Six members of Congress ask Secretary Clinton to ‘ensure the safety of all American citizens on board the Audacity of Hope’

For Immediate Release
June 27, 2011

Media Contacts:
Athens/en route to Gaza: Robert Naiman, U.S. Mobile: (217) 979-2857
Washington, DC: Kate Gould, (202) 657-4882 press [at] justforeignpolicy.org

WASHINGTON, DC: On Friday, June 24, six members of Congress wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, asking her to "do everything in your power" to help "ensure the safety of all American citizens on board The Audacity of Hope." The letter, which was initiated by Representative Dennis Kucinich, notes The Audacity of Hope's willingness to open its cargo to "international inspection" and their commitment to "nonviolence and the tenets of international law."

The letter was signed by Representatives Dennis Kucinich [OH-10], William Lacy Clay [MO-1], Sam Farr [CA-17], Bob Filner [CA-51], Eleanor Holmes Norton [DC], and Barbara Lee [CA-9].

The letter is viewable online below or here.

Robert Naiman, Policy Director of Just Foreign Policy, issued the following response from Athens, Greece, where he is preparing to sail to Gaza as a passenger on The Audacity of Hope:

"This letter is historic, marking the first time members of Congress have publicly expressed concern for the safety of the U.S. passengers aboard The Audacity of Hope. This statement runs in stark contrast to Secretary of State Clinton's false accusation that we are trying to ‘provoke action by entering into Israeli waters', when in fact we have every intention of sailing to Gaza peacefully and avoiding Israeli waters entirely. We hope Secretary Clinton heeds this request from Congress and speaks out against threats from the Israeli authorities to attack us in our effort to break the illegal blockade on the Gaza Strip."

Naiman, a Jewish-American from Urbana, Illinois, has family in Israel, and has traveled throughout Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. In his article "Kucinich: Ensure Safety of U.S. Citizens on The Audacity of Hope," Naiman analyzes the letter's importance: http://bit.ly/jFtje7

The letter urges the Secretary of State to "work with the Israeli government to ensure the safety of the U.S. citizens on board"; affirms that the Israeli government has the duty to "protect its citizens" and that "the measures it uses to do so, as in the case of any other nation, must conform to international humanitarian human rights law"; and notes the commitment of the passengers on The Audacity of Hope to nonviolence and international law.

###

Just Foreign Policy is a nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to reforming U.S. foreign policy by mobilizing and organizing the broad majority of Americans who support diplomacy, rule of law and international cooperation.

****

June 24, 2011

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Clinton,

We write to express our concern for the safety of American passengers on the U.S. ship The Audacity of Hope, which will set sail for Gaza in the next few days. We request that you do everything in your power to work with the Israeli government to ensure the safety of the U.S. citizens on board.

A year ago, Israel took military action against the "Gaza flotilla" in international waters, which resulted in the deaths of nine civilians, including one American citizen. In addition, ten Israeli commandos and more than 20 passengers were injured in this tragic incident. In order to avoid another confrontation this year, we urge all parties to practice maximum restraint and avoid violence.

We wholeheartedly support Israel's right, and indeed its duty, to protect its citizens from security threats. The measures it uses to do so, as in the case with any other nation, must conform to international humanitarian and human rights law. We are encouraged that The Audacity of Hope organizers have stated that their cargo "is open to international inspection" and that they "are fully committed to nonviolence and the tenets of international law".

We look forward to working with you in any way we can and encourage you to ensure the safety of all American citizens on board The Audacity of Hope.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Representative Dennis Kucinich (OH-10)
Representative William Lacy Clay (MO-1)
Representative Sam Farr (CA-17)
Representative Bob Filner (CA-51)
Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC)
Representative Barbara Lee (CA-9)

There should be no question regarding ensuring security of these people.

Israel's blockage of Gaza is collective punishment of 1.2 million Palestinians, and the US is its enabler in this policy of crimes against humanity. We should be ashamed!

Protect the goodship Audacity of Hope.

Just as Gitierrez said, there should be no question about the protection and safety of United States citizens aboared the "Audacity of Hope".

I fear that Zafar Khan will prove to be correct. Our government has warned US citizens not to participate in the humanitarian endeavor. This leads me to believe that if any Americans are killed/injured by the US, our government will turn a blind eye. Our government will not protect us above Israel's narrow interests.

Thank you Representatives Kucinich, Clay, Farr, Filner, Norton, and Lee. My voice is added to yours.

Stop your duplicitous , totalitarian, fascist appeasement. We will kick out your corporate, military fascist asses~!!!!!!

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Why? Why is Israel not being prosecuted for the collective punishment upon the people of Gaza? Would any other country get away with this? Since the Israeli government has released documents pertaining to the 'diet' allowed into the strip, as well as publicly saying it was punishing the population, isn't it enough to press charges against Israel? The evidence is overwhelming against Israel!

Protect the ship!

The misguided Hamas supporters will not have any problems as long as they peacefully submit to the legal blockade when their ship is directed to the port of Ashdod for inspection. The continuing attempts to smuggle weaponry into Gaza are a threat to the Israeli citizenry and all attempts to end the blockade, no matter how well intentioned, are merely attempts to facilitate the smuggling and excacerbate the conflict.

It's so cute to hear people talk about malnutrition in Gaza when the Population is actually the fifth most obese on planet Earth. If Hamas quit calling for the destruction of israel and ceased firing rockets, mortars and RPGs into Israel there would be no blockade. Every day hundreds of trucks full of food and medicines go into the Gaza strip by land. Every Day electricity that is paid for by the Israeli taxpayer, not the Arab residents flows into Gaza from Israels power plants as well as trucks full of banknotes that keep the economy functioning. Hamas is the source of any suffering in Gaza and to believe otherwise is foolhardy.

Eric, how long have you been on the Agency's payroll? Just asking....

FREE FREE GAZA
... FREE FREE GAZA

THE BOATS WILL SAIL
AND THE ZIONIST COWARD NAVY WILL BACK DOWN.
OR FACE COMPLETE BOYCOTT.

More power to our 6 members of congress who are willing to stand up for what is right. It is just shameful that the State Department and the Administration has not taken a stand against Israel for closing entry into Gaza. It is a crime against humanity. The Jewish Voice for Peace certainly took a stand in favor of Gaza. Maybe if someone in big business could make some money by supporting the Flotilla government would stand up. Terrible to feel this way. I love my country and that is why I must speak out.

Maybe if someone in big business could make some money by supporting the Flotilla government would stand up. Terrible to feel this way. I love my country and that is why I must speak out.

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