On the 24th of August, five passengers of the Audacity of Hope, the US boat to Gaza, gave a reportback on their experiences to a packed house at Busboys and Poets.
The first speaker was Medea Benjamin, who recounted the story of how the US boat was denied permission to sail, sailed anyway-and was then surrounded and menaced by the Greek Coast Guard until the captain threw in the towel. She also reported on the sucesses and failures of the other boats.
Next was Ray McGovern, who brought up two interesting points in particular: One was that South Africans are supporting the Gaza and Palestinian causes because the world helped them with apartheid was in their nation. The other was this: A source reporting to Ray McGovern confirmed that the US State Dept was involved in linking the Greek bailout to strong Greeek action to prevent the Freedom Flotilla ships from sailing! While Hillery Clinton herself was reported to say that she and the entire US state department did not care if the dead bodies of activists floated to shore, apparently they feared that the 11 embedded reporters, one from the New York Times, could share their fate. The bad press that would bring to Israel and to US support for Israel goes without saying.
The of the passengers to speak, a member of the IWW, spoke on the campaign to impose a counter-siege on Israel with global dockworker refusals to load or unload ships going to or from Israel, and of successful limited labor actions of this type, usually for 24 hour periods. The thought of this sort of counter-blockade may be why Israel is now so fearful of the Boycott/Divestsment/Sanctions campaign that a bill to criminalize boycott calls has passed in Israel and is being considered for introduction to the US Congress. Of course, enforcing that has already proven impossible in Israel, with Between the Lines reporting a massive backlash and an increase in calls for boycotts of settler goods.
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