Thu, June 23, 2011 | The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
Organizers of Freedom Flotilla 2 Face Difficulties
The Upcoming Flotilla to the Gaza Strip Update (June 22, 2011): The organizers of Freedom Flotilla 2 face difficulties but are determined to dispatch the flotilla, even with fewer ships than originally planned, despite its lack of world legitimacy and in the face of political pressure and technical difficulties.
Latest Developments (as of June 22, 2011)
IHH head Bülent Yildirim recently announced that due to technical difficulties, the Mavi Marmara would not sail with the other ships in the upcoming flotilla. The participation of the Turkish cargo ship was also canceled.
Yildirim denied that the difficulties were political. He said the Turkish government had not asked IHH to cancel Turkish participation the flotilla that that the reasons for the cancelation were purely technical. He added that some of the Turkish participants would sail on other ships but that he himself would not participate in the flotilla because of his strong spiritual connections to the Mavi Marmara (Hürriyet, June 27, 2011). However, it is not clear whether the more moderate participants will permit operatives belonging to IHH and other radical Islamist organizations sail with them.
The other organizations announced that they were planning to sail despite the lack of IHH participation.
1) According to an announcement issued by the Free Gaza Movement (FGM), the main umbrella network behind the flotilla, the Mavi Marmara’s cancellation meant that the flotilla was not Turkish-Islamic in nature, as Israel claimed. Hundreds of participants, it said, and dozens of organizations from all over the world would participate, far more than in the first flotilla, even without the Turkish ship (FGM website, June 16, 2011).
2) Rami Abdo, a spokesman for the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG, one of the networks organizing the flotilla), said that a meeting [held by the flotilla's steering committee] in Istanbul on June 20, decided that the flotilla would set sail on June 25, as originally planned. He said the organizers did not want to reveal the number of participants until all administrative arrangements had been finalized (Radio Sawt al-Quds, June 21, 2011). In addition, the organizers of the flotilla in France said that a French ship (or two) would sail in the flotilla, contrary to a previous announcement.
The flotilla organizers claim that 10 of the planned 15 ships have already been acquired (Hürriyet, June 19; Agence France-Presse and The Toronto Star, June 20, 2011). In reality, the number of ships now available to the organizers may be smaller. According to the various announcements, there will be 500 to 600 passengers and the flotilla will set sail from the region of Greece on or around June 25-28. Some of the delegations (from the United States and Canada, for instance) flew to the region to join the ships anchored there (the Canadian delegation arrived in Greece on June 20). Some of the delegations were supposed to receive training in “passive resistance” tactics in view of possible scenarios for the flotilla.
The Significance of the Current Situation
The significance of the current developments is the following:
1) Apparently, the flotilla’s organizers who do not belong to IHH are still planning to go ahead, although on a smaller scale than previously planned, with the participation of Western (American, Canadian, European and Australian) anti-Israeli networks. It is not known whether IHH activists will sail on the Western ships (which in our assessment are at full capacity) as announced by Bülent Yildirim, or whether the entire organization will not participate in the current flotilla. In any event, even if IHH activists do sail, their presence will be small and symbolic, as opposed to the central part they played in the previous flotilla.
2) Even if the flotilla does take place, there will be a significant difference between its original plan and final format. Since the previous flotilla, the organizers have been acting to dispatch an upgraded flotilla of 15 vessels whose flagship would be the Mavi Marmara. Their objective was to magnify the flotilla’s propaganda effect and set a new high point in their anti-Israeli campaign, while making it difficult for Israel to respond to the challenge. In effect, there will be fewer ships than planned.
3) In addition, the flagship Mavi Marmara, which became a symbol and was supposed to carry a significant number of participants, will not sail. Moreover, during the political propaganda campaign which has been waged in recent months, the organizers faced a number of setbacks which eroded the legitimacy for flotilla as far as world opinion was concerned (reservations were expressed openly by the Secretary-General of the UN, the United States, the European Union and various Western countries). Thus the flotilla may set sail with a certain diminished public standing, for the organizers, may be seen as involving a certain risk, although the loss of prestige (and possible also of money) in cancelling it would be greater (at least at this point).
4) The announcement made by the IHH leader changed the flotilla’s character. It will no longer be dominated by Turkish Islamists, but rather led by Western anti-Israeli networks which have been joined by social activists and human rights activists who identify with the Palestinian cause (although Arab-Muslim activists are also expected to participate, for example in the British delegation). The aforementioned situation will mean the following:
A) Rather than IHH, two umbrella networks which participated with IHH in the current (and previous) flotilla will now be prominent: the Free Gaza Movement (FGM), anchored in America’s radical left, affiliated with the US Boat to Gaza, which plans to send 50 passengers on a ship called The Audacity of Hope; and the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG), based in Britain and including Arab-Islamic activists, some of whom are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. They may be joined by a group of Arab extremists dominated by Jordanians (See below).
B) In our assessment, without Bülent Yildirim (assuming that he really will not participate), leadership of the flotilla will pass to the senior leaders of the FGM and ECESG. The FGM’s three leading figures are Huwaida Arraf (American with an Israeli Arab father and Palestinian mother), her husband Adam Shapiro (American, Jewish) and Greta Berlin (supposed to sail on board the American ship). The ECESG’s leaders are Amin Abu Rashad (Holland), Arafat Madi Mahmoud Shukri (Britain) and Rami Abdo (Britain). So far it is unclear on which ships the flotilla leadership will sail (in the previous flotilla command was located aboard the Mavi Marmara).
C) In our assessment the change in the flotilla’s character will also change the type of action the participants take. The extreme, organized violence instigated by IHH will be exchanged for tactics of passive resistance, in which Western activists are experienced, or by extreme violence instigated by the Arab group, which is radical and potentially more dangerous than the others. The presence of activists who participated in previous convoys and flotillas and gained experience in anti-Israeli activities in the Palestinian Authority-administered territories may inspire a physical confrontation with IDF soldiers, even if in public the flotilla organizers stress their commitment to nonviolence. Some of the participating delegations (the Canadian delegation, for instance) received a short training course (two days or so) in the tactics of passive resistance.
D) Belonging to the Western networks are well-known public figures and celebrities, many media personnel, Jews (especially in the American delegation), politicians, human rights activists and social activists. Their presence can be expected to be highlighted (as was done by the FGM) to stress the flotilla’s humanitarian character and to show that it is not composed of Islamist extremists, as Israel claims. The objective is to make points in the media campaign (which will also be waged during the flotilla) and to make it difficult for Israel to halt the flotilla.
5) Recent developments brought into prominence IHH’s dependence on the Turkish government, in contrast to the independent decisions made by the Western anti-Israeli networks: IHH has been forced to accommodate the Turkish government’s foreign policy considerations, and internal Turkish affairs (the elections) forced the sailing date to be postponed to the end of June. In the final analysis those considerations forced IHH to waive the participation of the Mavi Marmara (and not, as claimed, “technical difficulties,” “the events in Syria,” or the opening of the Rafah crossing, which made the flotilla less significant). However, Western NGOs are less dependent on governmental support and they still plan to dispatch the flotilla, despite reservations held by the international community. Nevertheless, Turkey apparently continues as an important focus for flotilla organizing activities (the flotilla’s steering committee met in Istanbul on June 20, 2011).
