Berlin, Germany – Jewish Group Says Sailing to Gaza No Betrayal

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    A flotilla of ships trying to break the blockade of Gaza was stopped by Israel last month [EPA]Berlin, Germany – An organization of German Jews that wants to send an aid ship to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza says that its intentions are no betrayal of the Jewish people.

    In an interview with the German Press Agency dpa in Berlin, Kate Katzenstein-Leiterer, a leader of the German Jewish Voice organisation said instead that they wanted to help preserve the state of Israel by showing that its current policies were wrong.

    “We want Israel to behave in a way that it can be recognized as a democratic state. Now it is recognized as a criminal state. That is not what we want,” she said.

    On May 31 nine people were killed when Israeli naval forces boarded ships in a flotilla carrying aid and activists – some of whom Israel says were armed – bound for the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

    The event caused international outrage, and has prompted Iran to say it will send its own fleet, threatening more confrontation in the Mediterranean.

    “Some see what we are doing as a betrayal. But the question is, what do they really know about the whole thing. Some people don’t want to be educated,” Katzenstein-Leiterer said.

    Jewish Voice plans to fill at least one vessel with educational materials donated by German schoolchildren for Gazan kids, and sail it from a Mediterranean port in mid-July.

    “We don’t want any confrontation with the Israeli navy. We have informed the (Israeli) ambassador in Berlin, and if they find it necessary to stop and check us, we will let them do that.”

    “And when they don’t find any material that could be a security risk, we want them to let us go into Gaza. We won’t unload our cargo in any Israeli or Egyptian port,” she says.

    Katzenstein-Leiterer grew up in the former East Germany, to where her committed Communist parents returned after fleeing Hitler’s regime in World War II.

    Her organisation is part of the European Jews for a Just Peace movement, a ten-country peace-activist network.

    Jewish Voice in Germany says that it has gathered the funds for its aid ship project from personal donations, loans, and a donation from the Left Party, a small political grouping with strong support in the former East.

    “Normal people here don’t understand very much what is going on in Israel and Palestine,” Katzenstein-Leiterer says.

    “The German press doesn’t show what is going on. People think all Gazans are terrorists, like West Germans used to think that all East Germans were informers for the Stasi (secret police).

    Katzenstein-Leiterer says that her group’s stance has caused them to be ostracised by the mainstream German-Jewish community, which numbers a little over 100,000.

    “Most of the Jews in Germany are immigrants from the former Soviet Union, and they are not on our side. The other members of the community are not on our side either. They say that everything that Israel does is OK, and they close their eyes to what is going on.”

    A senior activist in the Jewish Voice movement, Rolf Verleger, was reportedly expelled from his position in the Central Council of Jews in Germany because he initiated a petition saying the 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon was “not in our name.”

    However, Katzenstein-Leiterer says that there are now a small group of German Jews who, despite the weight that Germany’s history places on the Jewish community, want to speak out against a Israeli blockade policy – brought in after Hamas took control of the sliver of territory in 2007 – that they see as wrong.

    “The whole blockade, the whole siege of Gaza is illegal. It is against international law and human rights,” she says.

    “We want to deliver musical instruments and school material. The children and deprived of every kind of school material; clothes, shoes, candies. We don’t see that that is any kind of safety risk.”

    On Thursday the Israeli cabinet was expected to make a decision on scrapping the so-called “positive” list of items that they allow into Gaza in favour of a more relaxed “negative” list of prohibited items that could be of use to militants.

    “We just see that a Jewish state is occupying Palestine, laying a siege, and depriving children of the things that they need. We as Jews are saying, ‘not in our name.’ We want to show that there are Jews in the world that are on the side of these deprived people,” she says.

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    20 COMMENTS

    1. who think that if they just “speak nicely ” to” placate the enemy”, “appeal in a humanistic way”, like Chamberlain vs Germany or Obama vs Iran, then all will be fine .

      This approach led to one of the greatest atrocities committed against mankind.

      Even when the evidence is “glaring”, some people never learn.

    2. Of course what Israel is doing is wrong. It is illegal for Israel to embargo a region vowing to destroy Israel, and who sends rockets into Israel. What Israel should do is just let the Hamas terrorists into Israel to do what they want to do. I don’t understand why Israel doesn’t understand this as well as those Germans do.

    3. Isn’t it interesting that some moron who is born from a Jewish mother jumps up to claim that he ( or she) is entitled to be an expert on all things Jewish because of this?

      These self-hating Jews are on the forefront of the anti-Israel crusade.
      Just recently J Street, a group in the US full of such idiots, has decided to lobby Congress to force Israel to allow arms into Gaza by lifting its embargo.

      See story in jewishdailyreport.wordpress.com .

    4. OHHH NOW they really think that after them sending their things and showing solidarity with terrorists, they will defy history! AY YOU oiberland yiddin. History of nazi germany shows, they come after you and me when they get their chance to pounce just because we share a common denominator. we both are yiddin. your action just encourages anti semitism against all semites! you and me alike. you are just helping fuel the fire of anti semitism. hash-m yishmor.

    5. #7 is right,they weren’t raised with a true torah education,this has produce self-hating jews,so many and this is what the lubavitcher rebbe is doing all over the world, may we see the imm geula!

    6. Those people are just plain STUPID! But…they’re doing one thing right, they are getting their word out! Why can’t Israel do a better public relations job so that these miscreants could understand what fools they are?

    7. What a bunch of useful idiots, besides being the traitors that they are. They have no sense of pride or love of their people because their Judaism is completely worthless; otherwise, they would never have gone back to Germany – an Amalek country dripping with the blood of millions of our people. These so-called Jews are not Jews! They learned nothing from history. They really think they will be accepted by those that hate them (just like the German Jews of the past). They are a disgrace to humanity, in general. They’d be wise to learn from the past.

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