21 thoughts on “Break the Gaza Siege – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Could you quote me a source that says Gaza is short of basic humanitarian things like food and medicine?

    BTW-since you are always questioning my credibility, here is a link to an article showing Obama’s fund raising among the “moneyed elite”. They certainly don’t expect any consideration for their interests in return for the millions they are giving him, right?


  2. Shurat Ha-Din’s article says the letter was sent to USAG Michael Mukasey, not to Jerry Brown. I agree though that its content is absurd on its face.
    To say there are ISM members on board is not the same as claiming a direct affiliation between the project and ISM, it’s just Shurat Ha-Din’s way of saying “boogah boogah”. Among the scores of organisations and individuals, both Jewish and goy, who have endorsed the project are several ISM chapters. So what.

    FGM says the two ships are to be inspected before sailing from Larnaca by third party security specialists in order to assure that no one is sabotaging the
    mission. While Shurat Ha-Din’s article does mention concerns about weapons etc., the phrase “based on prior experience” you quoted is absent. (And here I was thinking of armed Zionist militants infiltrating Mandate Palestine in the 1940s.) The link you provide to that quote is wrong – is there another article I haven’t found yet?

    Why do you say “Wingnut opponents like this make FGM look good by comparison”? Do you think so lowly of FGM that it takes wingnuts like Shurat Ha-Din to make them look good?

  3. @bar_kochba132: Are you arguing that Israel isn’t strangling Gaza by preventing communication, physical access, commerce, etc.? Are you arguing that the economy isn’t a shambles? That access to medical care, especially more acute care, is difficult if not impossible? That ordinary Gazans don’t live under hellish conditions?

    It is even difficult to get humanitarian goods into Gaza. If you review Google you will find many articles about the lack of medical supplies in Gaza & problems w. children facing malnutrition. Again, I don’t do your work for you. You can do that yrself.

  4. @bar_kochba132: You seem to have missed the part of the NY Times article which explained that fully 1/2 of Obama’s funding comes fr. donations under $200 & that 1/3 comes from donations over $1,000. Yes, Obama takes money from corporate interests. Big deal. Do you think he’s going to become Mother Theresa and only take $5 checks from the purely righteous? C’mon. This is an election, not a religious crusade.

  5. Dear Richard,

    As one of over 40 people who will sail aboard the FREE GAZA and the LIBERTY, I can assure you we will carry nothing more dangerous than cameras. Most of us are over 50, and two are over 80 (a Jewish holocaust survivor and a Catholic nun) and there isn’t a one of us who would be a part of this venture if we were not all completely committed to non-violence.

    The boats HAVE sailed, btw, but are not yet in Cyprus due to weather and security issues. Many of our group are already on board, and the rest of us are eager to join them when the vessels arrive here in Cyprus in a few days.

    You wouldn’t know it from reading the LA Times, but there is unbelievable press coverage, and reporters from major media are clamoring to come aboard.

    We fully expect our boats will be blocked at the very least, and we are prepared to be boarded and/or attacked by the Israeli navy. No matter what the Israeli propaganda machine might later claim, we are unarmed and completely nonviolent.

  6. Richard, it is interesting how you “progressives” are quick to overlook failings in your heroes. What difference does it make if half of Obama’s money is coming from small donors, it is the big donors that matter. Don’t you think they expect something in return….or do you really think Obama is going to go to a modern high-tax, high-welfare-spending Great Society/New Deal program in spite of the millions they are giving him? Just like “progressives” overlook the Jeremiah Wright connection and just like all the feminists overlooked Bill Clinton’s treating women (including his wife) like garbage..and all the champions of the “little guy” forgot Clinton’s support for all the cartels and monopolies that were created during his Presidency (so-called “deregulation”) It seems the only things that matter to the “progressives” is that their hero go around mouthing “progressive” cliches.

  7. Mary,
    If I were you, I would worry more about getting caught in the crossfire of the HAMAS-FATAH civil war, and don’t walk under any high building, we don’t want any more handcuffed prisoners thrown off to fall on you people.

    However, should things get “sticky”, like they did for Rachel Corrie’s parents who visited the place where she got killed only to be threatened with kidnapping, you could do like she did and run to Israel to protect you….or just like the 100+ FATAH men who were being chased by the HAMAS militiamen so they ran to the Israeli enemy for protection.

  8. bar_kochba132 – whoever you are

    Read the report “The Gaza Strip: A Humanitarian Implosion.”

    and from the BBC regarding that report:

    “The UK-based groups agree that Israel has the right and obligation to protect its citizens, urging both sides to cease unlawful attacks on civilians.

