ACTION ALERT: New US Relief Ship, ‘The Audacity of Hope,’ Prepares to Sail to Gaza

June 17th, 2011 - by admin

Witness Gaza & US to Gaza – 2011-06-17 01:00:14

Gaza Relief Boat — “The Audacity of Hope” — Prepares to Sail from US

Letter to President Obama
US Boat to

(June 15, 2011) — On June 14, 2011 the passengers on The Audacity of Hope sent this letter to Pres. Obama. Copies went to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and 12 members of the Administration and Congressional leadership.

Call the White House — (202) 456-1111 — and tell them you agree with the letter and expect the US to take action to uphold the rights of peaceful citizens to safe passage on the seas.

Dear Mr. Obama:

We are writing to inform you that 50 unarmed Americans will soon be sailing in a US-flagged ship called The Audacity of Hope as part of an international flotilla to Gaza.

Our peaceful demonstration will challenge Israel’s blockade of Gaza, which has effectively imprisoned 1.6 million civilians, almost half of whom are under the age of 16. The blockade has impoverished the people of Gaza, deprived them of needed materials and supplies to rebuild their lives after the Israeli attack of late 2008 – early 2009, impeded those who are ill or infirm from seeking outside medical aid, and prevented students from seeking education outside of Gaza. 45% of the working age population is unemployed.

In addition to 36 passengers, 4 crew, and 10 members of the press, our boat will carry thousands of letters of support and friendship from people throughout the US to the women, children and men of Gaza.

There will be no weapons of any sort on board. We will carry no goods of any kind for delivery in Gaza. Our mission is from American civil society to the civil society of Gaza. We do not serve the agenda of any political leadership, government or group. We are engaged solely in non-violent action in support of the Palestinian people and their human rights.

In our country’s great tradition of citizen activists taking nonviolent action to stand up to injustice, we sail in the hope that our voyage will show the people in Gaza that they are not alone, and that it will call attention to the morally and legally indefensible collective punishment of a population of civilians.

Mr. President, you have noted the unsustainability of the Gaza blockade. And your administration has spoken boldly in support of peaceful demonstrations throughout this “Arab Spring.”

As US citizens we expect our country and its leaders to help ensure the Flotilla’s safe passage to Gaza — as our country should support our humanitarian demand that the Gaza blockade be lifted. This should begin by notifying the Israeli government in clear and certain terms that it may not physically interfere with the upcoming Flotilla of which the US boat — The Audacity of Hope — is part. We — authors, builders, firefighters, lawyers, social workers, retirees, Holocaust survivors, former government employees and more — expect no less from our President and your administration.

Our boat will sail from the eastern Mediterranean in the last week of June. We shall be grateful to you for acting promptly and decisively to uphold the rights of civilians to safe passage on the seas.


The passengers of The Audacity of Hope

Nic Abramson

Hagit Borer

Linda Durham

Ridgely Fuller

Libor Koznar

Richard Lopez

Carol Murry

Gabe Schivone

Len Tsou

Johnny Barber

Regina Carey

Debra Ellis

Megan Horan

Melissa Lane

Ken Mayers

Robert Naiman

Kathy Sheetz

Alice Walker

Medea Benjamin

Gale Courey Toensing

Hedy Epstein

Kathy Kelly

G. Kaleo Larson

Ray McGovern

Henry Norr

Max Suchan

Paki Wieland

Greta Berlin

Erin DeRamus

Steve Fake

Kit Kittredge

Richard Levy

Gail Miller

Ann Petter

Brad Taylor

Ann Wright


The Honorable Ban Ki-moon, U.N. Secretary General

The Honorable Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State

The Honorable Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State

The Honorable Susan E. Rice, Permanent US Representative to the United Nations

The Honorable James B. Cunningham, US Ambassador to Israel

The Honorable John F. Kerry, Chairman US Senate Foreign Relations Committee

The Honorable Richard G. Lugar, Ranking Member US Senate Foreign Relations Committee

The Honorable Robert P. Casey, Chairman Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs

The Honorable James E. Rish, Ranking Member Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs

The Honorable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman US House Committee on Foreign Affairs

The Honorable Howard L. Berman, Ranking Member US House Committee on Foreign Affairs

The Honorable Steve Chabot, Chairman Subcommittee on Middle East and South Asia

The Honorable Gary L. Ackerman, Ranking Member Subcommittee on Middle East and South Asis

Voyage to Tripoli
Israel Shamir / US to

(June 14, 2011) — This summer there are a few freedom boats going to Gaza, but they appear to be full and cannot take more passengers. Now there is a freedom boat going to Tripoli carrying much needed supplies — mainly food and medicine — to the people of bombed Tripoli.

This city, as we know from first-hand reports of our friend Cynthia McKinney and from other well-established reports, is under NATO bombs, and beside, there is a totally illegal NATO naval blockade. I wish to remind you that — whatever one thinks of Muammar Kaddafi — the UN never authorized a naval blockade of sovereign Libya, so it amounts to act of piracy.

The Russian committee of solidarity with people of Libya and Syria chaired by Prof Baburin — together with other good people, first of all with Rt. Hon Cynthia McKinney – decided to send a boat with humanitarian deliveries to Tripoli, and you are welcome to join the sailing as volunteers, to break this blockade like we break the Gaza blockade.

The person in charge for practical arrangements is Eugene Sandro Primakov, a well-known Russian TV journalist who headed the Israel office of Russian TV for a few years, and is an expert on the Middle East. He is a grandson of the former Prime Minister and the head of Russian Intelligence Service Prof Primakov. He can be contacted on — he is now in Tripoli.

Contact: You may cc me, and/or the Rt Hon Cynthia McKinney — also in Tripoli, her email: We also have one of ISM veterans, Thomas Saffold, email, who participated in the bloody and dangerous campaign of protecting Palestinians in 2001 and 2002.

He wrote: “Palestine will never be free until Americans get serious enough to replicate some of the riskier tactics and strategies of successful human rights movements through the years and defeat Zionism by exposing its ideology and cutting off its money supply.”

Eric Walberg of al Ahram newspaper is also one of the first who are ready to brave the blockade! For him, as for me, and for other participants, the cause of Libya is inseparably connected to the Cause of Palestine. We noticed that the NATO-supported rebels, these al-Kaeda toughs, already expressed their sympathy to the Jewish state, promised to recognize Israel and had sent their embassy to Tel Aviv.

On the other hand, Muammar Kaddafi was the strongest supporter of One State Solution for Israel/Palestine.

Without going as far as actually expressing support for one of the sides in Libyan internal conflict, I certainly and without doubt condemn the NATO aggression and the unwarranted blockade of Tripoli. And besides, a voyage in the Mediterranean will do a lot of good for all of us!