers.”

        Only if ISrael decide to carry out another massacre.  The Iranians have stated that the ships will not be accompanied by any naval escort, so if there is any violence, it will come from Israel ( as is always the case).
        “The United States and Europe would nearly certaintly side with Israel in such a conflict.”

        Not if Israel massacre civilians like they did with the Mavi Marmara.

        “Iran has ignored Gaza for 18 months as far as the humanitarian aspect is concerned. It is playing this for its escalatory politics solely.”

        Rubbish.  Hasbara trolls like you have insisted all along that Iran sends money are arms to Hamas.

        “Many LIKE the prospect of pushing Israel into war. I don’t.”

        Of course you do Witty.  You lov wars so long as they involve Israel going to war with unarmed civilians, as in the case of the Gaza massacre.  What you don;t like it the idea of Isrel facing an armed opposition.

      • eljay
        June 16, 2010, 7:17 pm

        >> Many LIKE the prospect of pushing Israel into war.

        Most people don’t LIKE that prospect either – they’d rather see Israel “pushed” into peace. Unfortunately, Israel – with the support of people who consider justifiable, yet non-violent, protests against “Israel the Eternal Victim” to be “destabilizing” and “maximalist” – will not allow itself to be “pushed” into anything but war.

    • annie
      June 16, 2010, 4:15 pm

      nah, i don’t think it is intended to soften any hearts. i think it is bigger than than. looks at all the horrible damage done in the name of the jewish people because of this occupation and blockade. israel calls itself the jewish state so this boat can call itself the jewish boat. it has as much right to ride under the banner of ‘jewish’ as that state does, if not more. they are challenging a monolith, one acting in their own name.

      the propaganda from the ruit institute said (paraphrasing)all this hatred against israel was just people being influenced by radical islam which is a bunch of bs. they isolated the turkish boat and called them terrorists so now it is right to have the jewish boat take it’s turn, and then a christian boat if need be. and then another boat and another until it is clear this is not about different ethnicities against israel or different countries, it is all of us. the flotilla was all traveling together, it was israel who divided them. israel wants to take on critics by race or country of origin or ethnicity we can play it that way. anyway you play it we all want gaza free.

      • Cliff
        June 16, 2010, 4:48 pm

        I see what you mean. Israel likes to speak for all Jews. So a ‘Jewish boat’ is a strong statement. I don’t see this as narcissism or anything bad. I see it as independence.

    • Psychopathic god
      June 16, 2010, 6:55 pm

      shortly after Phil posted an article about Ir Amim, I attended a presentation by an Ir Amim board member. She was very objective in describing the military and strategic goals of settlements on the hilltops; cool in detailing how Jews get preferential treatment over Palestinians and how this is counterproductive to Jewish Israeli purposes.

      She reflected fear on only one issue: she said many people share her fear that the only way the impasse will end is with a civil war.

      A flotilla of Jews against the blockade of Gaza may defuse that terrible threat, in a way that will demand courage and cause a great deal of emotion to be displayed, but that may not rise to the level of internecine bloodshed.

      with hope…..

  12. maximalistNarrative
    June 16, 2010, 10:18 am

    Step One:

    Expel Jews from their homes in Gaza and ethnically cleanse the area of every single Jew

    Step Two:

    Stage a bloody coup in the Jew-free area, and begin to amass large amount of weapons

    Step Three:

    Attack

    Step Four:

    Attempt to break the naval arms blockade by recruiting the “good” Jews that support a Jew free Gaza.

    Step Five:

    Adamantly claim that that since collective punishment of Gazans is morally wrong the only moral alternative is to enforce collective punishment on Jews.

    • Cliff
      June 16, 2010, 5:53 pm

      Everything you just wrote is either dishonest or a flat out lie.

      You characterize the removal of illegal settlers and colonists as an ‘ethnic cleansing’ and go even further in your dishonesty by identifying them chiefly as JEWS rather than illegal residents of someone else’s land.

      So if a Jew comes onto my property by force, and kicks me out of my home – you would characterize the legal consequences as an ‘ethnic cleansing of a Jew’.

      No one in their right mind is going to accept your narrative. In fact, your ridiculous point of view alienates normal people. So by all means, keep talking to yourself.

    • maximalistNarrative
      June 16, 2010, 6:29 pm

      It is now a tactic on this website to censor myself and others.

      The method is to have all comments posted be “awaiting moderation” for over a dozen hours, and then finally allow the comment.

