European Jewish Group to Launch Flotilla to Break
by Richard Hall
The Huffington Post
June 9, 2010
break the blockade of
said, almost a week after nine activists were killed making
the same trip.
European Jews for a Just Peace (EJJP) - an umbrella
organization of Jewish groups from 10 European countries
against the occupation of
humanitarian aid such as school books and medicines to the
Gaza Strip, and to draw attention to the blockade which they
"We want to show that not all Jews support
Edith Lutz, a German member of the EJJP. "We are calling for
a just solution and for an end to the blockade."
On board the ships will be activists from across
Holocaust survivor from
meant to carry only a small number of activists together
with journalists from Europe and
that a huge response from the Jewish community has meant
that a second boat has been arranged, and the possibility of
a third is being discussed.
"In the beginning it was not meant to be an exclusively
Jewish trip, we had a variety of people. But many more
Jewish people came forward wanting to come on board, and we
realized this was important politically," said Lutz.
This sentiment was echoed by Glyn Secker, a member of the
British based Jews for Justice for Palestinians who will
captain the ship. "I think it will have particular
significance because it is a group of Jewish people saying
that as Jews, we are critical of Israeli policy. We believe
that there should be a just peace for the Palestinians," he said.
Organizers hope to draw attention to the injustice of the
blockade whilst delivering much-needed supplies to the
impoverished territory of 1.5 million people, 80 percent of
whom rely on some sort of food aid according to the UN
agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA.
"The supplies are symbolic," said Secker, "they include
medical supplies, books, art materials and some musical
instruments to give to the children."
"We want to make a very clear moral statement that the way
Israel is treating the Palestinians is, we believe,
extremely immoral. We want to say emphatically: 'not in our
name,'" Secker added.
Another motivation for the trip, organizers said, was the
effect Israeli policies have on the treatment of Jews living
"We are frightened that Israeli policies will help anti-
Semitism to grow. We also want to show that these actions
are not Jewish," said Lutz.
The group said they will depart from a port in an
undisclosed country toward the end of July. The current
number of people on board is approximately 40, but
organizers said this number could grow by the time they
won elections in
an essential measure to stop weapons from reaching Hamas militants.
Rights group Amnesty International has condemned it as
"collective punishment" and UN High Commissioner for Human
Rights Navi Pillay last week said the blockade was illegal
and should be eliminated.
The activists planning the journey said they were shocked
when they heard about the deaths of other activists trying
to deliver aid last week, and were unsure whether they would
reach their target.
"I cannot tell you whether the trip will be a success or if
will get to
world that we don't agree with the blockade," said Lutz.
Richard Hall is a journalist living and working in Beirut,
and the far right. He writes primarily on
affairs, specifically the Israel-Palestine conflict.