6) The flotilla’s objectives are geared toward political propaganda and not humanitarian objectives. While the organizers openly state that their objective is to lift the so-called “siege” of the Gaza Strip and bring supplies to the Gazans, the humanitarian assistance on board the ships will apparently be limited. For example, the American organizers have declared that most of their cargo will consist of thousands of letters written by Americans all over the country in support of and to identify with the Gazans. The previous flotilla as well brought only a small cargo of humanitarian assistance. It is another illustration of the fact that the true objectives of the flotilla are political, merging with the objectives of the campaign to delegitimize Israel: defamation of Israel in international public opinion, isolating Israel, complicating Israel’s diplomatic relations with various countries and making it difficult for Israel to wage its war on terrorism (without inspection of the cargos there is nothing to prevent the ships from bringing weapons to the Gaza Strip). To increase the flotilla’s media impact the organizers will accompany it with protests in various locations in Western countries, and perhaps even in the Arab countries and the Palestinian Authority-administered territories.
7) There is an issue of Arab-Muslim participation, whose scope and nature are currently unclear. Wael al-Saqa, chairman of the Jordan LifeLine committee, recently said that negotiations for purchasing an Arab ship were in their “final stages.” It was also reported that a representative of the committee went to Greece in the middle of June to conduct the purchase of a ship (Watan News, June 15, 2011). [Note: On June 25 the Kuwaiti News Agency reported that the Jordanian committee announced it had signed for the purchase of a boat at the cost of €560,000, which would carry 70 Arab passengers. According to the announcement, it is registered to a company named Nur, which was set up by Arab investors for Arab participation in the flotilla.] However, the cancellation of the Mavi Marmara’s participation may create difficulties for some of the Arab delegations which planned to sail with it. So far apparently Arab-Muslim participation will be smaller in comparison to the previous flotilla.
1) Partial information about the ships expected to participate in the flotilla.
2) Partial information about the participants from Western Europe, Canada, Australia and the United States.
[Note: At this point we cannot comment on the Arab-Muslim participants.]
Partial Information about the Ships Expected to Participate in the Flotilla
The flotilla organizers, who are maintaining a front of “business as usual” even after the Mavi Marmara cancellation, have stated that 10 of the 15 ships are ready to sail. In actuality the number is likely to be smaller because of various logistic and political difficulties. In any event, it is clear that participation will be less that what the planners had hoped for.
What follows is an interim summary of information based on open sources, including websites and Facebook pages, about the ships expected to participate in the flotilla. The information is not complete and every ship may not necessarily participate (as in the previous flotilla). Some of the networks still face difficulties, and various changes may be made (cancellations, addition, the merging of some of the delegations).
Information about the Ships
The information so far is the following:
1) The American ship: The ship is to be named The Audacity of Hope, after the book written by Barack Obama in 2006. It is supposed to set sail from a port in the Middle East during the last week in June. Its organizers, the US Boat to Gaza, sent a letter to President Obama with a copy to the Secretary-General of the UN. It stated that the ship, which would fly the American flag, would have 36 passengers, four crew members and 10 media personnel, all of them unarmed (a total of about 50). A large percentage would be Jewish (28%) and the ship’s cargo would consist of about 3000 letters from Americans to Gazans, expressing friendship and solidarity. No merchandise of any kind would be on board (US Boat to Gaza website, June 14, 2011, and statements made by the organizers).
2) A ship called Tahrir (“Liberation,” possibly named after Tahrir Square in Cairo, the focus of the demonstrations in Egypt): The ship will carry the delegations from Belgium, Australia, Canada and Denmark. It was purchased at a cost $350,000 and was registered at the beginning of May. The ship is relatively small, 25 meters (82 feet) and can carry about 45 passengers. Reportedly there will be 21 Canadians, 10 Danes, Belgians and Australians, and six media personnel (Toronto Star, June 20, 2011). It is supposed to sail from Greece. Its website posted an appeal for contributions of second-hand communications equipment, including satellite phones, computers, cameras, tape recorders and flash disks. An appeal was also posted for the names of contact people in Greece, the Gaza Strip and Israel who could be notified upon arrival or in case of emergency (tahrir.ca website, June 19, 2011).
3) A Dutch-Italian ship called Open Gaza/Stefano Chiarini: The boat cost €290,000 and was apparently purchased in Genoa. It will fly the Comoro Islands flag and bears the name of a pro-Palestinian, pro-Hamas Italian activist.
4) A Swiss-German, and possibly also Italian ship: The ship will carry activists from Switzerland and Germany, and is supposed to sail from the German port of Hamburg, joining the other ships in the flotilla in the region of Greece at the end of June. Its cargo will consist of medical equipment. It will be led by Professor Udo Steinbach, a well-known German expert on the Middle East (Hurriyetdailynews.com website, June 5, 2011).
5) A French ship: The French network purchased a ship a number of weeks ago after having collected €600,000, and will be called the Suliman 1 (Virgindivers.com website, June 20, 2011). [Note: The name was apparently changed to Dignity.) After pressure was exerted by political organizations and various groups, particularly Jewish organizations, insurance companies refused to insure the ship and it was denied permission to anchor in the port of Marseilles. As a result the organizers announced that the French ship would not sail in the flotilla. However, after IHH announced that the participation of the Mavi Marmara had been cancelled, the organizers in France changed their minds and said the ship would sail with 25 passengers on board, departing from Greece. It may be accompanied by another ship which will set sail from a French port with 15 passengers aboard (Le Monde, June 18, 2011).
6) A Greek-Swedish-Norwegian ship: The ship is apparently called the Tamara (formerly called the Sofia).
7) An Irish ship: The ship is named Saoirse, which means “freedom” in Gaelic. It will carry a cargo of medicine and sports equipment, and is expected to join the other ships on or around June 27 (ISG website, June 20 2011).
8) A Spanish ship (two ships, according to some versions): The ship may be given the name Guernica, after the Spanish city attacked by the Germans and Italians planes during the Spanish Civil War, immortalized by Picasso (Rumboagaza.org website, June 19, 2011). The coordinator for the ship announced that it would carry 50 Spanish volunteers.
9) A (possible) Scots ship: There may be a cargo ship purchased for the Scots delegation with Swiss-German aid. Its proposed name is Discovery 2. According to an unconfirmed report, the ship has already left Scotland and will join the other ships at a meeting point in the Mediterranean on June 27 or 28.
10) A (possible) Malaysian ship: According to a report on the flotilla’s website a Malaysian ship is also supposed to join. It is unclear whether such a ship has already been purchased. [Note: It may be the M/V Finch, anchored in the port of El Arish.]
Partial Information about the Participants from Western Europe, Canada, Australia and the United States
Most of the European organizations have not yet issued full lists of flotilla participants. They maintain opacity regarding the subject and are waiting until the last minute to reveal names (apparently to prevent them from being exposed to pressure). Thus information is partial and tentative. It is possible that some of the activists who stated they would participate will cancel, and it is also possible that others will join.
Prominent among the delegations from Western countries are those from Spain, which is supposed to number 60; America, 50; France, 30 (possibly more if passengers who were supposed to sail aboard the Mavi Marmara join the French ship; Britain, more than 30; Ireland, about 25; Norway, 20; and Canada, 32.
