Lift the Siege of Gaza: Freedom Waves Flotilla to Gaza 2011

Press Coverage

In November of 2011, two boats (together known as the Freedom Wave Flotilla) on their way to Gaza were intercepted in international waters by the Israeli navy. One boat, the Tahrir, carried passengers from seven countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Palestine, and the United States). Among them was one passenger who was on the U.S. Boat to Gaza--The Audacity of Hope-- CODEPINK's very own Kit Kittredge. The other boat, from Ireland, included parliamentarians among its passengers. Both boats carried representatives of the international press.

These boats are the latest of a series of Freedom Flotillas that have challenged the blockade. In 2010 the Israeli military attacked the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, leaving nine dead. In June 2012, another group of ships was stopped from sailing to Gaza by the Greek government, under pressure from Israel and the United States.

 "We are excited by this new attempt to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza," said CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin, who at the time was a part of the support team in Turkey. "We are determined to keep sailing--again and again--until Israel lifts this inhuman siege against 1.6 million people."

NOTE: Various accounts from prisoners have come out contradicting Israel's claim of a peaceful takeover of the boats. Some activists were tasered and beaten, and at least one of the captains abused during interrogation. For accounts that we have been able to obtain, please see: and

To stay updated on future flotillas and efforts to break the illegal siege of Gaza follow these twitter feeds: @CanadaBoatGaza, @democracynow, and @medeabenjamin.

Blogs and Press Releases from the Freedom Wave Flotilla:

News Coverage:

Australian activist reports Israeli violence aboard flotilla - Bikya Masr, November 7, 2011

Human Rights Activists on Gaza Flotilla beaten by Israeli Forces - IBTimes, November 7, 2011

Israel Intercepts Gaza-Bound Flotilla; Dozens Remain Detained... - Democracy Now, November 7, 2011

Martin condemns Israeli arrests - Irish Times, November 7, 2011

Activists on peace flotilla 'roughed up'- Sydney Morning Herald, November 7, 2011

Flotilla Passengers Accuse Israel Of Unnecessary Violence And Endangerment - International Middle East Media Center, November 7, 2011

'Flotilla activists still being detained in Israel'
- Jerusalem Post, November 6, 2011

Canadian flotilla activist says he was Tasered -, November 6, 2011

Gaza flotilla interception 'violent and dangerous' - Irish Examiner, November 6, 2011

21 Gaza flotilla activists still in Israeli jail - AFP, November 6, 2011

Israel begins deporting Gaza flotilla activists - Ha'aretz, November 6, 2011

Israel intercepts new Gaza flotilla - Israel Today, November 6, 2011

21 flotilla activists still detained in Israel - Jerusalem Post, November 6, 2011

Another flotilla heads to Gaza - Ynetnews, November 2, 2011

Gaza flotilla organizers to Haaretz: Plan kept secret until last minute - Ha'aretz, November 2, 2011

Navy tracking small Gaza-bound flotilla that left Turkey - Jerusalem Post, November 2, 2011

Another flotilla sets sail for Gaza - CNN, November 2, 2011

Israel Navy tracks new Gaza-bound flotilla- Ha'aretz, November 2, 2011

Activists committed to Palestinian rights sail toward the Gaza Strip - Los Angeles Times, November 2, 2011

Gaza sea blockade: two boats from Turkey set out to break siege - The Guardian, November 2, 2011

Aid ships in new bid to run Gaza blockade: activists - AFP, November 2, 2011

Flotilla aiming to break Gaza blockade leaves from Turkey - Jerusalem Post, November 2, 2011

Middle East A Canadian boat to Gaza -, November 2, 2011

Israeli aboard flotilla: Hope we can break Gaza blockade - Ynetnews, November 2, 2011

New flotilla: 2 ships en route to Gaza
- Ynetnews, November 2, 2011


On July 1st, 2011, the Audacity of Hope attempted to sail to Gaza, but just 20 minutes into the trip, the ship was stopped by the Greek Coast Guard and forced to turn back. It was impounded in a Greek military port, the captain was put in jail, and several of the passengers began a hunger strike in front of the US embassy in Athens. Those passengers were actually reported to the police by the American Embassy and arrested by Greek authorities! They have since been released, and so has the captain, but the Audacity of Hope remains trapped in the Greek military port.

