Friday, August 6, 2010

Press Conference: U.S. Boat to Gaza - Audacity of Hope



Dear Friends,

This is an important moment in history. In the aftermath of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla massacre and increased world-wide scrutiny of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, the Israeli government has mounted a huge public relations campaign spreading the lie that by letting a few more items into Gaza the blockade has been lifted. This is not the reality. Gaza is still under siege, vital building materials and other supplies are banned, exports of goods from Gaza are denied and neither ships nor people can travel without permission from Israel, permission which Israel will not give. Gaza is essentially an open-air prison under a U.S.-backed Israeli blockade.

We are planning to launch a U.S. boat to Gaza, joining a flotilla of ships from Europe, Canada, India, South Africa and parts of the Middle East due to set sail in September/ October of this year. In order to succeed in this essential but costly human rights project, we need significant financial support.

Citizens around the world have responded to the plight of the Palestinian people and are taking action to help break the blockade which is suffocating the lives of the people of Gaza and denying them their liberty. The U.S. government is complicit through established policies that uncritically support Israel in its brutal attack on the Palestinian people and on those who attempt to intervene on their behalf. We in the United States must continue to step up and do our part. We must join with others from across the world to support an end to the collective punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza.

We turn to you to help make the U.S. boat, The Audacity of Hope, a reality. We must raise at least $370,000 in the next month. These funds will be used to purchase a boat large enough for 40-60 people, secure a crew, and cover the licensing and registering of the boat. In addition, the funds will subsidize some other costs of sending a U.S. delegation. We can make this happen together. For example, with 370 people giving $1,000, or with 3,700 people giving $100, we will have raised our full amount.

We have already received donations ranging from $10 to $10,000. So, give what you can and give generously. From the deck of The Audacity of Hope, we will be in a powerful and unique position to challenge U.S. foreign policy and affirm the universal obligation to uphold human rights and international law. Let us act now because every moment counts and every dollar counts. Together we will contribute to the great effort to end the blockade of Gaza and the illegal occupation of Palestine.

Please spread this appeal letter far and wide, so that others will contribute as well.

Thank you for your generosity.

On behalf of the U.S. BOAT TO GAZA,

Nic Abramson, Middle East Crisis Response

Elliott Adams, Past President, Veterans For Peace

Ujju Aggarwal

Laurie Arbeiter, Activist Response Team

Anna Baltzer, Human Rights Activist and Author

Russell Banks, Writer

Kahlil Bendib, Political Cartoonist

Medea Benjamin, Co-founder CODEPINK

Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies

Elaine Brower

Naomi Brussel, Activist Response Team

Allan Buchman, Founder and Artistic Director, The Culture Project

Leslie Cagan, Co-Founder United for Peace and Justice

Henry Chalfant, Film Maker

Kathleen Chalfant, New York

Cindy Corrie

Craig Corrie

Ellen Davidson, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions-USA

Angela Y. Davis, University of California, Santa Cruz

Noor Elashi, Writer

Basem Emara, Gaza Freedom March

Kathy Engel, Poet

Hedy Epstein, Palestine Solidarity Committee, St. Louis, Missouri

Mike Ferner, National President, Veterans For Peace

Lisa Fithian, Alliance for Community Trainers

Felice Gelman, Gaza Freedom March

Jenny Heinz, Activist Response Team/Granny Peace Brigade

Jane Hirschmann, Jews Say No!

Jennifer Hobbs, New York City Attorney/Gaza Freedom March
Nubar Hovsepian, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies, Chapman University

Mary Hughes – Thompson, Free Gaza Movement

Abdeen Jabara, Past President, American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Civil Rights Attorney

Tarak Kauff, Veterans for Peace

Kathy Kelly, Co-Coordinator, Voices for Creative Nonviolence

Eleanore Kennedy

Michael Kennedy

Mona Khalidi

Rashid Khalidi, Columbia University

Ramzi Kysia, Free Gaza Movement

Iara Lee, Cultures of Resistance/Freedom Flotilla Survivor

Karen Malpede, Playwright

Helaine Meisler, Hudson Valley BDS

Gail Miller, Women of a Certain Age

Fatima Mohammadi, Attorney at Law/Freedom Flotilla Survivor

Donna Nevel, Jews Say No!

Michael Ratner, President, Center for Constitutional Rights

Mariam Said, New York

Najla Said, Actor/Writer

Hannah Schwarzschild, American Jews for a Just Peace

Bert Shaw

Moira Shaw

Kathy Sheetz, Free Gaza – USA/Freedom Flotilla Survivor

Ann Shirazi, Granny Peace Brigade/Women of a Certain Age

Starhawk, Alliance of Community Trainers

Eleanor Stein, Albany Law School

Michael Steven Smith, New York City Attorney/Author

Vivian Stromberg, MADRE, Executive Director

Yifat Susskind, MADRE Policy/Communications Director

Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Syracuse University

Alice Walker, Author

Darlene Wallach, Free Gaza Movement, Justice for Palestinians

Donna Wallach, Free Gaza Movement, Justice for Palestinians

Sarah Wellington, Activist Response Team

Diane Wilson, Writer/Activist

Ret. Col. Ann Wright, Freedom Flotilla Survivor

Rebecca Vilkomerson, Jewish Voice for Peace

Dorothy M. Zellner, Veteran Civil Rights Activist

David Zirin, Sports Correspondent, The Nation Magazine

Organizations listed for identification purposes only

Visit Their Site USTOGAZA

U.S. Boat to Gaza - Audacity of Hope:

"ustogaza1 | August 05, 2010

Press Conference at the start of the U.S. Boat to Gaza fundraising evening on New York City's Harbor and rivers, August 5th, 2010

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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