Friday, 16 July 2010

Help raise money for US to Gaza boat - Audacity of hope

$370,000 needs to be raised to help send a boat from the US to Gaza for the next flotilla. Donate online at
U.S. Boat to Gaza

This is an important moment in history. In the aftermath of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla massacre and increased world-wide scrutiny of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, the Israeli government has mounted a huge public relations campaign spreading the lie that by letting a few more items into Gaza the blockade has been lifted. This is not the reality. Gaza is still under siege, vital building materials and other supplies are banned, exports of goods from Gaza are denied and neither ships nor people can travel without permission from Israel, permission which Israel will not give. Gaza is essentially an open-air prison under a U.S.-backed Israeli blockade.

We are planning to launch a U.S. boat to Gaza, joining a flotilla of ships from Europe, Canada, India, South Africa and parts of the Middle East due to set sail in September/October of this year. In order to succeed in this essential but costly human rights project, we need significant financial support.

Citizens around the world have responded to the plight of the Palestinian people and are taking action to help break the blockade which is suffocating the lives of the people of Gaza and denying them their liberty. The U.S. government is complicit through established policies that uncritically support Israel in its brutal attack on the Palestinian people and on those who attempt to intervene on their behalf. We in the United States must continue to step up and do our part. We must join with others from across the world to support an end to the collective punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza.

We turn to you to help make the U.S. boat, The Audacity of Hope, a reality. We must raise at least $370,000 in the next month. These funds will be used to purchase a boat large enough for 40-60 people, secure a crew, and cover the licensing and registering of the boat. In addition, the funds will subsidize some other costs of sending a U.S. delegation. We can make this happen together. For example, with 370 people giving $1,000, or with 3,700 people giving $100, we will have raised our full amount.

We have already received donations ranging from $10 to $10,000. So, give what you can and give generously. From the deck of The Audacity of Hope, we will be in a powerful and unique position to challenge U.S. foreign policy and affirm the universal obligation to uphold human rights and international law. Let us act now because every moment counts and every dollar counts. Together we will contribute to the great effort to end the blockade of Gaza and the illegal occupation of Palestine.
Please spread this appeal letter far and wide, so that others will contribute as well.

Thank you for your generosity.

On behalf of the U.S. BOAT TO GAZA,
Nic Abramson, Middle East Crisis Response
Elliott Adams, Past President, Veterans For Peace
Laurie Arbeiter, Activist Response Team
Russell Banks, Writer
Medea Benjamin, Co-founder CODEPINK
Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies
Naomi Brussel, Activist Response Team
Allan Buchman, Founder and Artistic Director, The Culture Project
Leslie Cagan, Co-Founder United for Peace and Justice
Henry Chalfant, Film Maker
Kathleen Chalfant, New York
Kevin Clark, Midwest coordinator for Free Gaza Movement
Ellen Davidson, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions-USA
Noor Elashi, Writer
Basem Emara, Gaza Freedom March
Hedy Epstein, Palestine Solidarity Committee, St. Louis, Missouri
Mike Ferner, National President, Veterans For Peace
Felice Gelman, Gaza Freedom March
Jane Hirschmann, Jews Say No!
Jennifer Hobbs, New York City Attorney/Gaza Freedom March
Abdeen Jabara, Past President, American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Civil Rights Attorney
Tarak Kauff, Veterans for Peace
Kathy Kelly, Co-Coordinator, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Eleanore Kennedy
Michael Kennedy
Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies, Department of History, Columbia University
Ramzi Kysia, Free Gaza Movement
Iara Lee, Cultures of Resistance/Freedom Flotilla Survivor
Helaine Meisler, Hudson Valley BDS
Gail Miller, Women of a Certain Age
Fatima Mohammadi, Attorney at Law/Freedom Flotilla Survivor
Donna Nevel, Jews Say No!
Michael Ratner, President, Center for Constitutional Rights
Mariam Said, New York
Najla Said, Actor/Writer
Hannah Schwarzschild, American Jews for a Just Peace
Kathy Sheetz, Free Gaza – USA/Freedom Flotilla Survivor
Ann Shirazi, Granny Peace Brigade
Eleanor Stein, Albany Law School
Michael Steven Smith, New York City Attorney/Author
Sarah Wellington, Activist Response Team
Ret. Col. Ann Wright, Freedom Flotilla Survivor
Dorothy M. Zellner, Veteran Civil Rights Activist

