The June 2015 “Freedom Flotilla III,” or “Open Gaza Port,” is yet another example of NGO political warfare targeting the Jewish state.
On June 26, 2015, the Marianne of Gothenburg set sail from Sicily in a stated attempt to breach the blockade of Gaza, which was initiated to prevent smuggling of weapons and other materials used for terrorist activity. Other vessels were to join the confrontational flotilla.
On June 29, Israeli naval forces intercepted the Marianne of Gothenburg and redirected it toward an Israeli port. The other ships turned away from Gaza.
NGOs in the “Freedom Flotilla Coalition” include: European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza, Freedom Flotilla Italia, Gaza’s Ark, IHH, International Committee for Breaking the Siege on Gaza, Ship to Gaza Greece, Ship to Gaza Norway, Ship to Gaza Sweden, Canadian Boat to Gaza and Rumbo a Gaza. Also participating in the project are Palestine Solidarity Alliance – South Africa, Miles of Smiles and Life Line Gaza – Jordan. See below for details on some of these groups.
In addition, according to its website, the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine (Plateforme des ONG françaises pour la Palestine) is also a supporting organization of the flotilla. The Platform, however, is not referenced on the Flotilla Coalition website.
- The Platform is a network of over 40 highly politicized NGOs that are active in promoting BDS campaigns and other demonizing activities against Israel. Members include AFPS, CCFD-Terre Solidaire, LDH, Amnesty
- International France, and others.
- The Platform received a grant of 225,000 euros from the French Development Agency (AFD) beginning in 2014 over a three-year period.
- The Platform is also active in demanding an end to all relations and agreements between the European Union and Israel. Platform members, including CCDF and AFPS, were also behind the BDS campaign against the Orange mobile phone network in Israel, which was promoted by the Platform.
Humanitarian Aid Foundation (IHH):
- Turkey-based Humanitarian Aid Foundation (IHH) led the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla, a violent confrontation with Israeli forces that resulted in nine deaths. It is listed by several Western governments as a terrorist entity and has alleged links with Hamas and Al Qaeda.
- In an April 2011 interview, IHH president Bülent Yildirim said: “We are not afraid to die as shaheeds.” He also stated: “…we do have a problem with one place, and we declare it boldly, without fear, and without hesitation: Our problem is Zionism, which has infected all of humanity like a virus.”
- IHH is a member of the Union of the Good, an umbrella group of over 50 Islamic organizations established as a funding conduit by the Hamas leadership. The Union of the Good has transferred money, via Hamas charities, to families of suicide bombers.
- Turkish authorities investigated IHH in 1997 after receiving information that senior members had purchased weapons from Islamic radicals. A raid on the organization’s bureau turned up weapons, explosives, and instructions for making IEDs.
- French counter-terrorism magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguiere testified that IHH maintained contact with Al Qaeda in Milan and Algerian terrorists in Europe; recruited militants for fighting in Bosnia, Chechnya, and Afghanistan; and played a “central role” in the Al Qaeda bomb plot targeting LAX airport.
- In an interview conducted after the first flotilla (2010), Demet Tezcan of IHH stated: “The [Israelis] are paranoid cowards, who definitely have a sick mentality. That’s why we have to put an end to this.”
- IHH demonstrated in Istanbul on May 8, 2011, against Israel’s participation in the 4th UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC). One IHH leader stated: “The Zionist state of Israel, which has filled the world with bloodshed for the sake of its interests all around the world, is the chief party responsible for poverty and tears in the world.”
European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG)
- According to the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, the ECESG is a pro-Hamas umbrella organization operating in Europe. It also participated in the 2010 flotilla.
- A number of ECESG’s senior figures are also active in the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), a UK-based NGO with alleged links to Hamas activists.
- Gaza Ark is fiscally sponsored by Nonviolence international, a 501(c)(3) organization registered in Washington, D.C. that endorses boycotts against Israel and sponsors the Nakba Museum Project, thereby presenting the founding of the state of Israel as a “Nakba,” or “catastrophe.”
- According to Gaza Ark’s website, “Organizations and individuals in Australia, North America and Europe purchased over $24 000 USD worth of Palestinian export goods via Gaza’s Ark.”
Palestine Solidarity Alliance
- Based in South Africa, the PSA seeks to “draw the attention to the humans (sic) rights violations perpetrated by Apartheid Israel, the inequality that defines the racism inherent in Zionism and the injustices that continue to cause conflict and suffering.” It also “celebrate[s] the heroic battles and victories of Palestinian people and movements in their struggle for freedom and human dignity.”