Update on the Flotilla

Here’s just a short post as I’m currently teaching 14 hour days this weekend…my friend Caoimhe is still on the Rachel Corrie which I believe has just been intercepted by the Israelis.  All the others are now safe–Hedy apparently was sick and never made it on board and I can’t help but be thankful.  Anne Wright is back in New York–both she and Huwaidaa report that the women were treated brutally by the Israelis but are now safe and okay.  Another friend, Paul Larudee, was badly beaten but is now free.  Eyewitness reports are coming in which completely contradict the Israeli propaganda machine’s attempts to smear the flotilla activists.  Most horrifying–the autopsy report on the nine Turkish activists who were killed report that they were shot close range, several in the head and face, and multiple times.  The evidence is consistant with eye-witness reports of commandos attacking with intent to kill.    Below are some links to reputable sources:

UK Guardian article:  Gaza Flotilla Activists Were Shot in Head at Close Range


Michigan Peace Team–link to French video


8 comments to Update on the Flotilla

  • Terezie Dubinova

    Dear Mrs. Starhawk,
    couple years ago your work on female spirituality and works of another authors (Carol Christ, Judith Plaskow…many others depending on Czech libraries´acquisitions and my friends´gifts) were a sweet water in the desert for my soul and mind. I found myself in a deep live crisis and reading these books – and looking for my own female power – saved me. Finally, I wrote a thesis comparing traditional patriarchal Hebrew commentaries and contemporary feminist commentaries on the Bible women characters (now available as book in Czech language “Women in the Bible, Women Today”). So I appreciate feminist work in this field very much. But what I cannot agree with is (not only) your (leftist) activism, especially against state Israel. Shortly, it is very American. It means, completely out of reality. Well, it is an old reality and a new matrix is in process of creation, but it still exists. You have no experience of totalitarism like we have, no experience of totalitarian disorder we Czech/East European people came through when Russian army occupied us. And this totalitarism and disorder, no human rights for people, works in Gaza under Hamas and partially in West Bank under Fatah. I lived in Israel (even though I am not Jewish) and what I saw was a big effort to live in peace, to give a hand… without reliable reaction from the other side. Exactly like discussion with Russians: ordinary people are usually nice, but brainwashed and feared, used and disused by the establishment, too weak to strike it or create functioning civil society. Well, you pray with your body rooted in the earth, so let your mind be rooted in the earth too. Support moderate Palestinian people – yes, criticize all the time every step of Israeli state trying to survive and protect its people – no. You have place to live in peace – USA, Israelis do not have it. They do their best, but it is hard to find a partner. Where was your effort for human rights when Hamas closed NGO organizations last week, stole the files, computers etc.? Where was your effort when nine Saudi women were fired for not wearing headscarf from Al Jazeera? Etc.etc. As I said, very American – naive, idealistic and selective. Do you know that your “nine killed activists” were members of Turkish radical islamist organization? That they cried “Go back to Auschwitz!” face to face to IDF soldiers? You should build a new vision from the existing reality, otherwise it smells with revolution – and we from postcommunist countries can tell you very colourfully what does it mean… Wishing you all the best, yours sincerelly, Terezie Dubinova,PhD., Czech Republic

    • Dear Terezie–thanks for writing, I’m glad to see your comments even if i don’t agree with all of them. I am delighted to hear about your book and hope that someday it will be translated into English. Some years ago I spent a week in Prague and I hope someday to have the time to return to your beautiful country and see more of the magical countryside.

      I have also spent time in both Israel and Palestine. Unless you cross over the border into the Occupied Territories, it’s hard to imagine the totalitarian quality of daily life for Palestinians. The checkpoints, the incursions, the confiscation of Palestinian land without compensation, the shooting of people and the constant curfews and restrictions affect every single aspect of life–and that’s in the West Bank, where conditions are relatively good. Democracy can’t simply be for one religion or one people while oppressing another. And that suppression of human rights does not further Israel’s peace or security–it simply breeds resentment and hatred. It undermines Israel’s claims to moral high ground, and becomes an insidious poison that affects the integrity and mental health of the very soldiers who administer the policies. As you well know from your own experience, totalitarian control is not a path toward peace–for either side.

      I don’t support Hamas, Fatah or any of the Palestinian parties, I support those who wage nonviolent resistance against the illegal occupation, and that includes both Palestinians, Israelis and internationals.

      I must correct you on a couple of points–after the attack on the flotilla, the Israeli propaganda machine went into full swing while the protestors themselves were being held incommunicado. Now the ‘go back to Auschwitz’ story has been completely discredited. There is no evidence whatsoever that the Turks who were killed were radical Islamists–the Israelis have certainly not produced it. If the Israeli account is true, why have they confiscated all the film, video and recording equipment of the protestors? The few tapes that have gotten out show a very different story. And why do they refuse to allow an independent investigation of the incident? You might want to read Uri Avnery, the great Israeli journalist, on the subject.
      We both have dear friends in Israel that we care deeply about. The best way to assure their safety is to push Israel to reject its policies of brutality and control and assure justice and full human rights for Palestinians. Peace can only be built on a foundation of Justice.
      Thanks so much for writing, Starhawk

  • Thriceraven

    Would that all disagreements were argued with such respect. Goddess smile on both your examples.

  • Terezie Dubinova

    Wishing beautiful day to everybody,
    thanks a lot for both Starhawk´s answer and Thriceraven´s comment. I do not want to discuss more as our positions seem different, but still I have to repeat the main point which I feel to be problematic in western feminists´ and peace activists´ efforts: It is quite selective. In the communist period I remember me and my parents visiting movie Mahatma Gandhi with Ben Kingsley – a real event as there were no such good movies to see – and we were so surprised by correctitude of British officers and soldiers. Living Gandhi in Russia or East Europe, he wouldn´t survive long time… What I want to say: It is not hard to fight with democratic state, with democratic institutions. If you want to do this issue, you can join civil society organizations, foundations, charities, think tanks. The real issue is to confront the totalitarian, military, etc.regimes. There are so many such regimes in the world, commiting crimes without western protest, or even with its support (business with China) so I cannot understand why so many peace activists with – hopefully – good intentions make mess and problems to the only ME democratic state – Israel. Best regards, Tereza Dubinova

    • thanks, Terezie, I hope we get to meet some day!
      I’ll just say this–I personally have focused on Israel and Palestine because as someone raised an American Jew I have a personal stake in the country. There are trees planted there with pennies I saved as a tiny child. Israel was woven into my faith and my mythology, and it has been a painful personal journey to confront the reality of what Israel is doing, as opposed to the beautiful ideals I was taught. America supports Israel’s policies with my tax money, and the political support of the American Jewish community is key in keeping that political support. So, I am involved in the issue, whether I want to be or not.

      But I have to take issue with your calling Israel the only Middle Eastern democratic state. No state is a democracy unless all people have equal rights. Israeli Palestinians have more rights than those under occupation, but they do not have equal rights with Jewish Israelis. And the millions of Palestinians held under occupation have no rights at all. They can be imprisoned for months or years with no charges being filed and no trial. They are tortured in Israel’s jails. Their peaceful demonstrations are regularly met with with tear gas, rubber bullets, and more and more, live ammunition. The Israeli army controls their freedom of movement. I could go on and on–but my point is this, Israel may not yet be as totalitarian as the Soviet Union at its worst, but it is moving in that direction, a direct result of continuing to be an occupying power that holds millions of people in subjugation. The occupation is eroding Israeli society as well. Yet another reason why it is long past time to end it, and build a society there founded on justice.

  • Hello, its a great post entry. I agree with you point view!

    PD: Excuseme my bad english!

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