Yonatan Shapira, U.S. Boat to
Gaza Crew Member, Explains Why He Is Involved:
Berlin Boat manifestation in solidarity with Gaza and the Freedom
Berlin, Germany – Sunday 26th June
Today Berlin’s many waterways were used by a few dozen activists to launch a
little flotilla to demonstrate solidarity with Gaza and the upcoming Freedom
Initially just one boat had been organised for
the action but while decorating the vessel, people from the surrounding streets
gathered, other captains asked for the route and reasons for a flotilla in
Berlin, and one captain spontaneously decided to side with the people of Gaza
and the Freedom Flotilla and offered his much bigger boat to go along.
Both boats then travelled down
the famous „Landwehr“ canal, where Rosa Luxemburg was dumped into after being
assassinated by fascists in 1919. While navigating the waterways a band played
from one of the boats and on shore a large group of people accompanied the
boats handing out leaflets and stickers to passerbyes.
People on the riverside and bridges were cheering and waving, calling out chants
We wish you all the best of luck for the Freedom Flotilla II!
By ETHAN BRONNER
government threatened to bar from Israel any foreign journalist who boards a
flotilla scheduled to depart this week that seeks to challenge an Israeli naval
blockade of Gaza.
Short good film on BDS, Challenging Power, now
On July 15, 2010, the Olympia Food Co-op became the first grocery store
in the United States to boycott Israeli products. Challenging Power is a series
of reflections on the decision to boycott, its significance, and the role it
plays in the process of social change.
2011 | Documentary |
18 min | English
o Do you wish to purchase DVD’s on behalf of an
institution, corporation, library, or other official organization? Send us an
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and ask about our institutional rates.
Do you want to
learn more about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for an end to
Take a look at the
Also, pay a visit to
the first grocery store in the US to boycott Israeli products:
postscript: new film “The Roadmap to Apartheid” sent by Ziyaad with
BNC this morning
Report: Group says its responsible for flotilla
Sources in the Shurat Hadin (Israel Law Center) on
Sunday took responsibility for lodging an
anonymous civil complaint against the American-flagged ship, The Audacity of Hope,
which is a part of the flotilla expected to sail towards Gaza later this week,
Army Radio reported.
The complaint, filed to Greek harbormasters, alleged that the boat was not
seaworthy and accused the organizers sailing the ship of
aiding terror, according to the report. Additionally, the organization
reportedly sent letters to 36 American citizens planning on sailing in the
flotilla, warning them that their participation may constitute a violation of American criminal law.
Tell them to let our
To all: By now you’ve no doubt heard the news
about Hillary’s people defining the about to take off Gaza flotilla as a
“provacative act”! Could Obama be getting a bit nervous that he might have to
take a stand? He may be nervous but not as much as the Israeli government that
is throwing everything in the book at them to prevent them from even leaving
the shores. Below is a partial dialogue from the State Dept. press conference
where Matt Lee of the AP was a bit persistent in his questioning. I’m sure
he’ll pay for it in some way but good on him as Molly used to say.
Reporters hector State: Is the blockade legal? What right does Israel have to
‘defend itself’ from humanitarian aid?
by Philip Weiss on June 25, 2011
Matt Lee of AP is on fire. Be like Matt Lee, you docile bovine seven-stomached
beasts of the mainstream media, grow a pair. And it looks like other State
Department reporters are emulating him. Here’s the video . And here’s an
extended excerpt from the briefing, below. Gaza is just about the first order
of business. And listen to Lee’s genius question toward the end about Saudi
Arabian women driving and breaking the law. “It seems to me that’s a
pretty provocative act,” too, but Hillary Clinton defends them. I have to
believe stuff is shaking. Oh brave flotilla, be safe and make it to Gaza!!!!
QUESTION: This morning, Victoria, you put out a statement – or a
statement went out in your name – about the flotilla. This is the third warning
in three days from this building or people in this building about this. What is
the big concern here? Are you – is there a worry that this is going – that this
may upend your efforts to get the peace talks restarted?
MS. [Victoria] NULAND: I think this just continues a year of diplomacy
and public statements that we’ve had making clear that we don’t want to see a
repeat of the very dangerous situation that occurred last year. So we thought
it was timely to put out all in one place our views on this issue, and I do
commend to all of you the very detailed statement that we put out earlier in
QUESTION: Right. But is there a concern that this may have broader – if
it goes ahead, that there may be broader implications for the effort?
MS. NULAND: We have seen some warming in relations between Turkey and
Israel, as we talked about I think it was on Tuesday. We want to see that
effort continue. We want to see those who want to aid humanitarian situation in
Gaza use the appropriate channels. There has been some progress, as the
statement makes clear, in opening the way for more humanitarian aid. More humanitarian
aid is getting in through legitimate channels. So we’d like to see that process
continue and not have a repeat of the dangerous situation we had last summer.
