Four months after Israeli commandos boarded boats that had broken the blockade of Gaza and, in the ensuing melee, killed at least nine (activists or terrorist sympathizers, depending on whom you listen to), a “Jewish boat to Gaza” set sail today with humanitarian aid:
The boat, Irene, is sailing under a British flag and is carrying ten passengers and crew, including Jews from the US, the UK, Germany and Israel as well as two British journalists.
At crisis point in peace talks, Jews, Israelis, call to lift the siege on Gaza, and to end the occupation.
The boat’s cargo includes symbolic aid in the form of children’s toys and musical instruments, textbooks, fishing nets for Gaza’s fishing communities and prosthetic limbs for orthopaedic medical care in Gaza’s hospitals.
The receiving organization in Gaza is the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, directed by Gaza psychiatrist Dr. Eyad Sarraj.
The boat will attempt to reach the coast of Gaza and unload its aid cargo in a nonviolent, symbolic act of solidarity and protest - and call for the siege to be lifted to enable free passage of goods and people to and from the Gaza Strip.
I was notified of the boat’s departure from Cyprus in an email from Jewish Voice for Peace. I might not have even read the email if the sender hadn’t been named Jesse Bacon. Kashrut aside, the American attitude these days is that everything is better wrapped in bacon. Maybe even Jewish peace activists.
Despite the fact that Israel is largely secular these days, I don’t anticipate the boat “Irene” finding easy entry into Gaza. You can follow along, of course, on Twitter.