Greens raise funds for Gaza ‘ark’

 

FreeGazaAustralia logoTHE NSW Greens have outraged Jewish leaders by organising a fundraiser cruise to support a plan for Palestinians to build an "ark" in Gaza and try to ruin the Israeli naval blockade of the territory.

Greens MP David Shoebridge used his office and website to promote a "sail in solidarity" voyage on Sydney Harbour last night to raise money for the "Gaza's Ark" campaign.

"The economic situation in Gaza is desperate, with most of its land trade shut down by Israeli border guards, its airport destroyed by Israeli bombardments . . . and its fishing fleet coming under Israeli fire if it moves beyond six nautical miles from the coast," Mr Shoebridge's website says.

"Gaza's Ark will challenge the blockade by rebuilding a boat in Gaza using Palestinian shipbuilders, load the vessel with Palestinian goods and products and sail to international waters with both Palestinians and internationals on board.

"The goal is to challenge the ongoing, illegal Israeli blockade and focus worldwide attention on Gaza and the complicity of the governments that support it or look the other way."

The description of the project on Mr Shoebridge's website is mild compared with the international Gaza's Ark website, which focuses on alleged Israeli atrocities and what is claimed to be a policy of "apartheid" towards Palestinians, as well as promoting the international boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against the Jewish state.

Mr Shoebridge said the Gaza's Ark project was not a BDS campaign, though he said BDS was "one of the legitimate ways" to fight against what he said was Israeli oppression.

Prominent NSW Greens who joined Mr Shoebridge on last night's fundraiser included senator Lee Rhiannon, who has supported BDS, his fellow state upper house member John Kaye, and the preselected candidate for a Greens state upper house seat, Mehreen Faruqi.

About 50 other Palestinian supporters disembarked after a three-hour cruise on Sydney harbour last night. "It's an excellent fundraiser and we support it as Parliamentarians for Palestine," Senator Rhiannon said.

Mr Shoebridge has had the occasional run-in with the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, including claiming that a parliamentary visit by some state MPs other than Greens to Israel was a one-sided Israeli PR tour supported by the board.

The board's chief executive, Vic Alhadeff, said: "The reality which Mr Shoebridge and his colleagues mischievously ignore is that all people of goodwill support the citizens of Gaza in their aspirations for a better life.

"The problem is that they suffer under the brutal Hamas regime which wages war on Israel."

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