    But they call upon Israel to comply with its obligations, as the occupying power in Gaza, to ensure its inhabitants have access to food, clean water, electricity and medical care, which have been in short supply in the strip.”

  9. @bar_kochba132:

    As I wrote previously, Obama is running for president of the United States, not for sainthood. I expect him to raise money from any legal source he can. Last I checked trial lawyers & hedge fund managers were still citizens & entitled to give to election campaigns. Obama has already sworn off PAC money. So what would you have him do? Swear off any gift over $10? That’ll be fine w. him & me if you can get McCain to go along. Until then, Obama doesn’t have anything he needs to say to you.

    As for the alleged sins of progressive presidents and candidates, I’ll compare the damage done to our system by your good buddy George Bush to Bill Clinton or Barack Obama anytime. You want to talk politicians beholden to special interests? Great. You know Bush’s sins on that score far outweigh Clinton’s or Obama’s. The past 7 yrs our government has been bought lock stock & barrel by Repubilcan special interests. Policy on the environment, defense, health and energy have practically been dictated by big lobbyists.

    If we compare which party is MORE BEHOLDEN to special interests mine comes out smelling like a rose compared to yours.

    You’re so bitter I do believe it means you’re runnin’ scared.

  10. @bar_kochba132: This is what passes for rapier wit among the pro-Israel apologists. Palestinophobia wrapped up in snark.

    the 100+ FATAH men who were being chased by the HAMAS militiamen so they ran to the Israeli enemy for protection.

    Sometimes you actually write things that are half-way intelligent. But this is just plain dumb. You know that Fatah & Israel are allies. You know that Fatah is so discredited in Gaza (& elsewhere) that the members of the Hilles clan were being routed from Gaza and had nowhere to go but to their Israeli allies for refuge.

    Why in heaven’s name would you claim that Israel is Fatah’s ‘enemy’ when anyone w. eyes in their head knows that Olmert & Abbas have tied the knot & their fortunes.

    And if you think that Mary doesn’t need to be deeply concerned about being shot or sunk by the Israeli navy then you’re orbiting somewhere outside our solar system.

  11. Richard-
    You, like many of the “progressives” I dialogue with, make the mistaken assumption that I am automatically “conservative” or “pro-Bush”. My views on Bush and especially his Iraq war are not far from yours. I do not view Bush as any special “friend of Israel”, I think he has done a lot of damage to Israel’s interests. Although almost everyone in Israel was glad to see Saddam Hussein ousted, because of his Scud-war against us, in addition to his having big celebrations for the families of the suicide bombers, in which they were granted $25,000 each, this does not mean that true “right-wing Israelis” (which we might also call “Jewish nationalists”) thought the American invastion of Iraq was a good idea. No one I knew thought the idea of “bringing democracy” to Iraq would work.
    Also, it is important to note the following:

    True “Jewish Nationalists” are NOT neocons! By this I meant the identification of Israel’s interests with those of the US, or the idea that Israel should be the US’s local sheriff. We are always told that since Israel gets aid from the US, it has to take into account American desires. This is why I am in favor of ending the granting of American financial or military aid to Israel. Israel doesn’t need it and it makes it beholden to them, which is not a healthy relationship between two sovereign states.
    I do not like the neocons, I do not view them as helpful to Israel. They are AMERICANS who may have certain sentiments to Israel, but they put Israels interests as being subordinate to those of the US. As Americans, this is as it should be, but Israelis and American Jews should realize this is the case, and that the idea that they are forcing the US to carry out policies because they are in Israel’s interest is nonsense. They have supported policies detrimental to Israel’s interests.

  12. bar_kochba132,

    “This is why I am in favor of ending the granting of American financial or military aid to Israel. ”

    I’m all with you on that one. And while we’re at it, let’s halt all American vetos of UN Security Council Resolutions
    deemed critical of Israel. It’s time for America to join the world, the real world.


  13. @bar_kochba132:

    In none of the comments I can recall that you’ve written here (& there have been MANY) have you criticized George Bush or any Republican. In MANY of the comments you’ve published here you’ve excoriated Democrats. You clearly have more hostility toward Democrats than Republicans, hence my assumption.

    I would agree that TRUE Jewish nationalists should not be neocons. I had a great deal of respect for Hillel Kook who I knew personally briefly. That was a true, iconoclastic Jewish nationalist. But is Bibi or was Sharon a true Jewish nationalist? I would say they’re more opportunists than nationalists.

    You are wrong about one claim you make concerning the neocons. They DO NOT put Israel’s interests subordinate to those of the U.S. They believe both nations’ interests are one & the same & this is the assumption under which they operate. It is also one of the most pernicious aspects of their world view since 2 independent nations CANNOT by definition have the SAME interests.

