(Originally published at the Daily Censored for Project Censored.)
Is Israel planning to assassinate Alice Walker? Has Secretary of State Hillary Clinton essentially given Israel the green-light for such an operation? Most people know, Alice Walker (no relation to me) is a national treasure. She is best known for her Pulitzer Prize winning book The Color Purple. Growing up in Georgia, during the Jim Crow era, Walker’s father was a sharecropper and her mother a maid.
In spite of the oppression of black people living in the deep-south, Walker’s parents scrapped together enough money to put their daughter Alice to college. In the early 60’s, while attending Spelman College in Atlanta, Walker met Martin Luther King Jr. and became active in the Civil Rights movement. Ever since then, Walker has been an outspoken activist for human rights and social justice.
This week, Alice Walker plans on boarding the ship The Audacity of Hope in Athens, Greece, which is headed to Gaza. However, the nation of Israel is planning on doing everything in their power to stop the ship. In fact, they seem to be willing to even sink the ship, kill everyone on board, including Alice Walker.
Hillary Clinton, and by proxy President Obama, has called Walker’s actions “provocative.” Thus, U.S. State Department has essentially given the Israeli government the reasoning and authorization to massacre those involved in the Freedom Flotilla Two humanitarian aid campaign. Late last week, Clinton commented, quote: “Well, we do not believe that the flotilla is a necessary or useful effort to try to assist the people of Gaza. Just this week, the Israeli government approved a significant commitment to housing in Gaza. There will be construction materials entering Gaza. And we think that it’s not helpful for there to be flotillas that, you know, try to provoke actions by entering into Israeli waters and creating a situation in which the Israelis have the right to defend themselves.” The State Department later released a statement calling the flotilla “irresponsible and provocative” and warned of possible “fines and incarceration" for U.S. citizens participating in the humanitarian relief mission.
There are two glaring problems with Clinton’s and the State Department’s comments. First is the fact that the flotilla has no interest in entering into Israeli’s waters, the intention is for the ships to dock in Gaza. Second, the flotilla is only carrying humanitarian aid and letters of support. The State Department has thus far also refused to answer just how this threatens Israeli or would permit them to attack unarmed ship in international waters under the false pretense of “defending themselves”.
Earlier this week it was reported in the Israeli newspaper Harretz that the propellers on a Swedish Norwegian Greek ship participating in this year’s flotilla was sabotaged. Then yesterday, it was discovered the propellers on a second boat, Irish owned, had also had it propellers tempered along with the vessel’s engine. The saboteurs had designed the damage on the engine to cause the ship to sink while out to sea, potentially killing all those on board. In an interview on DemocracyNow!, former Israeli Air-Force pilot and crewmember on the American ship the Audacity of Hope, Yonatan Shapira explains what happened:
“What they did is they cut, small cuts in both of the shuts that goes to the propellers and as soon as the captain of their boat, just for checking the engine, turned it on it completely "bended" it. The boat is now dry docked and they hope to be ready in maybe a couple of days or so.
They are definitely trying whatever they can not to let us go. Yesterday as an act of safety I dived around the boat in this quite filthy water, but we wanted to make sure that our boat is still fine, but we have to guard 24 hours a day and make sure that no one is sabotaging our boat, which of course is an act of crime, it’s a completely criminal thing to sabotage engines, propellers of a boat, it can create an accident, it can create a very very dangerous potential harm for passengers or crew. So we have to be very very careful, but determined with a lot of audacity and a lot of hope.”
It has been reported plastic explosives were involved. However, sabotaging the ships is not all that Israel is doing. The Israeli military (IDF) has once again turned-up the propaganda machine. On Monday, IDF spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovitz announced that there were “radical elements involved in the flotilla, “It has come to our attention recently that the organizers of the flotilla are more violent than it was first perceived. We know for a fact that the organizers of the flotilla are planning to use sulphuric acids against IDF soldiers.”
Of course the flotilla participants emphatically deny Israel’s outlandish accusations. According to the Israeli newspaper, Maariv, Israeli ministers have accused the army of peddling in disinformation and several unnamed members of Israel’s security cabinet have reportedly claimed the army is engaged in “media spin” and “public relations hysteria.”
It should be remembered that during last year’s Freedom Flotilla attack nine humanitarian activists were summarily executed by IDF commandos. All the while Israel confiscated all the recording equipment from reporters and crewmembers. Then Israel the released highly edited videos in which they intentionally distorted the facts and shamefully dubbed in anti-Semitic language to further cover-up their massacre. The United Nations Human Rights Council investigated last year’s Flotilla killings and concluded that “a series of violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, were committed by the Israeli forces during the interception of the flotilla and during the detention of passengers in Israel prior to deportation.”