QUESTION: Okay. Well, one of the things that the Secretary said
yesterday in – when – in her comments to this was that attempts to go into
Israeli waters were provocative and irresponsible. And it’s my understanding
that the flotilla organizers do not intend to go into Israeli waters but in –
they will stay in international waters. Is that your understanding or is that
not your understanding per what the Secretary said yesterday?
MS. NULAND: I can’t speak to the intentions of those involved in the
flotilla. I think the Secretary was clear it was in response to a question
MS. NULAND: — as you remember, so that also speaks to the fact that
publicly this issue is out there, that we do not want to see the bad situation
of last year repeated. We do believe that channels exist for providing
humanitarian aid to Gaza in a safe and secure way and that that situation is
improving. And we urge all NGOs who want to participate in that to use those
QUESTION: But does a flotilla sitting in international waters off the
Gaza – off the coast of Gaza, is that a problem for the U.S.?
MS. NULAND: Again, I don’t want to get into the Law of the Sea issues
here. I simply want to say that we don’t want to see a conflict at sea, on
land. We want to see appropriate legitimate channels used for the —
QUESTION: I understand, but in the briefing that just preceded this —
MS. NULAND: Yes.
QUESTION: — you talked about wanting to – in another instance, in the
South China Sea, the U.S. has been very concerned about the freedom of
MS. NULAND: Yeah.
QUESTION: And so I’m not quite sure what the U.S. problem would be with
a flotilla that stays in international waters, whether it’s off the coast of
Gaza or off the coast of the Philippines.
MS. NULAND: I think we’re not talking about a freedom of navigation
issue. We’re talking about appropriate and safe and agreed mechanisms for
delivering aid to the people of Gaza.
QUESTION: So it’s —
MS. NULAND: So I think the statement speaks for it —
QUESTION: Well, but you believe that Israel is within its rights to
defend itself to take on or to prevent ships from going into international
MS. NULAND: Again, I’m not going to speak to international waters,
territorial waters. I’m simply saying that we are encouraging those who want to
aid the people of Gaza to use the channels that have been established.
QUESTION: All right. And then was – on the flotilla – this is on the
Middle East – I just want to know, wondering if there’s any update on the
Quartet meeting in Brussels?
MS. NULAND: Simply that they had a good meeting today, they did begin a
conversation about when they’re going to meet next, and they’re looking to do
that in the next few weeks. But I don’t have any specific announcements out of
the Quartet today.
QUESTION: Is there – is the thought that the next meeting would be at
the principals level or is it going to be, again, at the – at an envoy level?
MS. NULAND: I think decisions have not been made on that subject.
QUESTION: To follow up on —
QUESTION: Just to – this is a follow-up.
MS. NULAND: Are we on flotilla too or are we —
QUESTION: We’re on flotilla. Just to make sure, does the U.S. consider
that blockade legal?
MS. NULAND: I think the main point that we were trying to make in the
statement was that we’ve got to use the channels that are safe, the channels
that are going to guarantee that the aid get where it needs to go to the people
it’s intended for, and to discourage, in strongest terms, any actions on the
high seas that could result in a conflict.
QUESTION: Right, but again, that doesn’t answer the question of the
legality or the – whether the U.S. perceives that blockade as legal or not.
MS. NULAND: I don’t have anything for you on legality here. We can take
a stronger look at that if you’d like, but again, the reason that the Secretary
spoke to this yesterday when she was asked, the reason that we’ve put out this
very fulsome statement that points people in the correct direction, is because
we want to avoid the problems of last year, and we do believe that there are
good and reliable channels for getting assistance to the people of Gaza.
QUESTION: And just one more. I’m sorry. The people who are putting this
together have a rather elaborate website, and they say that – on that that the
U.S. should be protecting the rights of American citizens, protecting their
safety abroad. So that is the argument that they are making. They’re very
disappointed and shocked that the State Department would be warning people off.
What do you say to that?
MS. NULAND: It is in the interest of protecting both Americans and other
citizens from around the world who might be thinking about engaging in
provocative moves like this that we were putting out these warnings so strongly
in the same season where we had this problem last year. We don’t want to see a repeat,
and we do believe that those who want to aid Gaza can do so and need to do so
in the correct manner.
QUESTION: You kept repeating that they have available to them —
MS. NULAND: Yes.
QUESTION: — proper channels and so on. What – could you share with us
some of these proper channels?
MS. NULAND: Well, the Rafah Crossing, as you know, is open again, and we
have seen an uptick in the humanitarian aid that is going through there. There
are also channels through Israel, and we’ve been relatively encouraged that the
flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza through these appropriate channels is
QUESTION: But the Rafah Crossing was only recently opened. I mean, until
then, it was completely closed. So that’s one issue. And another: Could you
clarify for us whether, in fact, the Gaza waters or crossing through the Gaza
waters, is that legal or illegal under the Laws of the Seas and so on? Could
you clarify that, please?
