A number of unrelated setbacks appear to be combining to delay the departure of the ‘Freedom Flotilla 2’. A pre-announced general strike in Greece – related to the domestic political situation there – has temporarily shut down ports and marinas.
“Yesterday morning I had a final meeting with the participants. I told the activists that given everything that had happened, they shouldn’t trust the organisation leading this mission.”
Then there was the discovery that the propeller of the Greek/Swedish/Norwegian boat – the ‘Juliano Mer’ – had been damaged. The cost of repairs is estimated at some $17,000. Activists were, of course, quick to blame Israel for the sabotage, despite the complete lack of evidence, although a naval expert with whom I consulted said that it was unlikely that such damage could have been caused by anything other than deliberate action.
Various legal problems are also plaguing the flotilla. In an interview with the ‘Jerusalem Post’, ‘Free Gaza’ activist Ewa Jasiewicz (the woman who, together with BDS activist and flotilla veteran Yonatan Shapira, defaced the Warsaw Ghetto last year with graffiti) complained that some of the boats had their insurance withdrawn. In addition, the Israeli civil rights organization ‘Shurat HaDin’ has been busy with an innovative attempt to prevent the maritime communications company ‘Inmarsat’ from providing services to the flotilla which, if successful, would make it all but impossible for the flotilla to sail.
However, should it indeed eventually leave port, we can then expect to see a series of pre-planned ‘spontaneous’ demonstrations take place in major cities across the world. The ‘US Boat to Gaza’ campaign’s supporters have already organized protests in at least ten venues.
On the day following an attack (or boarding) of any ship in the flotilla we invite all people of conscience to gather outside the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library (San Jose Public Library) in San Jose at 150 East San Fernando Street, San Jose, CA 95112 at 5:00 pm. We also ask that Palestine solidarity groups, and peace and justice groups spread this message across their membership through listservs, phone calls, and other forms of social media. It is of the utmost importance that this event has a large attendance; international pressure–especially from the United States–is a critical factor in preventing Israel from acting with impunity towards humanitarian activists. We all need to be prepared to act on short notice.”
Meanwhile, an article on the ‘Le Monde’ website shows pictures of one of the two French boats – the comfortably outfitted ‘Louise Michel‘ and in the comments an interesting question is raised. Are those people who contributed money to the flotilla campaign in the belief that they would be providing humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza entitled to feel disgruntled about the fact that in effect, all they have achieved is to sponsor a rather expensive early summer holiday in the eastern Mediterranean for a select group of ‘progressives’?
- Guardian and Independent coverage of second flotilla omits key facts (cifwatch.com)
- ‘Freedom Flotilla 2′ – Update 4 – ‘Brothers’ in Arms (cifwatch.com)
- ‘Freedom Flotilla 2′ – Staying Pointless. (cifwatch.com)
- ‘Freedom Flotilla 2′ Publicity Stunt, Update 3: abusing the concept of ‘non-violence’ (cifwatch.com)
- Flotilla Publicity Stunt Update (cifwatch.com)