This weekend, the Chicago-based organization Voices for Creative Nonviolence and the Chicago chapter of the American Friends Service Committee are hosting three days of actions to protest the ongoing Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip. The protests began Thursday with a discussion at the Grace Episcopal Church in the South Loop, continuing with a rally at the Chicago headquarters of Boeing and ultimately culminate in the sailing of a flotilla of kayaks, electric boats and other small vessels into the Chicago River. According to the American Friends Service Committee’s press release, the flotilla will “sail in concert with international flotillas attempting to break the siege of Gaza.”
Since Israel and Egypt imposed land, air and sea restrictions on goods entering Gaza following Hamas’ takeover of the territory in 2007, various international humanitarian organizations have organized flotillas to deliver aid such as food, water and medical supplies to the territory. In May of 2010, one such flotilla was boarded by Israeli military forces, and an ensuing confrontation resulted in the deaths of nine activists.
Joining the show to talk more about the flotilla’s goals are two of the events’ organizers, Gazan PhD student in History and Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University Jehad Abusalim and retired U.S. Army colonel and former diplomat Ann Wright.