The Belgian Delegation
The there will be four passengers in the Belgian delegation, who will sail aboard the Tahrir. According to the delegation’s website, other Belgian citizens may sail aboard the Italian-German ship.
The names of the members of the Belgian delegation are (Belgiumtogaza website, June 9, 2011):
1) Asmaa Sheba, born 1973, professional photographer. Arrived in Belgium at the age of five with her mother, sister and brother to join the father. Went to the Gaza Strip with a Viva Palestina convoy. Pictures she took in the Gaza Strip were exhibited in Paris and London.
2) Yannick Vanonckelen, born 1969, nurse, a member of the Plate-forme Charleroi-Palestine, a pro-Palestinian organization based in the Belgian city of Charleroi, which advocates boycotts of Israel.
3) Guido Gorissen, born 1960, doctor. Visited Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, where he met with Yasser Arafat. Member of the FGM, and of Medicine for the People, an organization located in Hoboken, New Jersey.
4) Jusy Dubie, born in Brussels, 1940. Correspondent and filmmaker. Was a senator and worked in the UN. Known for her strong criticism of the Belgian royal family.
Another passenger, whose name was mentioned in the past, is Fatima El Mourabiti, of Algerian origin, born 1983, psychologist. Sailed aboard the Mavi Marmara and participated in the Viva Palestina convoy.
The Danish Delegation
The Danish delegation of between five and ten members will sail aboard the Tahrir. Two of them are:
1) John Ekebjaerg Jakobsen, chairman of the scaffolding industry workers’ union and spokesman of the Rebellion association.
2) Adam Qvist, born 1988 in Copenhagen, where he lives, except for a few years spent in the United States and Saudi Arabia. Has a degree in Arabic and is an FGM activist in Denmark. Coauthor of a novel called City Might Fall (2008). Human rights activist, especially in the field of family planning. Visited Judea and Samaria in 2000 and 2007.
The Swiss Delegation
There will be 15 Swiss nationals aboard the Swiss-German ship. Six or seven of them apparently media personnel; three members of the Swiss National Council cancelled their participation (Website of the Swiss network, June 22, 2011).
The German Delegation
The German intention was to dispatch a ship carrying a cargo of humanitarian assistance and German parliamentarians and academicians (Germany-Gaza.de website). We do not have information about the participants. One representative of Germany will join the Tahrir. Hamis Kar was mentioned as heading the German network (Kuwaiti News Agency, June 17, 2011).
Two media personnel from Germany and Sweden, respectively, Peter Wolter and Henning Mankell, may be passengers aboard the Swiss-German ship.
The Italian Delegation
The Italian delegation purchased a ship and the Dutch delegation may sail with it. We do not have the names of the members of the Italian delegation.
The Dutch Delegation
The Dutch network is expected to send a cargo ship to the flotilla with passengers including Dutch politicians, academicians and activists (Nederland-gaza.nl website). It is also possible that they will join the Italian delegation.
The members of the Dutch delegation include:
1) Benji de Levie, delegation spokesman, resident of Rotterdam.
2) Nordin El Ouali, raised contributions for the flotilla, no other information available.
3) Manu Kerstetter, raised contributions for the flotilla, no other information available.
The French Delegation
According to the organizers, the list of French participants in the delegation is not yet final, but there will be about 30 individuals. Sixty to eighty French activists were supposed to sail aboard the Mavi Marmara, and it is not known whether they will join other ships. The organizers say that there will be four members of the European and French parliaments, trade union leaders, political leaders and members of organizations like Cimade, France Palestine Solidarité, CGT (a national French trade union organization), and MRAP (an anti-racist organization) (Le Figaro, June 17, 2011). The names of eight participants have not yet been made public, to prevent them from being subjected to pressure (Unbateaupourgaza.fr website).
The following are activists in the campaign to dispatch the boat (it is not currently known whether they will sail):
1) Thomas Sommer Houdeville, member of the CCIPPP (The Civilian Campaign for the Protection of the Palestinian People), most of whose activities are held in France. Wrote a book about the previous flotilla called La Flotille. Has been in Greece for the past three months organizing the flotilla.
2) Nicole Kill Nielsen, born 1949, feminist activist and anti-nuclear activist since the 1960s. Member of the French parliament representing the Green Party. Said she would enter the Gaza Strip through Egypt as part of a group of European parliamentarians to meet the boat passengers in the Gaza Strip.
3) Claude Leostic, one of the flotilla’s organizers.
4) Olivier Besancenot, member of the French NPA (New Anti-Capitalist Party), established 2009. The party operates to promote the interests of the Palestinians and to boycott Israel. According to its spokeswoman, the party will be well-represented on the flotilla.
5) Jean-Paul Lecoq, NPA communist deputy from le Havre.
6) Jean-Louis Jean(?), from Bretagne.
7) Alain Bosc, member of Cimade (a veteran French NGO which has been working to promote the interests of immigrants and refugees since the Second World War).
8) Maxime Guimberteau, responsible for the French ship’s media.
The Greek Delegation
An event was scheduled to be held in honor of the Greek delegation in Greece on June 21. No information is available about its members. One name mentioned as a participant is that of a Greek activist named Dimitris Plionis.
The Spanish Delegation
The Spanish delegation may be the largest, with 60 activists expected to sail. They include heads of labor unions, politicians and representatives of Spain’s leading media. The participants were carefully chosen, based on their experience in international organizations and social activities, knowledge of the Middle East in general and the Palestinian issue in particular, and the ability to work as part of a team (Canalsur.es website, June 10 2011). Nine of the delegation members represent the region of Andalusia, in the south of Spain.
Among the participants are:
1) Manuel Espinar Tapial, born 1974, president of Culture Peace and Solidarity, an NGO involved in organizing the flotilla. It was founded in Madrid in 1996 by labor unions and social and cultural activists to dialogue with movements around the globe, including those dealing with the “Palestinian refugees.” It has branches throughout Spain. In the previous flotilla he sailed aboard the Mavi Marmara.
2) Laura Arau Crusellas, born 1980, secretary of the Culture Peace and Solidarity branch in Catalonia. In the previous flotilla she sailed aboard the Mavi Marmara.
3) Zohar Chamberlain Regev, born 1970, Israeli, has lived in Spain for the past seven years, where he manages a bar. Twice visited Judea and Samaria and demonstrated against the security fence. Visited the Gaza Strip in 2000. At the end of 2009 went to Cairo to participate in a demonstration to “liberate” the Gaza Strip. Serves as spokesman for Union Andaluz de Trabajadores.
4) Willy Meyer Pleite, born in Madrid, 1952. Spanish politician. Member of the Spanish parliament representing the Left and Green Parties.
5) Canamero Diego, leader of an agricultural union in Andalusia. Has been tried in court for his activities.
6) Jose Escribano(?), member of a pro-Palestinian organization in Gibraltar. Writer, newspaper correspondent.
7) Inaki Errazkin, born 1956, writer, human rights activist.
8) Jose Manuel Pineda, no details available.
9) Alberto Garcia, no details available.
10) Andres Gonzalez, no details available.
11) Manuel Garcia, no details available.
12) Carmen Salavert, has been an international social activist for the past three decades. Member of a Latin American committee dealing with documentation and solidarity. First visited Judea and Samaria in 2002. Often goes to the Gaza Strip.
