We, the Anti-War Committee, stand firmly with the people of the Free Gaza Flotilla. They were brave people trying to bring aid to the people of Gaza including medicines, food, water purification systems, and prefabricated houses. Their actions were a heroic attempt to break the illegal blockade of Gaza which even Israeli officials have accurately called “economic warfare”. The attack on the Free Gaza Floatilla was not an isolated incident. It is a part of a widespread campaign of the Israeli government with the support of the US to erase the Palestinians and their cause from peoples’ minds.
The Israeli government repeatedly turns away, arrests and detains activists trying to go to Palestine to express solidarity. Two of our committee members were denied entry last August once Israel found out who they were, and what there intentions were for visiting. Katrina Plotz, of the Anti-War Committee members, explains, “The deadly attack on the Free Gaza flotilla is further proof that Israel will do anything to stop concerned citizens of the world from witnessing conditions in occupied Palestine. I was part of a human rights delegation to the West Bank last August. Upon arrival in Tel Aviv, two other anti-war activists and I were denied entry into Israel for ‘security reasons’ which the Israeli authorities refused to explain. We know that they had found out about our plans to visit with Palestinian political groups and that we intended to bring back eyewitness accounts and personal stories from Palestinians suffering under an unjust military occupation that is funded by U.S. tax dollars. To prevent this, Israeli security forces jailed two of us, including myself, when we refused immediate deportation from Israel. We were not allowed to speak to a lawyer and were denied the opportunity to contact friends and family back home. Thousands of other Palestinians and internationals have been denied entry because they oppose Israeli policies. Israel is not a democracy. It is an apartheid state that uses violent methods to deny people their basic human rights and to repress people’s movements for justice by any means necessary. It’s past time for the U.S. to stop giving billions of dollars in military aid to the Israeli government, and to end our complicity with war crimes, piracy, and other blatant violations of international law and human dignity.”
The Israeli government time and time again has tried to hide the truth of what they are truly doing to the Palestinians, especially in Gaza. The people of the world will not forget this massacre! Far too many times does the US allow Israel to get away with mass murder, like the attacks on Gaza in 2008 and on Lebanon in 2006. The Israeli government has offered nothing but excuses for the attack, claiming their soldiers were merely defending themselves after being confronted by the activists on the ship. Evidence from the scene disproves this claim. The 9 men who died were shot a total of 30 times, 5 of them in the back or the back of the head. Autoposy results suggest that most of the victims were shot execution-style at close range, undermining Israel’s claim that its soldiers only opened fire in self-defense. Numerous accounts from eyewitnesses say the soldiers started shooting before any of them boarded the ship.
This is not the first time Israel has responded violently to unarmed activists. Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old American, was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer as she stood in front of a Palestinian home that was about to be demolished in 2003. Palestinians and their supporters should not be blamed for Israel’s crimes against them. Instead, Israel should be held accountable for its actions. Critics of Israel are often accused of being anti-semitic. We are not. We simply refuse to support policies of repression and murder. We are tired of Israel’s justification for its war crimes as justified in the name of “national security” and for Israel’s attacks on anyone who criticizes their actions as anti-Semitic or terrorist.
Please call your member of Congress today to say no more aid to Israel. The blockade on Gaza is illegal. It must be challenged and we need to support the people who do. We need to seize on this unique moment and challenge the U.S. unconditional support for Israel. Also please come to the Coalition for Palestinian Rights protest on June 30th at the annual AIPAC meeting.
Contact your senator and representative to say NO more aid to Israel!
- Senator Amy Klobuchar: ?(202) 224-5641
- Senator Al Franken: ?(202) 224-5641
- Representative Keith Ellison: (202) 225-4755
- Representative Betty McCullom: (202) 225-6631