Anti-Zion Jews mark flotilla day

Jewish anti-Zionists joined pro-Palestinian activists at a memorial event this week, to mark the first anniversary of the Gaza flotilla incident.

Nine Turkish activists died during a confrontation with Israeli forces on May 31 last year as the flotilla, led by the Mavi Marmara ship, attempted to reach Gaza.

Tuesday's event at central London's Conway Hall was organised by the Friends of Al-Aqsa group. Its chairman, Ismail Patel, travelled on the Mavi Marmara. He said: "What we tried to do that day was bring some kind of light to the people of Gaza, by bringing an end to the siege of Gaza."

Diana Neslen, of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, told the audience: "We honour tonight those brave volunteers who sailed into the unknown to challenge the blockade. We remember with the deepest sorrow those wonderful men who were so brutally murdered.

"There were many who questioned whether it was right to have a Jewish boat [in the flotilla]. When Israel can call itself 'the Jewish state'... we have to be seen to state loud and clear that Israel today does not represent Jewish values as we see it. This is not any Judaism we can recognise."

A member of the strictly Orthodox anti-Zionist Neturei Karta sect called for a no-fly zone over Gaza, and said: "As a Jew, I am deeply embarrassed how this could have happened in the Jewish name.

"Israel has conquered the hearts and minds of so many Jewish people. We will not let the Zionists make this into a religious issue. Zionism is bankrupt."

Sarah Colborne, of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, wept as she recalled travelling on board the flotilla. She said: "I'm proud to have been on the Mavi Marmara and seen such heroism."

The next British flotilla – Britain 2 Gaza – is due to set sail in the coming weeks.

    Last updated: 12:14pm, June 2 2011