*Organizations listed for identification purposes only

Please make out tax deductible contributions of $150 or more to:

INSTITUTE FOR MEDIA ANALYSIS (Write Stand for Justice in the memo line.)
Institute for Media Analysis
143 West 4th Street #2F
New York, NY 10012
Attn: Stand for Justice

Please make out contributions under $150 to:

Stand for Justice
PO Box 373
Bearsville, NY 12409

Donate online at

Thanks to the International Solidarity Movement

Egypt bans Jordanian trade unionists' land aid convoy from entering Gaza

Jordanian trade unionists and professionals involved in sending an overland aid convoy to Gaza, have been barred from entering Egypt. The convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid was expected to be allowed to pass through the Rafah crossing but Egypt has so far refused entry. The last viva Palestina convoy to enter Gaza by land was also barred from entry, with activists even being attacked and detained by Egyptian state security forces. Shame on the Egyptian government - although we are getting tired of having to say that.

Turkey/US rift deepens as flotilla organisers and Erdogan party branded supporters of terrorists

The Egyptians and the Americans are worried. Turkey is now cast in heroic light in the Arab world, while Egypt is reviled as the state that collaborates with Israel and the US in strangling Gaza. The US, exhibiting the typical paranoia of the tyrant, doesn't understand why erstwhile allies are turning against them. US foreign policy people can't get it into their heads that it is their policies in the Middle East that is pushing Turkey, and other countries, away - not some dastardly Islamist plot in Istanbul.

According to the New York Times up to 10 members of the ruling Justice and Development were going to be on the Mavi Marmara but were warned off by senior government officials, although the thrust of the article, headlined 'Sponsor of flotilla tied to elite of Turkey', is how Turkish prime minister Erdogan has benefited from the murderous Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla. What the article fails to grasp is that the Turkish ruling class is also hermetically tied through the military and big business to the West, be it the US or Europe.

There are undoubtedly strains within the Turkish state but western commentators shouldn't fear 'losing' Turkey just yet. What they need to start worrying about is the people on the streets, but Erdogan will do his best to prevent the developing solidarity movement growing over into a challenge to the ruling elite, despite his differences with the army and the 'secularists'. And besides, Turkey's rulers still have the Kurds to oppress, at home and abroad. In addition, Israel will hope that the threat of it helping the Kurds against Turkey will be enough to curtail this supposed turn to the East by Ankara and what they see as Erdogan playing to the gallery in the run up to important elections.

The Humanitarian Relief Foundation, which spearheaded the organisation of the flotilla, is now seen by Israel and Washington as a supporter of 'terrorism' because of its humanitarian work in Palestine. This obviously creates a problem with NATO ally Turkey; even more so, as the Times is eager to point, given the charity's links to the ruling party. Turkey needs to stand fast in the face of Israel's lies about any and all organisations providing political, financial or humanitarian support to the people of Gaza.
“We are not trying to disengage ourselves from I.H.H. because of the current allegations on their terror links — we are simply not related with them,” the official said. “We consider Israeli efforts to link I.H.H. with terror in light of fake intelligence reports and hence hold AK Party government responsible for the killing of nine innocent people as extremely cheap and improper tactics.” more

Indeed the US has passed a law that allows the state to imprison anyone who offers 'material support' to terrorists. Should we expect the prime minister of Turkey to be rendered to a dark site somewhere in deepest eastern Europe sometime soon?