It is now clear that Israel is planning a repeat campaign of lies, media spin, disinformation and mass murder. The fact that Israel has sabotaged a ship in a way that it would sink while at sea is a moral outrage. The fact that Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration support Israel’s actions and promote Israel’s lies is equally outrageous.
A few days ago, Alice Walker participated in a press conference in which she explains her choice to join the Freedom Flotilla Two. It is a bit of a long excerpt, but I felt it is important to provide the full speech:
“My name is Alice Walker, and I am with the U.S. boat to Gaza and very happy to be a part of our delegation, which is very soulful and making wonderful sounds. And thank you very much. I am going to Gaza because my government has failed, it has failed us, it has failed to understand or to care about the Gazan people. But worse than that, our government is ignorant of our own history in the United States. For instance, when black people were enslaved for 300 years, it took a lot of people from outside of our communities to come to help free us. And also, during the period of the civil rights movement, which was 19—in the 1960s, again, it took people from outside of our own communities to come and help us free ourselves. This is a fine tradition of going to people who need us wherever they exist on the planet. This is our responsibility. This is what we are here for as human beings.
And so, I just would like to say that we are on our way, that Hillary Clinton may put up all of the protests that she likes, and she may say that we should not travel, that it is dangerous. We know it is dangerous. We know, for instance, that climate change is probably just as dangerous as getting on a boat to Gaza and that people should be paying attention to that, too.
I also feel that when our government, in the person of our president, can make a speech about this area, and really speak only to the Israelis and not to the Palestinians, this is unacceptable. We cannot accept this. I mean, we look at what has happened to the Palestinian people for all of these decades, and it is insufferable. We will not accept it. We will not. As Americans, with our history of enslavement of people, of segregation, of apartheid, of brutalization, of lynching, we will not accept this. We will not.
So, Gazans, and especially the children, we are on our way. We are coming. We hear you. We are coming.
And I look at you in this room, and I realize that this is what—you know, if we have a salvation as human kind, it is in this room. It is the people who have gathered here for what is one of the hardest tasks for us. This situation is one of the hardest on the planet, and it is up to us to try to solve it, to bring some comfort, to bring some light, because, otherwise, what chance do we have with all the other problems? I mean, we now have tornadoes that are a mile wide. There has to be somebody to help take care of things like Gaza, so that we will be strong enough to deal with tornadoes, earthquakes, floods. You know, this is our future. This is our present. This is our future. So, in a sense, if we work on these issues, you know, that we are beginning to see, I mean, we are freeing ourselves of the myths that have crippled us, but we’re beginning to see what is the truth. And if we can see what is the truth about this situation, we will free ourselves to work on the real issue for humanity, which is protecting earth. Thank you.”
Tomorrow, July 1, 2011, Alice Walker and fifty other mostly American citizens will board the Audacity of Hope and head off to Gaza. To learn more about the other passengers and crew, check out this link.
What can you do to protect Alice Walker and the other brave humanitarian activists from around the world who are participating the Freedom Flotilla Two campaign? Email President Obama. Remind Obama that he has sworn an oath to protect Americans and it is his responsibility to abide by international laws and treaties the U.S. have signed onto. Remind Obama that last year the U.N Human Rights Council determined Israel had violated international laws and summarily executed nine human rights activists, including an American photographer Furkan Dogan. Remind Obama that Dogan was shot in the face at point blank range while lying wounded, face-down on the deck of the ship. Israeli commandos executed Dogan for the unthinkable crime of video recording the Israeli massacre.
This past weekend, the Israeli government warned journalists that they will be barred from Israel for 10 years if they board a Gaza-bound ship. The Foreign Press Association stated the warnings, "sends a chilling message to the international media and raises serious questions about Israel’s commitment to freedom of the press." It has been reported that former U.S. State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley Tweeted a response, quote, "Israel is working against its own self-interest by pressuring journalists not to cover the Gaza flotilla, clearly a newsworthy event."
There is only one reason why Israel does not want the Freedom Flotilla Two campaign to be reported on, Israel is planning another massacre. Once again, Israel is planning to blame unarmed, humanitarian activists for “blood and confrontation.” Hillary Clinton and the State Department is backing-up Israel in this disinformation campaign. To prevent “blood and confrontation” and the potential assassination of one of America’s greatest literary treasures, email the president today. Demand Obama instruct Israel not to attack the humanitarian activists. Simply, tell Obama to let the flotilla deliver the letters and aid to the people of Gaza.