Other names include:
1) Alberto G. Watson, no details available.
2) Rafael Lara, spokesman for the Human Rights Association in Andalusia (unclear whether he will join the flotilla or simply works for the organization).
3) Lorenzo Benites, communications director.
4) Santiago Alba Rico, philosopher.
5) Willy Toledo, actor.
6) Alberto San Juan, actor.
7) Jose Antonio, no details available.
The Irish Delegation
The Irish delegation includes about 25 activists, among them members of the parliament, politicians, and trade union members from both Northern and Southern Ireland (Agence France-Presse, June 20, 2011). Dr. Fintan Lane, coordinator for the Irish network, said that activists in the second flotilla would make it difficult for the Israelis to take over the ships. He said (according to the Irish network’s website) that “If they attempt to abroad the ship we will non-violently impede their progress. We will not facilitate their boarding party,” adding that “We will not lay hands on them, we will not use physical measures against them. But we will lock down the ship and make it difficult to seize control (ITIC emphasis).”
The Irish delegation will include:
1) Dr. Fintan Lane, comes from the region of Cork City, lives in Dublin. Coordinator of the Irish Ship to Gaza. Participated in the Mavi Marmara flotilla. Member of the FGM. Historian, wrote a number of books about Irish history.
2) Gerry Maclochlainn, member of the Sinn Fein party from Derry. Former mathematics teacher. Studied mathematics and philosophy. Was a political prisoner in Britain. After his release he ran the Sinn Fein office in London. Pro-Palestinian activist. In 2009 participated in a convoy to the Gaza Strip and was a cofounder of the Friends of Palestine, an organization established in his city. Returned to the Gaza Strip with the mayor of Derry to begin a twinning process between Derry and Khan Yunis. Activist for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. One of the heads of the Irish flotilla network.
3) Fianna Fail, no details available.
4) Chris Andrews, from Dublin, formerly a politician. Activist for Palestinian rights. Will be a member of the ship’s crew. Was prevented from boarding a boat in the previous flotilla by the Cypriote authorities.
5) Trevor Hogan, from Dublin, international rugby player, recently retired. Wants to bring sports equipment to the Gaza Strip and hopes to set up a rugby team there.
6) Hugh Lewis, from Dublin, holds a degree in documentary filmmaking, member of People Before Profit and the Irish Anti-War Movement.
7) Jim Roche, from Dublin, architect. Teaches architecture in Dublin. Peace activist since 2001. Member of the Irish-Palestinian solidarity campaign and the Irish Anti-War Movement. Was in Judea and Samaria in 2007 and 2008. Supports the BDS campaign against Israel.
8) Chris Andrew, from Dublin, activist for Palestinian political rights. Was prevented from boarding a boat in the previous flotilla by the Cypriote authorities.
9) Paul Murphy, from Dublin, leftist activist for workers and the unemployed.
10) Felim Egan, from Dublin, considered an international artist, with more than 50 solo exhibitions. Won a UNESCO prize in 1993. Slated as a crew member.
11) Rik Walton, professional photographer, born and raised in northeast Britain, moved to Ireland in 2009. Focuses on music, theater and live performances, worked in African countries including Ghana, Zambia and Mozambique. Exhibited in a number of galleries in Britain and Ireland. His pictures have appeared in many books and magazines.
12) Mags O’Brien, from Dublin, trade union activist, active member of the Labour Party. Member of an organization calling itself the Trade Union Friends of Palestine.
13) Gerard Barron, works in electronics, member of the Irish-Palestinian solidarity campaign. Active in many anti-racist campaigns. Claims to work against what he calls Israel’s “apartheid policy.”
14) Zoe Lawer, teaches at Limerick University. Has visited Judea and Samaria, for the first time in 2005, as a member of the national committee of the Irish-Palestinian solidarity campaign.
15) John Mallon, from Belfast, leading member of the Irish Friends of Palestine and the Belfast branch of Irish Ship to Gaza. Activist for Irish prisoners. Involvement with Palestinians began after the Mavi Marmara flotilla.
16) Chalie McMenamin, from Derry, member of the Derry Friends of Palestine and volunteers for community work. Activist for prisoners and prisoners of war. Sued the British government in 2007 for the tortures he endured at the age of 16; he won the case. In 2007 came to Israel and the Palestinian Authority-administered territories on a study visit.
17) Philip McCullough, from Belfast, correspondent with a Belfast media group. Has visited South Africa.
18) Hussein Ahmed, of Libyan origin, a resident of Dublin. Ran as an independent candidate in the last elections in Dublin. Acts for building relations among various ethnic groups.
The crew will include:
1) Shane Dillon, from Dublin, captain of the ship. Was aboard the Challenger 1 in the last flotilla. Works for the Irish Coast Guard.
2) John Hearne, represents the Sinn Fein in the city council of Waterford. Was formerly a fisherman and construction worker. Former president of the builders’ union.
3) Pat Fitzgerald, represents the Sinn Fein in the city council of Waterford. Owns an engineering firm and was a fisherman and sailor. Authorized fireman and first aid provider.
The Norwegian Delegation
The Norwegian delegation is expected to include 20 representatives; no details are available about them. Several politicians have expressed interest, some of whom are:
1) Gerd von der Lippe, born 1942, teaches sports sociology, is a journalist and writer. Has a doctorate in the sociology and history of sports; has written several books.
2) Jeff F. Christensen, member of the Labour Party.
3) Renate Stine, born 1984. Politician, has represented the Labour Party in the Norwegian parliament since October 2009.
4) Akhtar Chaudhry, born 1961, of Pakistani origin. Arrived in Norway in 1982. Politician representing the Socialist Left Party. Fourth vice president (deputy speaker) of the Norwegian parliament.
5) Haida Tajik, member of the Labour Party. Has not yet decided to participate in the flotilla.
6) Anette Trettebergstuen, born 1981. Politician, member of the Labour Party. Has not yet decided to participate in the flotilla.
The Swedish Delegation
The Swedish delegation is expected to include 16 representatives:
1) Faraj Abu Iseifan, born in the city of Fridlevstad in 1983. Member of the SSU’s federal executive; was a candidate for presidency. Member of the Olof Palme International Center.
2) Jabbar Amin, born 1959 in Iraqi Kurdistan. Green Party representative in the parliament. Contributes to newspapers. Wrote a book about political integration. Holds a degree in political science from a Swedish university.
3) Johannes Anyuru, poet, singer, playwright.
4) Kalle Larsson, born near Gothenburg in 1969. Active in leftist organizations since the early 1990s. Was among the founders of a leftist student organization. Active mainly in the field of human rights, against racism, discrimination and anti-refugee policies, and in various other social issues. Lives in Norway and works in photography and simulation.
5) Asa Andersson, administrative director of the Swedish Society of Nursing.
6) Henry Ascher, born 1953; Jewish. Professor in the Nordic School of Public Health in Göteborg. Specializes in the fields of refugees, emigration and health. His parents fled to Sweden as refugees during the Second World War. His father’s family was killed in the war. Since the 1970s he has been active in promoting a “just peace” between Israel and the Palestinians. A member of an organization calling itself Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace. One of the writers of a manifesto against Ariel Sharon and what he called the “killing in Jenin” in 2002. Sailed aboard the Mavi Marmara in May 2010.
