Jewish groups to send Gaza flotilla


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A coalition of international Jewish organizations sympathetic to the Palestinians will send a flotilla to Gaza to try to break Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-run strip.

The "Jewish Boat to Gaza" will sail next month from an undisclosed location carrying passengers from the United States, Germany and Britain. At least one passenger is reported to be a Holocaust survivor.

American Jews for a Just Peace announced last week that it will serve as the U.S. coordinator for the Jewish boat. The other groups participating in the flotilla include "Judische Stimme" ("Jewish Voice" for a Just Peace in the Near East) and Jews for Justice for Palestinians, a British organization.

Glyn Secker, a British Jew and a longtime activist, will serve as captain. No weapons will be on board, according to the American Jews for a Just Peace website.

"Organizers are requesting that the Israeli government, the British government, the German government and the Obama Administration guarantee safe passage for the boat, its passengers and cargo," according to the announcement.

The boat will take schoolbags and books, donated by German schoolchildren; musical instruments and art materials for the Gaza Community Mental Health Program; nets and tackle for fishermen; and medicines and small medical equipment.

According to the website, the principles of the mission are "To protest against and challenge the blockade of Gaza"; "to protest against Israel’s continuing occupation and settlement of Palestinian land, and the Israeli government’s self-evident intention of annexing much of that land"; and "to make clear that the current policies of Israel are not representative of all Jews and that there are thousands of us who wish to say ‘Not in our name.’ "

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