A boat carrying aid for Gaza’s population and organized by Jewish groups worldwide has set sail from Cyprus today at 13:32 local time.
The boat, Irene, is sailing under a British flag and is carrying ten passengers and crew, including Jews from the US, the UK, Germany and Israel as well as an Israeli journalist.
The boat’s cargo includes symbolic aid in the form of children’s toys and musical instruments, textbooks, fishing nets for Gaza’s fishing communities and prosthetic limbs for orthopaedic medical care in Gaza’s hospitals.
The receiving organization in Gaza is The Palestinian International Campaign to end the siege on Gaza, directed by Dr. Eyad Sarraj and Amjad Shawa, Director of PNGO
The boat will attempt to reach the coast of Gaza and unload its aid cargo in a nonviolent, symbolic act of solidarity and protest – and call for the siege to be lifted to enable free passage of goods and people to and from the Gaza Strip.
The boat will fly multicolored peace flags carrying the names of dozens of Jews who have expressed their support for this action, as a symbol of the widespread support for the boat by Jews worldwide.
Speaking from London, a member of the organizing group, Richard Kuper of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, said today that the Jewish Boat to Gaza is a symbolic act of protest against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and the siege of Gaza, and a message of solidarity to Palestinians and Israelis who seek peace and justice.
‘Israeli government policies are not supported by all Jews,’ said Kuper. ‘We call on all governments and people around the world to speak and act against the occupation and the siege.’
Regarding the threat of interception by the Israeli navy, Kuper said ‘This is a nonviolent action. We aim to reach Gaza, but our activists will not engage in any physical confrontation and will therefore not present the Israelis with any reason or excuse to use physical force or assault them.’
Passenger Reuven Moskovitz, 82, said that his life’s mission has been to turn foes into friends. “We are two peoples, but we have one future”, he said.Funny, that's kind of what the highly assimilated Jews of Germany used to say--before their discovered to their horror that, in fact, Hitler had entirely different plans for them than he did for the regular "pure" Germans. Or have these great "humanitarians" never bothered to read the Hamas Charter? (I would note that if all these "Jewish groups worldwide" could manage to attract was less than ten protesters, you couldn't exactly count it a roaring success.)
Update: Emanuele Ottolenghi writes:
A boat full of Jews for Justice for Palestinians and other such organizations is setting sail today for Gaza from Northern Cyprus, as reported here. The pious group, no doubt, thinks they are fighting occupation through acts of kindness.
There is, nevertheless, a certain irony in the fact that they use Northern Cyprus as a staging ground for their activities — like the Mavi Marmara-led Flotilla did last May. Here’s the irony — Northern Cyprus is an illegally occupied territory that belongs to the EU as part of its member state, Cyprus; it was seized by force in 1974 by the Turkish army; its legal status as a fictionally independent state is only recognized by Turkey (the occupying power); Turkey forcibly removed hundreds of thousands of ethnic Greeks from that territory and settled its own population to permanently alter the ethnic balance of the area – and, in the process, encouraged the building of what one could characterize as settlements.
Now doesn’t this sound awfully familiar — the kind of accusations that organizations such as the JFJFP would routinely level at Israel’s presence in the West Bank and, until 2005, in Gaza? These are the kind of things that get such enlightened Jews agitated enough that they need to spring into action — if the alleged perpetrator is Israel. If it is a country that bombs neighbors with impunity, uses heavy-handed tactics to fight what it brands as terrorists, while denying basic cultural rights to the ethnic minority that constitutes 20 percent of its population while it practices state-sanctioned genocide denial, well then, its government is Islamist and its actively helps Hamas, so there’s no problem relying on their services and glossing on (sic) their blatant and continuing violations of international law to bash Israel.