7) Niklas Berg, works for the Palestine Solidarity Association in Sweden, an organization numbering about 1,000 activists.
8) Maria-Pia Boethius, born 1947, writer, journalist and active in the feminist cause. Has written a number of books about feminism.
9) Mattias Gardell, born 1959, married, three children. Professor of religion and
social psychology at Uppsala University. Formerly an anarchist but currently prefers to define himself as a liberal socialist. Spokesman for Ship to Gaza, which considers itself apolitical and non-religious, in solidarity with the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip. Ship to Gaza was established in Sweden and its main office is located there. Sailed aboard the Mavi Marmara with his wife in May 2010.
10) Bo Harringer, born 1947, lives in Göteborg. Has made and produced documentary films for 30 years at the University of Gothenburg. For more than 20 years has owned a company for the production of documentaries. Has documented the Holocaust, including the execution of Jews and Roma by the Nazis. Was active in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.
11) Helen Haggerty, writes for a newspaper and belongs to Sweden’s religious community. Long-time activist for Palestinian rights.
12) Stefan Jonsson, born 1961, graduate of Uppsala University, writer and university professor. Lived in the United States in the 1990s and received a PhD. For the past several years has lived in Berlin. Wrote a number of books dealing with racism, postcolonialism, globalism and related topics.
13) Henning Mankell, born in Stockholm in 1948. Famous mystery story writer and playwright. Married to Ingmar Bergman’s daughter. Participated in the May 2010 flotilla.
14) Anna Nordfjell, chairperson of the Swedish Midwives Association.
15) Evert Smith, born 1925, social worker, Social Democrat politician. Was formerly president of the International League of Religious Socialists. Former member of the Swedish delegation to the United Nations and of the European Council. Today chairman of the Swedish Committee for Palestine. Wrote a book about the condition of social welfare in Sweden.
16) Stellan Vinthagen, born in 1964, PhD in the field of peace and development. Professor of sociology at the University of Gothenburg and a social activist. A cofounder of the Swedish Ship to Gaza.
The British Delegation
According to reports more than 30 British activists will join the flotilla. Their names are not available. According to our information the British delegation is composed of five anti-Israeli organizations affiliated with radical Islam and the extreme left. Among their members are Hamas activists who found asylum in Britain, and some of them are involved in the flotilla campaign. The organizations are The Palestinian Forum in Britain, Friends of Al-Aqsa, the British Muslim Initiative, the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and the Stop the War Coalition.
The Delegation from Scotland
In Scotland contributions are still being collected for the flotilla, whose cost is estimated at half a million pounds sterling with an additional €150,000 for fuel. Joe FitzPatrick, a politician from Dundee said he hoped to participate in the flotilla (Freedomflotill.wordpress.com website, June 13, 2011). FitzPatrick was born in 1967 and has been active in politics since he was a student. He is a member of the Scots National Party, representing West Dundee.
Delegations from Other Western Countries
The Australian Delegation
The Australian delegation is expected to sail aboard the Tahrir. So far the names of three participants have been mentioned:
1) Sylvia Hale, born 1942, law degree from the University of New South Wales. Active in human rights and ecology issues. Politician, former member of the parliament representing the Green Party. Resigned her seat in 2010 to make way for a colleague.
2) Michael Coleman, lives in Sydney, social activist, works with youth. In 2008 worked as a volunteer in Nablus where he ran a music workshop for children.
3) Vivienne Porzsolt, lives in Sydney, Jewish. Founded an organization called Jews Against Occupation.
The Canadian Delegation
A large Canadian delegation of 32 participants is expected to join the flotilla. They will sail aboard the Tahrir, which will apparently depart from Greece (Tahrir.ca website, May 26, 2011). They flew from Canada to Greece on June 20 where they spent two days training in the use of nonviolent resistance tactics, and received briefings in other related issues. Names mentioned of participants were:
1) Mary Hughes-Thompson, writer, human rights activist and cofounder of the FGM. Was in Judea and Samaria six times and sailed aboard the Free Gaza in August 2008. Participated in a convoy attempting to reach the Gaza Strip, December 2009-January 2010. Participated in the May 2010 flotilla.
2) Jase Tanner, independent filmmaker and editor whose anti-Israeli pro-Palestinian activity began following Operation Cast Lead. Was initially refused entry into the Gaza Strip. Later entered with a delegation of the head of the Canadian government in August 2009. Later produced a 30-minute documentary film about the visit. One of the organizers of the Canadian delegation.
3) Dylan Penner, steering committee member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada and an organizer of the Canadian Boat to Gaza. Active in organizations dealing with human rights, social justice and anti-war activities. Toronto founder of a coalition to stop war and various other organizations.
4) John Greyson, born 1960 in British Columbia, filmmaker, video artist, writer and human rights activist. Teaches film at York University. Claims to be going to the Gaza Strip to document the conditions of the residents.
5) Lyn Adamson, Quaker, lives in Toronto, peace activist, co-chairperson of and NGO called Voice of Women for Peace. Aboard the ship she can be reached at 416-731-6605.
6) Karen De Vito, Canadian citizen, lives in British Columbia, raised in the United States. Studies peace and divided societies. Member of the Canadian Boat to Gaza committee in Vancouver.
7) Manon Massé, has been a social activist for 30 years, working mainly in the fields of poverty, housing, homophobia, women, peace and minority rights. Speaks French. Cofounded the World March of Women. Member of the Quebec Solidarity Party since 2006 and was one of its candidates three times. Aboard the ship she can be reached at 514-655-4310.
8) Harmeet Singh Sooden, Sikh of Kashmiri origin. Holds dual citizenship, from Canada and New Zealand. Was abducted in Iraq in 2005 and held for four months. Is joining the flotilla to raise public consciousness about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Aboard the ship he can be reached at +16461-023-21-64-64.
9) Marie-Eve Rancourt, lawyer specializing in international law and policy, speaks French. Represents the League for Rights and Freedoms, a member of the international federation of human rights. Aboard the ship she can be reached at 514-258-0095.
10) Sue Breeze, small business owner, peace and justice activist for 30 years. Active in promoting the Palestinian cause since the 1980s.
11) David Milne, retired social worker, lives in Ontario. Member of the Christian Peacemaker Team. In the past worked as activist in Iraq.
12) Miles Howe, peace activist, journalist. Lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Sociologist and musician.
13) Kate Wilson, Toronto publisher, works in a children’s hospital. Lived in South Africa for three years and experienced apartheid. Participated in one of the convoys in December 2009. Participated in demonstrations twice in Bila’in.
14) Rifat Awda, born 1972 in Canada to parents of Palestinian origin now living in Jordan; lives in St. Catharines, Ontario. One of three Canadians aboard the Mavi Marmara. Participated in the Viva Palestina convoy and works for Palestinian Legal Aid. Propagandist who writes articles and letters to the editor on websites and to newspapers.
15) Robert Lovelace, former chairman of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation. Professor at Queens University. Human rights activist and has been involved in pro-Palestinian activities for several years. Aboard the ship he can be reached at 613-374-5594.
16) Stéphan Corriveau, activist from Montreal, founding member of Alternatives. Has been a social justice activist in Canada for three years. Activated against apartheid in South Africa. Supports the “rights of the Palestinians” and the anti-war campaign.
