A Flotilla for Gilad Shalit?
06/22/2010 - 16:33
James Besser

I have to confess: I don't know exactly what to say about the planned “True Freedom Flotilla” for Gilad Shalit, a project of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

The idea is this: a bunch of boats will set sail on the East River in New York on Thursday. They'll sail past the Statue of Liberty and head toward the United Nations, where, apparently, participants will hold up signs to “raise awareness that Gilad Shalit remains in captivity and to call for his release,” according to a statement on the Presidents Conference site.

An invitation on Facebook – not put out by the Presidents Conference, best I can tell - made the event sound a little more like a social occasion.

I feel for Jewish leaders, really I do. Shalit's captivity at the hands of Hamas and the cruel way the terrorist group has used negotiations over his release to garner headlines while continually dashing the hopes of those who care about him are terrible.

It's not easy, knowing what individuals and groups in this country can do to speed his release besides pressing U.S. officials to use all the diplomatic means at their disposal on his behalf.

But a “Shalit flotilla?”  I'm having a hard time thinking this is going to influence Hamas.

What do you think?

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So much has happened since I first wrote about my concern for the young soldier, Gilad Shalit. Where are the voices of those who seek justice ,whether it is an American or an Israeli or Canadian or whoever lives a life of caring about others, helping others, the principled men and women who lead nations,states,
etc.? Speak up for justice. Action. If Gilad Shalit is your son, you certainly would
seek his release as a kidnapped young man? He does not deserve this treatment
Dr.Lois Wasserman

The comments I made about Gilad Shalit are written by me. This brave, young Israeli must be freed. Where are the hearts of our fellow brothers and sisters of the world? My very being cries out for this young soldier as well as other men and women who have suffered and killed because they are Israelis. Israel is entitled to receive respect and honest treatment for it is a light unto the nations, the world. Remember the help to the Ethiopians, the Russian Jews,the Vietnamese boat people, setting up hospitals to help Haitians, andothers.
This is the third comment I am making, pleading for the release of Gilad Shalit. He is a young man of peace., serving his country. I am a human visitor. a student of history, a retired Professor of History.
I do not know what happened to the initial comments I made regarding setting Gilad Shalit free. I did not write about the flotilla-I do think that if a delegation of Jewish people who seek justice for Gilad Shalit go to the General Assembly and plead the case for freedom for Gilad Shalit. I also think that a documentary on Jews,Israelis, our religion and our history and culture-our seeking peace for all, is appropriate and about time as well. loiswasserman@comcast.net
I think you've missed the point. The organizers of this flotilla don't imagine they will persuade Hamas to release Shalit. This flotilla is a reminder to a world desperate to turn terrorists into heros that Hamas kidnapped Gilad Shalit four years ago, and he remains captive today. It's a reminder that Israel's blockade went into affect after Hamas staged a murderous and bloody coup against Fatah there. Before Hamas' coup, there were plans already in the works for hotels on Gaza's coast, as well as a port. The True Freedom Flotilla is attempt to inject facts back into the picture of Hamas and the Arab war against Israel.
Carolyn - alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks - you can`t see the forest for the trees - this stupid idea shows another reason why institutional Jewish organizations are out of touch and irrelevant to the next generation of Jews
Given the update: The Presidents Conference informs me there will be no alcoholic beverages served on the Shalit "True Freedom Flotilla." This story is like a table with no legs- it has nothing to stand on. I'm no fan of rallies- and I agree that Hamas will not be persuaded to release Gilad Shalit because of this publicity stunt. However, the event is poised to make a powerful statement about what a truly peaceful Flotilla looks like — and the UN is the audience that needs to hear it. Jeff
Had Mr. Besser made any effort to check, he would know that only cold soft drinks will be provided by the boat crew.

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