Blogs and Press Releases from the US Boat to Gaza:

July 6th Update - U.S. Boat to Gaza

July 4th Update - US Boat to Gaza

Icelandic MP visists Gaza-Bound US flotilla at Military Compound in Athens - PINKTANK, July 4, 2011

Jailed Fasting for Gaza at the US Embassy in Athens - PINKTANK, July 4, 2011

A July Fourth Shame on the Founders,  by Ray McGovern (Audacity of Hope passenger), July 3, 2011

Letter to US Embassy in Greece regarding the Audacity of Hope, by Richard Forer

Contact information for Greek Government

The U.S. Boat to Gaza calls for pressure on the U.S. State Department- Action Alert, July 3, 2011

Greek Coast Guard forces US Boat to returns to port; hope remains
– Pink Tank blog entry, July 2, 2011

U.S. Boat to Gaza Seized by Greek Authorities and Captain Jailed: Passengers Determined to Free Captain and Set Sail Again- Press Release, July 2, 2011

Inspiring Press Conference Held at the Audacity of Hope

Do the Israeli territorial waters reach up to the port of Piraeus /Keratsini? - Free Gaza Movement Press Release, July 1, 2011

Sabotage of M.V. Saoirse in Turkey ‘An Act of International Terrorism'

Audacity Invites Media to Inspect Boat and Passengers- “We're Sulfur-Free and Ready to Sail” Press Release: June 29, 2011

US Boat to Gaza Press Conference in Athens

“International Solidarity & History in the Making” Pink Tank Blog entry, June 28, 2011

 “More from Athens: “It' unbelievable how inhumane and violent they are” Pink Tank Blog entry, June 27, 2011

News Coverage:

Medea Benjamin, Greece, the U.S., Israel, and the Gaza Flotilla - The Nation Radio, July 13, 2011

The Freedom Flotilla is not over: We will continue our work until the Gaza blockade is lifted, by the Canadian Boat to Gaza, July 8, 2011

Israel expels 30 pro-Palestinian activists over weekend, holds 81 more in jail - Haaretz Daily, July 11, 2011

Gaza, Flotilla II Threatens Israel's Dream Op-Ed- Al-Jazeerah: Cross Cultural Understanding, July 11, 2011 

‘Gazans unwilling to rely on int'l aid' Interview with Canadian Passenger - Press TV, July 10, 2011

Israel-Greece Ties Keep Flotilla Anchored - Bloomgberg News, July 10, 2011

Pro-Palestinian activists withdraw Tahrir ship from Gaza flotilla - Haaretz, July 9, 2011

After Greek stop, Canadians end bid to visit Gaza - CTV News, July 9, 2011

French flotilla ship 'sails for Gaza'
- Al Jazeera, July 9, 2011

French flotilla ship 'Dignity' allowed to sail from Crete
- Jerusalem Post, July 9, 2011

Greek coast guard stops third Gaza boat - Ekathimerini, July 7, 2011

Gaza flotilla: 'Solidarity more important than aid'- Guardian, July 6, 2011

Single boat heads to Gaza as flotilla stalls in Greece - Vancouver Sun, July 6, 2011

Greek government "deaf" to Gaza flotilla activists' call - Reuters, July 6, 2011

French protest boat 'quits Greece for Gaza' - France 24, July 5, 2011

 US Gaza flotilla captain freed, French boat on its way - Radio France Internationl - July 5, 2011

Sabatoge row: flotilla organizers ‘living in a James Bond movie' - Sydney Morning Herald, July 5, 2011

Greek court releases American Gaza boat captain - Europe MSNBC/AP, July 5, 2011

Hunt for ship's captain as Canadians linked to Gaza flotilla arrested
- Toronto Star, July 5, 2011

French Flotilla boat sets sail for Gaza - Al Jazeera, July 5, 2011

Israel's new friend: Why Greece is thwarting Gaza flotilla – The Christian Science Monitor, July 5, 2011

Greek coastguard forces Gaza ‘freedom flotilla' vessel back to port - The Guardian UK, July 4, 2011

The Blockade is the problem - Haaretz Editorial, July 4, 2011

With Gaza flotilla stalled, both sides claim victory - Washington Post, July 3, 2011

Gaza flotilla: We still plan to breach blockade - Associated Press, July 3, 2011

Israel accepts Greek offer to transport flotilla's aid to Gaza; ships due to depart Monday - Haaretz, July 3, 2011

Greece jails U.S. captain on Gaza-bound boat - San Francisco Chronicle, July 3, 2011

Leftist Greek MPs accuse government of caving to Israeli pressure to stop Gaza flotilla - Haaretz, July 3, 2011

US captain of Gaza ship held in 'shocking conditions' - Ma'an News Agency, July 3, 2011

Gaza flotilla plots next move – Forbes/Associated Press, July 3, 2011

Stranded flotilla activists still hopeful – Al Jazeera, July 3, 2011

Ships ready to leave Greece on Monday - Toronto Star, July 3, 2011

Gaza Freedom Flotilla FAQ - CTV News, July 3, 2011

Greece offers humanitarian aid to Gaza with UN assist - Reuters, July 3, 2011

Gaza Flotilla Determined to Sail Despite Setbacks - Voices of America, July 2, 2011'

Setting Sail on Gaza's Sea of Spin - New York Times, July 2, 2011

Mideast mediators urge govts to show caution with Gaza-bound flotillas after arrest of captain – Washington Post/AP, July 2, 2011

Clinton allowed Sat. attack on American Human Rights for Gaza workers? –, July 2, 2011