19) David Heap, studied French and linguistics at Western Ontario University. Peace and social justice activist, including solidarity with Latin America and workers’ movements. Participated in a convoy to the Gaza Strip in December 2009.
20) Irene MacInnes, peace activist from Vancouver. In the 1990s founded a Canadian movement against imposing sanctions on Iraq. Founder of the Canada-Cuba Friendship Association. Cofounder of the Stop the War Coalition in Vancouver.
21) Soha Kneen, began as a student activist with Green Peace in the 1990s. Continued in anti-war and human rights movements. Runs an active blog.
22) Muhammad Hamo, born and raised in London, Ontario. Married, two children. Lectures on Islam at Western Ontario University. Active in a London, Ontario mosque.
Another member of the Canadian delegation is Kevin Neish, who sailed aboard the Mavi Marmara (to which he transferred from the Challenger 2). Member of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid. Was supposed to sail aboard the Mavi Marmara again and not aboard the Canadian ship. Flew from Canada to Turkey on June 19 where he visited the IHH offices to coordinate his participation in the flotilla. When he learned the Mavi Marmara would not sail he changed his plans and decided to meet the Canadian delegation (in Greece) for two days of training in nonviolent resistance tactics (Pacific Free Press website, June 20, 2011).
The American Delegation
According to the organizers of the American delegation, there will be about 50 participants. So far, they say, they have collected approximately $400,000 for the flotilla. An examination of the names of those who have confirmed participation indicates that most of them are human rights activists and political-social activists, some of them with a history of anti-Israeli activities and support for the Palestinians (participation in convoys and flotillas, and in anti-Israeli activities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip). Some of the passengers are active globally to promote principles of justice, not necessarily in the Palestinian arena.
The ages of the participants range from 22 to 87 and they come from 14 different states. Among the professions represented are the media, movie producer (retired), construction worker, teacher, engineer (retired), student, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, nurse, fireman, jazz musician, former high-ranking military officer, professor of social work and lawyer. More than half of the participants are women (Organization website, May 31, 2011).
An examination of the individuals involved reveals the following:
1) Many of the participants regard the flotilla as a protest against American’s pro-Israeli foreign policy and as a pro-Palestinian demonstration.
2) None of the participants is of Palestinian and/or Arab origin (with the exception of one Maronite Christian from Lebanon).
3) Many of them are Jewish, including relatives of Holocaust survivors. According to Leslie Cogan, one of the flotilla’s organizers, 28% of the participants are American Jews (Agence France-Presse from the UN, June 20, 2011).
4) Many of the states are represented, not necessarily those in which intensive anti-Israeli activity is held.
5) Some of the participants have already participated in convoys and/or flotillas to the Gaza Strip.
6) The average age of the participants is fairly high, and some of them are retired.
7) Some of them are well known and some are ordinary citizens.
8) The crew members are not professional seafarers but were chosen rather for their ideological solidarity with the flotilla’s objectives.
9) The American ship will bring 3000 letters from the people of America for the people of the Gaza Strip (“a cargo of peace”).
Profiles of the Passengers on the American Ship
The following are the American passengers in alphabetical order (Ustogaza.org website):
1) Nic Abramson, born 1942, lives in Woodstock, New York, married, two children, two grandchildren. Was a peace activist in the 1960, protested the war in Vietnam and American involvement in Latin America, especially Nicaragua. Visited Nicaragua in 1984. Belongs to several peace forums. Today is active in the Palestinian issue through US Boat to Gaza, Jews Say No and Middle East Crisis Response. Participated in a convoy to the Gaza Strip in December 2008, arriving in January 2009. At the time also visited Judea and Samaria.
2) Johnny Barber, lives in Montana, photographer, EMT, father. Visited the Middle East in January 2002 with the Interfaith Peace-Builders, is of the opinion that American media coverage of the Palestinians is unreliable. Claims Israel wastes millions of dollars of American aid. Wants to tour the Gaza Strip as a Red Crescent observer.
3) Medea Benjamin, from Washington, DC. Cofounder of Code Pink and Global Exchange, an international human rights organization. Has written eight books. Writes articles for a number of publications. Has been a social justice activist for 30 years. Called one of the leaders of the American peace movement. Was a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2010 was recipient of the Martin Luther King Peace Prize. Since the September 11 attacks has world to promote an American foreign policy which would “respect human rights” and bring the United States allies instead of violence. Has traveled to Iraq, Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel and Judea and Samaria, and led five aid delegations to the Gaza Strip.
4) Greta Berlin, born in Detroit, 1941. Lives in Los Angeles. Senior figure in the FGM and ISM, and apparently among the flotilla organizations. A senior figure aboard the American ship. Active in the Palestinian issue since the 1960s. Has an MA in theatre, divorced, was married to a Palestinian from Safed. Has two children she identifies as “Palestinian-Americans” (FGM website). Remarried to Dr. Alvin Berlin, a Jewish scientist, and divorced him as well. Formerly owned a company for designing and delivering.
In 2003, as an ISM volunteer, she worked in a number of villages in Judea and Samaria and ran their media offices. She returned to Judea and Samaria in 2005 and 2007. She was on board the first FGM ship to reach the Gaza Strip. Helped dispatch three other sea voyages between October 22 and December 23, 2008, during which she was part of the ground crew and served as media person in the FGM’s office in Cyprus. Dispatched more than 50 activists aboard the Dignity when she ran the first flotilla’s media office (May 2010). Is spokesperson for the current flotilla.
5) Hagit Borer, born in Israel, 1952, lived there until 1977 when she went to Los Angeles to study. Received American citizenship in 1992 and today teaches linguistics in the University of Southern California. Has been a peace activist for many years; opposes Israel’s policies in the Palestinian Authority-administered territories. Claims two recent events made her optimistic: the campaign to boycott Israel and the campaign to dispatch ships to the Gaza Strip. She regards the flotilla as a chance to express her support of the Palestinians.
6) Regina Carey, from San Rafael. Consultant specializing in strategic planning. Human rights and peace activist. Cofounder of Black/Jewish Dialogue Group. Active in international forums about racism.
7) Gale Courey Toensing, from Canaan, Connecticut, journalist, raised in Montreal, family of Lebanese origin. Began as a pro-Palestinian activist in the 1990s while studying modern Palestinian poetry. Visited Israel for the first time in 2001, was shot at by a soldier in Beit Jala. Later became an anti-Israeli activist, organizing lectures, marches, “apartheid week” events; wrote letters to influential people in the administration, etc.
8) Erin DeRamus, from Portland. Practices acupuncture and Chinese medicine. For the past several years has worked in public health and with trauma victims. Has dedicated her life to rights activities, the self-determination of peoples and tribes and works against wars of genocide and for the personal safety of every human being.
9) Linda Durham, born 1943, lives in Santa Fe, mother of two, grandmother of one. Defines herself as a freelance cultural explorer. Collects books and art. A cofounder and administrator of an art gallery for 30 years. Writes and lectures about art, travel, business and women’s issues. Member in several forums in Santa Fe to promote peace and understanding among all peoples. Has traveled around the world. Climbed Kilimanjaro at 60 and in 2004 headed a delegation to Baghdad, was in the Gaza Strip in 2009. In April 2011 went to Myanmar.