  14. You are fortunate to have met Hillel Kook. I did not know him but when he passed away and his family was sitting shiva, I was able to go visit them. His wife was very pleasant and spoke at length with me. You are quite right, he is the definition of a “Jewish nationalist”, and you are also right about Sharon and Netanyahu.

    To be honest, I am very skeptical about all politicians of all parties. When a politician tells someone something personally, he is usually not saying what he really thinks, he is trying to get the person to do something for him, either to vote for him, to give him money or to get his acquaintances to do the same. I guess the reason you have seen me dump on the Democrats more (actually it has primarily been the Clinton’s) is because they are more blatently hypocritical than the Republicans, who are more open about their policies, even the ones we may not like. For example, the feminists defended Bill even though we saw how he treated women, and especially his wife, like garbage. Another was Clinton’s supposed concern for the “little guy” (whom the Republicans don’t claim to care about with their “trickle down” ideology) when at the same thime he encouraged “deregulation” that led to the formation of many cartels and monopolies that are ripping the consumer off. My problem with Obama is his lack of experience but it is his supporters that bother me more, because they are attributing messianic attributes to him that he doesn’t have. I discussed this with a Liberal relative relative of mine and he is convinced that Obama is going to embark on another “tax and spend” Great Society/New Deal program. (I am repeating what I wrote in an earlier comment). People get all excited because he promises “change” but they can’t say exactly what changes he is going to make. The US needs a President who knows what he is doing, not one who makes people “feel better about themselves” (Republicans don’t usually do that…Reagan was an exception, though).

  15. @bar_kochba132:

    I was dating his daughter Astra at the time and, to tell the truth, I understood Kook’s role and beliefs (this was around 1979) to an extent, but I didn’t understand the truly historic role they played in the early State period. I wish I’d known then, what I know now about such things. He & I could’ve had some phenomenal conversations.

    I too am skeptical of politicians, including Democrats. I’ve written critically of Obama here though we’d prob. disagree on the issues for which he needs to be criticized. Perhaps I have a little less skepticism than you about politicians (at least Democrats!).

  16. I haven’t visited this site in a long time but how great to return and learn about the free gaza ships that are sailing!
    Marvelous idea! Shows us what individuals can do.
    I wish it would get some media coverage in the US but I doubt that will happen.

    This news may have also solved a mystery for me. I had read in the news reports this week about Adm. Mullen’s meeting with the Israeli and how the USS LIberty came up in their conservations. I was thinking that it was strange to mention the 40 year ago Israel attack on the Liberty and thought maybe that it was some kind of veiled warning about Israel not having an “accident ” with our ships in the Gulf that could start anything with Iran.

    But now I see that the mention of the USS Liberty may have been about these boats going to Gaza, particulary since one of them is named after the Liberty. I am sure that US officials are watching these boats so maybe the warning was about this and not US navy ships in the Gulf.

    From what I see legally they have a right to enter Gaza by sea so I wonder what Israel will do. If they are smart they won’t try to stop them.

  17. Thanks, Julia. A little more information you might find ineresting. Our boats, the FREE GAZA and the LIBERTY, along with about half of our passengers, are in the water, continuing their voyage to Cyprus, where the rest of us are waiting to board and begin our final leg to break the siege of Gaza.

    Going back to Richard’s original post, I can confirm that the Carter Center did endorse our project. However, they have a policy of not allowing their name to be used in connection with any fundraising efforts, so since we were (gratefully) accepting donations through the PayPal link on our website, we removed the Carter Center from our list of endorsers.
    We are proud of the many who have contacted us to offer their support, including Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire, among others.

    Certainly any claims that the Carter Center was involved in funding the Free Gaza project in any form is completely false.

    Re the LIBERTY connection, we have been contacted by several members of the surviving crew of the original LIBERTY, all expressing full support of our endeavor. We have been asked to buy 34 long stemmed red roses that we will throw into the water as we depart Cyprus, and our plan is to read the name of each crew member who died as we toss a rose into the Mediterranean in his memory.

    We appreciate all the good wishes and messages of support we have received through our website http://www.freegaza.org, and we are astonished at the incredible volume of articles that have appeared around the world (with the exception, of course, of the United States) Four of the passengers are from Los Angeles, and to my knowledge there has been no mention of our project in the LA Times.

    Thank you, Richard, for posting this story, and thank you to those who have posted messages of support.

    Mary in Cyprus

  18. @Mary Hughes-Thompson:

    Thanks Mary for keeping us updated. I especially appreciate yr clarifying the Carter Center’s position & answering the scurrilous charge brought by Shurat Ha-Din. I’m hoping to write about your trip and project for another publication soon. Maybe we can break down a little bit the wall of silence in the U.S. media.

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