Greece arrests US captain of Gaza aid ship - BBC news, July 2, 2011

Hope lost, audacity Found - Al Jazeera, July 2, 2011

More Setbacks for Gaza Bound Flotilla – CBS news: Video, July 2, 2011

Israel lost flotilla war: Op-ed: Best way to counter PR flotilla to Gaza Strip would have been to ignore it – Ynet News, July 1, 2011

Greece halts Canadian ship in Gaza flotilla-, July 1, 2011

Breaking: Greek Coast Guard Blocks 2011 Flotilla/US Boat to Gaza
- OpEdNews July 1, 2011

Stuck in Dock, Flotilla Activists See the Hand of Israel - New York Times, July 1, 2011

Break Blockade of Gaza – Forbes/AP, July 1, 2011

Irish ship will not sail to Gaza after 'sabotage' -, June 30, 2011

Senator Wants US-Israeli Op Against Flotilla -, June 29, 2011

Arab activists buy $995,800 boat for Gaza flotilla - Asia One News, June 29, 2011

Confrontation Begins Before the Sailing
- IPS, June 27, 2011

Gaza flotilla organizers demand Greek police provide security for ships- Haaretz, June 29, 2011

Flotilla: Even state officials say Netanyahu, IDF spread lies
, +972 June 29, 2011

Obama should support the Audacity of Hope, condemn Israeli naval blockade
– by Ann Wright, The Hill, June 28, 2011

Flotilla To Challenge Israel's Blockade Of Gaza
- NPR June 28, 2011

Israel Law Center behind harassment of flotilla funded by homophobic End Timer Pastor John Hagee- Mondoweiss, June 27, 2011

Kucinich: Ensure Safety of U.S. Citizens on The Audacity of Hope - Huffington Post, June 26, 2011

Lieberman: Flotilla activists seek confrontation and blood - Reuters, June 29th, 2011

Gaza activists: Sabotage damages flotilla ship - CBS News, June 28, 2011

Flotilla Activists Deny Israeli Claims of Violent Intent - AFP, June 28th, 2011

Gaza Flotilla Renews Debate on Israel's Blockade - The Science Monitor, June 28, 2011

Flotilla To Challenge Israel's Blockade Of Gaza - NPR, June 28th, 2011

Egypt to assist international Gaza flotilla - The Sydney Morning Herald, June 28th, 2011

US Government Threatens to Arrest US Flotilla Participants
- Palestine News Network, June 27, 2011

Israel Rescinds Threat to Reporters on Flotilla - New York Times, June 27, 2011

Intense Israeli lobbying stalls Gaza flotilla - Christian Science Montior, June 27, 2011

Gaza flotilla activists: One of our ships was sabotaged - Haaretz Daily Newspaper, June 7, 2011

IDF: We Must Examine Any Vessels Determined to Arrive in Gaza - Israel National News, June 27, 2011

Activists: Israel presses Greece to halt flotilla - Seattle PI, June 27, 2011

Israel: Freedom Flotilla 2 determined to reach Gaza; Israel determined to stop it - LA Times, June 27, 2011

Ireland FM warns Israel against violent interception of Gaza flotilla - Haaretz Daily Newspaper, June 26, 2011

Report: Group says its responsible for flotilla complaint - Jerusalem Post, June 26, 2011

Article: Israel denies fiscal pressure on Greece to block flotilla boats- CNN, June 26, 2011

Gaza flotilla to set sail Tuesday
-, June 26 2011

Article: Israel warns media over latest Gaza flotilla - Al Jazeera English, June 26, 2011

Greece to Gaza: The efforts to stop activists from getting across the Mediterranean to Gaza -

Israel threatens to punish journalists for covering Gaza flotilla - Christian Science Monitor, June 26, 2011

Ireland FM warns Israel against violent interception of Gaza flotilla - Haaretz, June 26th, 2011

Pictures and Videos:

CODEPINK Dallas Solidarity Video

Video from activists on board Canadian flotilla ship - Al Jazeera station on YouTube, July 6, 2011

Solidarity Video from Arizona - YouTube video

Free Gaza Eiffel Tower - YouTube Video: July 3, 2011

Fasting Passengers - Photos, July 3, 2011

“Medea Benjamin is Going on the US Boat to Gaza” - The Struggle Video Network, YouTube video

Pictures and Videos from Greece

International Flotilla II protests at US Embassy in Athens- pictures

US BOAT TO GAZA: The Audacity To Love : YouTube Video

Inauguration of the Audacity of Hope, the US Boat to Gaza: Slideshow

Irish Flotilla Activists Show Damage to Their Boat - NY Times Blog/Video posts - July 1, 2011

 Hysterical Hasbara: 

"Sex with a Psychologist" - anti-flotilla YouTube video

Flotilla Activists Seek “Blood”: Israeli FM - Yahoonews, June 28th, 2011

The Flotilla to Gaza and Its Real Agenda: The People of Gaza are Suffering, But Not Because of Israel - Jewish Daily Forward, June 28, 2011

IDF: Some flotilla activists planning to kill soldiers - Jerusalem Post, June 27, 2011

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