Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Latest News from US Boat to Gaza

The following message comes from our member group, US Boat to Gaza...

Dear friends,
We are in the final push to launch The Audacity of Hope on its trip to Gaza with the international Freedom Flotilla -- Stay Human, and we need your support and help more than ever.  The international flotilla will sail the third week of June from a number of European ports.

Although Egypt has announced plans to ease passage into Gaza through the Rafah border, Israel's naval blockade remains a noose for Gaza -- blocking fishing, exports, and normal trade.  Our mission to confront that blockade, and Israel's use of force against 1.5 million people,  is as important as ever.

"The situation in Gaza is beyond words. There is no possible justification for the ongoing U.S. support for Israel's illegal and immoral acts against the people of Gaza and all of occupied Palestine. It's our obligation to show our support to the Palestinian people struggling for sovereignty, and to act in opposition to the relentless horror. The U.S. Boat to Gaza is a beautiful, tangible movement showing that we, as people will move through the waters to make freedom real."  -- Kathy Engel, poet, professor, activist

We have purchased our boat, which will carry at least 50 people, and it is now being prepared for the voyage. Our passengers are raising the money they each will need to get to the port of embarkation and to cover their personal expenses.  They are organizing their local support groups and preparing a press blitz.  (There's no better story than one with a local angle).

As writer and Pulitzer prize winner Alice Walker says, "This is the Freedom Ride of this era."  Click here for her video comments.

There are a number of ways you can help:
  1. We will carry a cargo of thousands of messages from the people of this country to the people of Gaza.  Help us get these letters. It's a great way to reach out to people who are not already involved in Palestine solidarity and to give them a stake in the safe passage of The Audacity of Hope and the entire international Freedom Flotilla -- Stay Human. These letters don't need to be long.  Just ask people to write what is in their hearts. 

    There is more information on the campaign on our website. 

    Ask your friends to write.  Post a request for letters on your Facebook page -- reach as many people as you can. We hope you'll mail your original letters to us, but it's also possible for you to send us your messages via email.  All the information you need is on our website. Click here.
  2. Over 100 peace and justice groups, including the US Boat to Gaza campaign, Women for Peace, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the US Campaign to End the Occupation, and CodePink are organizing an amazing event in Washington, DC May 21-24 -- Move Over AIPAC!  It's AIPAC we have to thank for U.S. support for Israel's brutal "Operation Cast Lead" attack on Gaza at the end of 2008.  It's AIPAC that persuaded Congress to reject and condemn The Goldstone Report documenting Israeli war crimes during that attack.  And it's AIPAC that drafted the Congressional resolution stating support for Israel's murderous attack on last year's Freedom Flotilla to Gaza, killing 9 unarmed civilians (among them one American citizen).

    So, we encourage you to come to DC during all or some of these four days of workshops, demonstrations, and lobbying.  We'll be shining a spotlight on AIPAC's heinous role in maintaining the siege of Gaza and showing our government that there's plenty of support for the US boat  The Audacity of Hope.  When you sign up on the Move Over AIPAC website be sure to tell them you heard about it from US to Gaza.
  3. If you are nearby, click on the dates to get your tickets to events in Oakland, CA, today May 10 and New York City, May 25 supporting the US Boat to Gaza.  On May 10, world renowned jazz saxophonist Gilad Atzmon will give a concert and talk to benefit the Bay Area passengers who will be on board The Audacity of Hope.  On May 25, the US Boat to Gaza will host a sunset river cruise to christen The Audacity of Hopeand to introduce some of the passengers who will sail to Gaza as part of the Freedom Flotilla - Stay Human.
  4. Send congratulations to our Canadian friends at Canadian Boat to Gaza who have just purchased their 45 person boat --  Tahrir -- that will sail to Gaza as part of the international flotilla.
  5. And, now that the weather is warmer, don't forget to order a US Boat to Gaza t-shirt from us!  Click here.
Please share this message widely.