Although most of the recent talk regarding flotillas has revolved around ships
sailing toward Gaza, at least two plans have emerged for “reverse flotillas” –
from Israel toward Turkey – to highlight what organizers have labeled the Turks’
“shameless hypocrisy” in their criticisms of the Jewish state.
ambitious of the two plans has been devised by members of Israel’s National
Student Union, who this week announced their intention to set sail toward
Turkey, in an effort to bring humanitarian aid to the “oppressed people of
Turkish Kurdistan” and to members of the “Turkish Armenian minority.”
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Union chairman Boaz Torporovsky, who has been leading the reverse
charge, told The Jerusalem Post
on Monday, “Hundreds of people have
for the flotilla, and many more are contacting us all the time for ways
“Our plan is to deliver much-needed humanitarian assistance to the
Kurds of Turkey, who by the way outnumber Israelis and Palestinians
“And to show that Turkey has its own issues when it comes to the
treatment of its minorities, which they should consider before
Torporovsky added that the National Student Union members had two
flotilla ideas, both of which they hoped to embark on soon. The first
flotilla of private yachts that would head out to sea if additional
flotillas entered Israeli waters.
“We would like to greet them at sea,” he
said. “And explain to them, peacefully – we don’t want any violence –
what it is
that’s really going on here.
We’d like to show them the truth and help
them understand that the reality here is not what they’ve been told.”
Torporovsky said that many yacht owners had already volunteered for that
of the plan, and that he and his colleagues were preparing for the
arrival of a
number of Gaza-bound ships, of European or even Iranian origin.
phase of the National Student Union members’ flotilla plan would be the
ambitious journey to Turkey, though Torporovsky admitted they were
when it came to funding it.
“We need three things to pull this part off,”
“Money, logistical support and balls – and we’ve got the last two
“But it’s here that we really get into the shameless
hypocrisy of the Turks, because while they criticize us day and night,
oppressing the Kurds and silencing the world when it comes to
recognition of the
Torporovsky said his group had already found a captain for
the vessel, a retired Israel Navy sailor, but the ship itself was
“It’s not easy to find a large, sea-bound vessel,” he
“But we’re looking, and we’re raising funds, and as soon as we’re
able to do it, we will.”
But the reverse-flotilla talk hasn’t stopped
Another sea-bound venture is being organized in an effort to draw
attention to Turkey’s own controversial policies – this time to Cyprus,
for an end to the Turkish occupation” of the island’s northern half –
being organized by Meretz activist Pinchas Har-Zahav, and his son Haim,
also signed on for the voyage.
The group is also set to include Alex
Goldfarb, who was an MK with the Tzomet and Yiud parties from 1992 to
is being subsidized by an unnamed wealthy Israeli.
Speaking to the Post
Monday, Haim Har-Zahav said the goal of the voyage was to “remind the
Turkey is not innocent.
“If Uruguay or Iceland were the ones criticizing
us so harshly, it might be a different story,” he said. “But we’re
a country that only seven years after [the Six Day War and the beginning
Israeli control of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank] began occupying
“We’re talking about a country that has systematically killed the
Kurds and refuses to acknowledge their role in the Armenian Genocide,”
“And so no, we will not accept this. The hypocrisy has to stop here.”
added that the ship’s passengers were not looking for a violent
and if told to turn back, they would.
“But we feel that it’s important for
us to show and remind the world that Turkey is not a righteous country,
near-rogue state, and that we, the Israeli people, are not suckers.”
contributed to this report.
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