Anti-Turkish occupation flotilla to Cyprus called off

Gov't officials persuaded activists to cancel.

Gaza Boat 311 (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Gaza Boat 311
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
A group of Israeli left-wing activists who were angry about the Turkish attacks on IDF soldiers aboard the Mavi Marmara two weeks ago decided Monday to cancel the flotilla that they were planning to Cyprus to protest the Turkish occupation of the island’s northern half.
The Jerusalem Post reported exclusively on June 5 about the planned flotilla, which was to be led by former MK Alex Goldfarb (Tzomet, Yi’ud) and Modi’in Meretz activist Pinhas Har-Zahav.
The story made headlines in Turkey, Cyprus, Greece and throughout Europe, and some 800 supporters of the flotilla joined its Facebook group.
But Israeli government officials persuaded the activists to cancel the voyage, because they were worried that the media attention would remind international media of the Gaza flotilla when most of the world’s attention had shifted to other issues like the British Petroleum spill and the World Cup.
“The publicity we already received did its part in reminding the world [that the Turks are occupiers],” one of the organizers of the flotilla said. “Personally it’s depressing for me that we didn’t get to go. But the government officials we spoke to were professionals, and they told us that doing it now was not right for the state, so we listened to them.”
The flotilla was to include 23 yachts of six people each.
The yachts were donated to the cause by their owners.
A group of Israeli students who were planning to go Turkey to remind the world about the Armenian genocide and what they labeled the ongoing Turkish oppression of their Kurdish minority may also cancel their plans.
Abe Selig contributed to this report.