      This serves to silence dissent by delaying comments so much that they are practically off the main page story lists by the time the comment is published.

      Why are others allowed to post freely without moderation and I am not? I have never violated the comments policy.

      Either change the comments policy or disable the required moderation for my comments.

      Thank you

      • Shingo
        June 16, 2010, 6:43 pm

        “It is now a tactic on this website to censor myself and others.” 

        Cut your whining or get lost.  I’ve had plenty of posts censored in the name of maintaining decency.  Stop posting offensive garbage and you won’t be  censored.
         
        ” Either change the comments policy or disable the required moderation for my comments.”

        This is not your blog.  If you don’t like the rules, get lost.

        Thank you

      • maximalistNarrative
        June 16, 2010, 7:15 pm

        I have not had any comments removed, just delayed. Do you get an “awaiting moderation” message on every comment you post?

      • Cliff
        June 16, 2010, 10:28 pm

        I do. I’m sure others do as well.

      • Cliff
        June 16, 2010, 6:50 pm

        You are being moderated like others here. The reason for the moderation is understandable. I am being moderated too and it’s because I’ve been vulgar. As to why you and other Zionists might be moderates is because of the long history on this blog of trolling (posting canned messages, which we’ve documented and I’ll source the examples if I have too).

        It’s gotten really bad here before so it’s not out of left field. Stop whining.

  13. Rupa Shah
    June 16, 2010, 10:51 am

    An excellent “must read” article.
    How the U.S. Corporate Media Got the Israel Flotilla Catastrophe So Wrong
    By Arun Gupta, AlterNet
    Posted on June 16, 2010,
    link to alternet.org
    Unless the MSM changes its mindset and tells the truth, things will take a long time to change………as now, they are talking about EASING the blockade and not lifting it totally!

    • Avi
      June 16, 2010, 10:59 am

      I happened to read that last night. It’s a great article, very comprehensive, too.

    • potsherd
      June 16, 2010, 11:16 am

      A great article – except that I fear Ziocaine numbs the irony receptors in too many brains, and they will take this as the literal truth. It is, after all, repeating verbatim what official Israel has said.

  14. Les
    June 16, 2010, 1:26 pm

    We still don’t know who stole all of Israel’s paint guns. It is such an easy story to check out that even NPR or Ethan Bronner might be equipped to do it.

  15. Richard Parker
    June 16, 2010, 4:29 pm

    Sorry to interrupt the narrative, but Israeli commandos were clearly seen holding paint guns in the last few moments of Iara Lee’s unedited video of the scenes, as they rolled up in launches alongside in the feinted moves. The guns shown clearly have paint reservoirs above the guns.
    See:
    link to youtube.com
    at: 37:61

    Mind you, the helicopter guys clearly did a lot more to the upper deck. In Iara Lee’s video, they are shown sliding smoothly down to the ferry’s roof, with none of the nonsense shown on Israel’s first fake video:
    link to youtube.com

    Also, it is very strange that the Mavi Marmara changed its registration (and its flag) some 10 days before sailing:
    Contrary to virtually all media reports to date, it appears the Mavi Marmara was reflagged from Turkey to the Comoros Islands around 20 May, shortly before heading the peace flotilla.
    This is very important. While the Israeli attack remains illegal, it means that the injured party – and the party with legal jurisdiction over the event – is the incapable Comoros Islands rather than the highly capable Turkey. It also greatly reduces the NATO angle, unless other attacked ships were flying the Turkish flag.
    But the question must be why on earth was the flag changed just before sailing, and who instigated it?

    link to craigmurray.org.uk (no link to individual article)

    Just asking. This situation was a lot more complicated than it appears at first sight.

    • lysias
      June 16, 2010, 6:47 pm

      One of the flotilla’s ships (the Gazze) was carrying the Turkish flag, one was carrying the U.S. flag, two were carrying the Greek flag.

      Plenty of NATO involvement.

  16. Richard Parker
    June 16, 2010, 4:58 pm

    In other words, it becomes clear that the sea-based launch attacks were a tactical diversion.
    The real attack comes from helicopters (how were naval commandos going to board a high-sided ship otherwise?).
    The helicopters put covering fire on the upper deck, and then rappelled down commandos after the landing field was ‘clean’. None of the stuff in the fake Israeli video happened.
    Then they went down, deck to deck, until they took control.
    Then they passed responsibility to Israeli ‘camp guards’ who handcuffed everybody, and kept them in the hot sun on the upper deck.
    After that they passed them over to Ashdod and Be’er Sheva prisons.

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