10) Debra Ellis, from Santa Cruz, mother of a daughter. Works at the University of California. Human rights activist. Regards the flotilla as an opportunity to turn her principles into direct action. Active in Santa Cruz for social justice and improving the conditions of the residents of the Gaza Strip.
11) Hedy Epstein, from St. Louis. Born in Germany, 1924, was eight years old when Hitler rose to power. In 1934 was sent to Britain with a delegation of children. Her family was murdered in the Holocaust. After the war returned to Germany and worked as a fact-finder during the Nuremberg trials. Went to the United States in 1948, became involved in the civil rights movement. In 1989 went to Guatemala, Nicaragua and Cambodia and a peace envoy. Since 2003 has been in Judea and Samaria five times and tried to reach the Gaza Strip four times by land and sea. Writes and lectures in the United States and Europe about social justice, especially about the Palestinian issue. In 1999 her autobiography as published in Germany. The flotilla will be her fifth attempt to reach the Gaza Strip.
12) Steven Fake, from New Orleans. Writes about foreign policy. Has been active in social justice organizations for many years and is an Amnesty International activist. In 2007 took part in a program of international observers for peace in Mexico. Wrote a book in 2009 about the United States and the occupation of Darfur. Is participating in the flotilla to protest the inappropriate use of the American taxpayers’ money. Says the first flotilla proved itself as a very influential tool for raising international public awareness about the American-Israeli “siege” of the Gaza Strip.
13) Ridgely Fuller, from Waltham, Massachusetts. As a child lived in Germany and Holland. Social worker with a degree in international relations. In 2008 went on a study trip to Judea and Samaria. Went to Judea and Samaria again in 2003 and 2008.
14) Megan Horan, from Seattle. Calls herself a “global citizen ” who is proud to bring supplies to the Gaza Strip. Is in favor of freedom and justice for the Palestinians.
15) Kathy Kelly, from Chicago, born 1953. Active in an organization called Voice for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign established in 1969 to end the economic and military fighting waged by the United States. Since its founding it has organized 70 delegations around the globe to relieve economic sanctions. Between 1988 and 1989 served a term in jail for her activities. In 2004 was sentenced to three months in jail. Was in Lebanon in 2006 during and after the Second Lebanon War and in the Gaza Strip in 2009 after Operation Cast Lead. Since May 2010 has been in Afghanistan four times as part of delegations which went to examine the conditions of Afghans after long years of war. In Afghanistan worked with young local volunteers to find a non-military solution to end the war.
16) Kit Kittredge, from Quilcene, Washington. Works with CodePink, Seattle MidEast Awareness Campaign, VFP, Ground Zero Center for Nonviolence. Helped lead six delegations to Gaza in the last two years.
17) Libor Koznar, from New Britain, Connecticut. Raised in the Czech Republic, in 1992, he joined a range of solidarity groups, including environmental-indigenousfeminist-animal rights groups as well as groups that opposed war, racism, sexism, globalization, homophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and xenophobia. Received a diploma in operational engineering, refused to serve in the Czech army, became a conscientious objector. Studied international marketing at Central State Connecticut University. Cofounder of Art and Struggle and vice chair of the Middle East Crisis Committee. Multi-media artist-activist, organizes social justice events.
18) Missy Lane, from Washington, DC. Activist in the anti-war movement and works for racial and economic justice and animal rights. First travelled to Judea and Samaria in 2005, throughout Gaza on a research tour. Returned to Judea and Samaria in 2007.
19) G. Kaleo Larson, from Northern California. Born in Hawaii, went to school in San Francisco, fought in the Vietnam War. Returned from the war and became a social activist. Musician, musician in jazz and funk bands. Has traveled to the Gaza Strip, Thailand, Burma, Jordan, Egypt, India, South Africa and Iceland.
20) Richard Levy, from New York, born 1942, married to Jane Hirschmann, one of the flotilla organizers, three children. Former president of North East District of the B’nai Brith Youth Organization. Graduate of Cornell and the NYU Law School, has practiced labor and civil rights law for more than 40 years. Was one of the attorneys challenging the destruction of the old Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem. Senior partner in New York law firm. Claims he believes Israel has violated Palestinians’ legal rights and international law.
21) Richard Lopez, from Olympia, Washington. Musician, married, five children.
22) Ken Mayers, from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Jewish, mother lost entire family in Holocaust. Graduated from Princeton in 1958. Officer in the Marine Corps, resigned commission in 1966 to protest American foreign policy. Went back to school, PhD from Berkeley. Peace activist for many years. In the early with late wife founded the Bennington, Vermont chapter of Beyond War Movement. In 1986 joined Veterans for Peace and in 2002 he founded its Santa Fe chapter, member of its Israel-Palestine working group. Joined a convoy to the Gaza Strip but did not leave Cairo. Has since been determined to reach the Gaza Strip.
23) Ray McGovern, from Arlington, Virginia, was an Army infantry/intelligence officer during the early 1960s before serving as a CIA analyst. Works in Washington. Objects to the “illegal blockade” of the Gaza Strip.
24) Gail Miller, from New York City, grandmother of nine, social worker, worked with children, adolescents and families for 40 years. Member of the advisory committee for American medical students on full scholarship at the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana, in favor of lifting the embargo of Cuba. Visited the West Bank and Gaza, regards the flotilla as an opportunity to “break the blockade” and end the occupation of “Palestine.”
25) Robert Naiman, from Urbana, Illinois. Policy director of Just Foreign Policy, which works to reform American foreign policy. Claims the so-called “blockade of Gaza” violates international laws and is collective punishment. Also claims the American-led diplomatic embargo of Hamas is an obstacle to Palestinian selfdetermination and to a “just resolution” of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Is participating in the flotilla to call attention to the suffering of the Palestinians and for the United States to change its foreign policy.
26) Henry Norr, from Berkeley, born 1946, Jewish, retired journalist and human rights advocate, ISM activist. As a child went Hebrew school at a Conservative Jewish temple. Since 2002 has spent a total of six months as an ISM volunteer in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. Claims to have been fired from his job as a newspaper technology columnist in 2003 in response to his support for Palestinian rights and his arrest in a demonstration opposing the American attack on Iraq.
27) Ann Petter, from New York City. Graphic designer for more than 30 years, a student of international relations. Member of Women of a Certain Age.
28) Gabriel Matthew Schivone, from Tucson. Chicano-Jewish American, volunteer with the humanitarian/migrant-rights organization, coordinator of Arizona branch of Jewish Voice for Peace.
29) Kathy Sheetz, born 1947, from Richmond, California, nurse, mother of three, grandmother of five. Human rights activist and food security worker, chiefly in Haiti. Her work led her to study the circumstances of the Palestinians’ lives. She and a daughter sailed aboard the Free Gaza in the first voyage to the Gaza Strip in August 2008. Participated in two other attempts to enter the Gaza Strip from the sea, June 2009 and May 2010. With a daughter also participated in an aid convoy to the Gaza Strip, January 2010.
30) Max Suchan, from Chicago, born 1989, human rights activist. Recently graduated from college. Traveled to Judea and Samaria tree times between 2007 and 2010. Studied at Bir Zeit University for one semester. Participated in convoy to the Gaza Strip at the end of 2009. Active in the Palestine Solidarity Project, a Palestinian-led initiative that organizes unarmed resistance, based in the village of Beit Ummar.