MS. NULAND: I think that’s the same question that Jill was asking. And I
will admit to you I’m not a Law of the Sea expert here, but let me take the
QUESTION: Okay. And a quick follow-up on the Quartet: You said that it
was a good meeting. Now what constitutes a good meeting? How was the, let’s
say, the meeting today different or improved the situation from, let’s say, 24
MS. NULAND: Well, as you saw and as we’ve been discussing here for the
course of the last week, David Hale has been involved very intensively with the
parties, with the regional states. For the members of the Quartet, I think it
was a chance to compare notes on diplomacy that we’ve been doing, on diplomacy
that other members of the Quartet have been doing in our shared effort to get
these parties back to the table. So, from that perspective, there was a lot to
discuss and then to take stock of where to go next.
QUESTION: Can I do a follow-up on the flotilla?
MS. NULAND: Please, yeah.
QUESTION: My understanding is that there were a number of the Americans
who planned to participate and went into your – I believe in your Embassy in
Athens and sought some advice. Can you tell us what the message to them in
person was today?
MS. NULAND: I’m sure that the message to them in person was identical to
the statement that we’ve put out today, that we would ask them to use
established and reliable channels and to refrain from action that could lead to
the kind of difficulty that we saw last year.
QUESTION: When you say that you want – you don’t want a repeat of last
year, you want people to refrain from action that could lead to the kind of
difficulty that you saw last year, does that only apply to the flotilla
organizers or does that also apply to Israel?
MS. NULAND: We’ve been urging all sides, whether it’s the NGOs or whether
it’s governments involved, that we not have a repeat of what happened last
QUESTION: Right. Well —
MS. NULAND: And I think this speaks to the fact that the neighboring
states that – to Gaza have worked hard to establish legitimate mechanisms, efficient
mechanisms to get aid in so that people have a way to do this other than to
risk provocative action.
QUESTION: Another subject?
MS. NULAND: Anybody – anything else on this? Lachlan?
QUESTION: Just one more on this. Yeah. I don’t think you said it, but
people at the State Department have said Israel has a right to defend itself
against these flotillas. What exactly would it be defending against, though?
That’s what’s not clear to me.
MS. NULAND: Like all states, Israel has a right of national
self-defense. Again, I don’t want to get into where the boat might be and Law
of the Sea and all this kind of stuff. We are simply saying this is the wrong
way to get aid to Gaza. The correct way to get aid to Gaza is through the
established mechanisms which are improving, which are open, and which can get
aid to the people that it’s intended for.
QUESTION: But it’s just humanitarian aid, so I don’t see why it would be
– Israel would have to defend itself if it’s just humanitarian aid coming in.
MS. NULAND: It’s the matter of all states to provide coastal defense,
but I’m – again, I’m not going to get into the Law of the Sea issues here.
We’re simply trying to make the point that we want this done in a way that not
only is going to get the aid where it’s intended, but is going to ensure that
we don’t have dangerous incidents.
QUESTION: In general, would you say that the Administration, the U.S.
Government, is – would advise anyone against provocative acts?
MS. NULAND: I think that’s a fair point.
QUESTION: It is. Okay. So you don’t see, when the Secretary comes out in
support of women who want to drive in Saudi Arabia, deliberately violating
Saudi laws and regulations, that – her support of that is – doesn’t mean that
you’re not – I mean, I don’t understand where you – if you’re coming out
against all provocative acts, it seems to me that that’s a pretty provocative
act, and yet she’s supporting that.
MS. NULAND: The Secretary was supporting the right of not only Saudi
women, women around the world, to live as men do. She wasn’t encouraging any
particular course of action one way or the other. She was simply making a
strong public statement of empathy and support for the campaign that these
women are on to have these laws changed.
QUESTION: Okay. So a provocative act in support of the Palestinians in
Gaza is not okay, though?
MS. NULAND: I don’t think we are supporting provocative acts of any
kind. I think you can’t equate these two issues. The Secretary was simply
speaking to the aspirations of Saudi women to have the laws of their country
changed. She wasn’t encouraging any particular course of action for that.
QUESTION: Okay. Let me try and put it a different way, then. You believe
that because there are established – already established means, the Israeli
port where things are inspected and the Rafah Crossing, that in this case,
being provocative is unnecessary and unwise because it’s just not needed; there
are other ways to do it? Is that – that’s the bottom line?
MS. NULAND: That’s certainly the case, and we don’t want further
incidents. It’s not in anybody’s interest.
QUESTION: Is the regular blockade a provocative act?
MS. NULAND: I think we’ve gone as far as we’re going to go on this
QUESTION: I’ll ask again. Is the naval blockade a provocative action?
MS. NULAND: We would consider it provocative and it would be dangerous
to have a repeat of the situation that we saw last year.
QUESTION: But the current existing blockade, the naval blockade of Gaza,
is that provocative action or is it not?
MS. NULAND: As I said, we believe that there are legitimate and
efficient ways to get assistance into Gaza and that those mechanisms are
working and that we’re seeing, as a result of them, an improvement in the
Jill, are we moving on now? Yeah. Thanks. Please, go ahead.