Please mark your calendar for the next Ta’anit Tzedek fast day, Thursday, October 21, 12:00 pm (EST), which we will mark with a conference call, “Why We Sailed to Gaza” featuring Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire and Israeli peace activist Yonatan Shapira.
Earlier this month, both Maguire and Shapira recently set sail on flotilla of boats attempting to break the siege of Gaza by bringing symbolic amounts of humanitarian aid to its citizens.
Maguire is a well-known Irish peace activist who co-founded the “Community for Peace People” during the period known as “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland. She subsequently helped found the Nobel Womens Initiative, a group of six women Nobel Peace Laureates devoted to strengthening women’s rights and and advocating for justice and peace around the world.
More recently, Maguire has become involved in activism for peace and justice in Israel/Palestine. She has sailed on three boats to Gaza, in October 2008 (when they reached Gaza), on June 2009 and then on the MV Rachel Corrie in June 2010. In 2009 and 2010, the boats were intercepted by the Israeli Navy and she was arrested along with all the passengers. On her most recent attempt, Maguire remained in prison as she fought Israel’s efforts to deport her. The Israeli Supreme Court upheld the decision to deny her entry and she was deported from Israel earlier this month.
Shapira was an officer in the Israeli Air Force and flew hundreds of missions over the territories in a Blackhawk helicopter squadron during the course of his eleven year career. Following a targeted bomb assassination of a Hamas leader that killed fourteen civilians in Gaza, he became a prominent Israeli “refusenik,” authoring the Pilot’s Letter – a 2003 statement signed by 27 Israeli pilots who publicly refused to fly missions over the Occupied Territories. Since that time, Yonatan has gone on to co-found “Combatants for Peace” a prominent organization in the growing Israeli Refusenik movement.
Shapira has also become a public supporter of the internal Israeli movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) known as “Boycott from Within,” and regularly participates in Palestinian nonviolence campaign in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. According to witnesses aboard the “Jewish boat” to Gaza earlier this month, Shapira nonviolently resisted when the IDF boarded the ship and was tazered repeatedly in the heart by the senior commanding officer.
Here’s the call-in info:
Access Number: 1.800.920.7487
Participant Code: 92247763#
There will be a question and answer period during the call – please join the conversation! (Big thanks to our co-sponsors, Jewish Voice for Peace, the Shalom Center, and Shomer Shalom Institute for Jewish Nonviolence.)