31) Brad Taylor, from New York City. Runs a small contracting business in New York City. Social justice activist, volunteer radio producer. Supports the Palestinian cause.
32) Len Tsou, from New York City. Active for the past eight years in the Rockland Coalition for Peace and Justice, in New York, to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Wants to raise public awareness within the international community of the so-called “injustice” of the “Gaza blockade.”
33) Alice Walker, from Northern California. Author, poet and activist, has written seven novels, four collections of short stories, four children’s books, essays and poetry. Best known for The Color Purple, which won the Pulitzer Prize, first Afro-American woman to win the Prize. Translated into several languages. Traveled to the Gaza Strip in 2008.
34) Paki Wieland, from Northampton, Massachusetts, born 1944, retired social worker. Claims she joined the flotilla to make the world aware of the so-called “injustice” suffered by the Palestinians.
35) Ann Wright, from Honolulu. Retired US Army colonel, former US diplomat who served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia. Resigned 2003 in opposition to the Iraq war. Visited the Gaza Strip three times in 2009 after Operation Cast Lead. Helped organize the January 2010 convoy, currently one of the organizers of the US Boat to Gaza.
36) John Klusmire, no information available.
37) David K. Schermerhorn, born 1930, married, father of two, grandfather of three. Film producer for 35 years, primarily television commercials. Has promoted Palestinian interests since 1967. Joined the Free Gaza, a converted fishing boat which sailed to the Gaza Strip, in 2008. Sailed twice more in 2008, participated in the Mavi Marmara flotilla. Also involved in actions against the Vietnam and Iraq wars, actively supports immigration reform.
38) Yonatan Shapira, was a captain in the Israeli Air Force, helicopter pilot until 2003, participated in writing the pilots’ letter, refused to take part in the so-called “crimes of the occupation.” Member of Boycott, a group of Israeli citizens who are actively supporting the Palestinian call for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions from within. MA in peace and conflict studies. In September of 2010 crew member on the Jewish boat to the Gaza Strip intercepted by the Israeli Navy. Commercial pilot in the United States.
39) David Smith, marine engineer, studied in Britain. From 1986 to 1992 worked with various environmental organizations dealing with a range of issues. Was volunteer marine engineer and on-board-ship campaigner for Greenpeace Marine Division, Amsterdam. Crewed for the Free Gaza and Rachel Corrie and the Jewish ship to the Gaza Strip.
Participants from the Free Palestine Movement (FPM)
An additional American group has been organized to participate in the flotilla by the Free Palestine Movement, headed by Dr. Paul Larudee. They planned to dispatch a ship with ten American citizens as passengers, but could not buy a ship. On June 12 a list of 11 activists was posted on the organization’s website, who were supposed to participate in the flotilla. In the end, however, it was announced that only five would sail, of whom three have confirmed their participation. So far it is unclear on which vessel they will sail.
The FPM Delegation
Paul Larudee, aka Paul Wilder, the name he uses today:
1) FPM leader. Radical left activist, anti-Israeli, pro-Hamas. Cofounder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and of the ISM network in Northern California. Was an FGM activist, following a quarrel founded the FPM, based in San Francisco. Apparently today most his activity focuses on the FPM.
2) Paul Larudee is an American Christian of Iranian extraction and lives in El Cerrito, California. Married, father of two. Holds a PhD in linguistics, graduate of Georgetown University. Earns his living tuning pianos in the United States and abroad, and imports (or imported) organic olive products. He spent 14 years living in Arab countries as an American administration consultant. He also headed a Ford Foundation project in Lebanon and was an advisor in Saudi Arabia.
3) Since 1965 he has often traveled to Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, four times for the ISM between 2002 and 2003. At the height of the Palestinian terrorism campaign (the second intifada) was often in Judea and Samaria and participated in the ISM’s anti-Israeli activities. Visited the wife of a suicide bomber in Nablus and wrote an article expressing understanding for the suicide bombers’ motives (“Sleeping in the Bed of a Suicide Bomber”). One of the ISM activists who entered the refugee camps in Bethlehem and Nablus during Operation Defensive Shield, and was wounded as a result of his activity.
4) On June 4, 2006, he flew on an open ticket from the United States to Israel to conduct ISM activity, using a passport issued in the name of Paul Wilder. He did not identify himself as an ISM activist, using the cover story of having come to Israel to examine the commercial opportunities for importing products like olive oil from Israel to the United States. When questioned at the airport, he admitted that he was an ISM activist and had come to via Israel to participate in protests against the so-called “Israeli occupation,” and to prepare the organization’s “summer campaign.” The Israeli interior ministry denied him entry, but he used force to prevent having to board the plane which was supposed to return him to the United States, and remained under guard at the airport. He departed two weeks later, when the court turned down his appeal against deportation.
5) During the Second Lebanon War (2006) came to promote a plan to send ISM activists to be used as human shields. In 2009, while in the Gaza Strip, received an award for his activities from Ismail Haniya, head of the de facto Hamas administration. As part of his FGM activities participated in a number of protest flotillas. In the May 2010 flotilla led by the Turkish Islamist IHH, he sailed aboard the Sfendoni (Boat 8000), sponsored by pro-Palestinian organizations in Greece and Sweden under the aegis of the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza. His American passport was issued to “Paul Wilder” and bears the number 7121815849.
Samuel F. Hart, born and raised in Mississippi, lives in Jacksonville, California. Married. Former ambassador. Graduate of the Coast Guard Academy and the Georgia Military Academy. Served in the American Army in the 1950s. Entered the foreign service in 1958. Spent 27 years in the United States diplomatic corps, three of which were as economic-commercial advisor at the American embassy in Israel. His last posting was American ambassador to Ecuador. Since his retirement from the diplomatic service has been a volunteer for organizations such as World Affairs Councils and the ACLU, and has lectured on Americans foreign relations.
Joe Meadors, retired Naval officer. Married, lives in Texas. Was aboard the USS Liberty in 1967, mistakenly attacked by the Israeli Navy. In May 2010 sailed aboard the Sfendoni (Boat 8000) to the Gaza Strip.
 For further information see the june 17, 2011 ITIC article, “Flotilla Activists Received Nonviolent Resistance Training; Hard Violence against the IDF can be Expected”.
 The organizers of the American delegation have appealed to the American public to hold protests, for example, in front of Israeli consulates and American administration institutions, by appealing to the White House and Congress, all to be accompanied by broad media activity.
 According to Noorazaman Shamsuddin, the flotilla’s Malaysian organizer, ten volunteers from Malaysia will participate in the flotilla, among them members of the parliament and media representatives. It had been previously arranged that the delegation would leave Malaysia on June 24 and sail aboard the Mavi Marmara. It is not known whether and how they will sail (Bernama News Agency, Malaysia, June 16, 2011).
 For further information about the aforementioned organizations, see the June 7, 2011 ITIC article, “23 Anti-Israeli Organizations Affiliated with Radical Islam and Radical Left Participate in the Upcoming Freedom 2 Flotilla to Gaza”.
 Verdict handed down by Dr. Drora Pilpel, Tel Aviv-Jaffa District Court, July 5, 2006.