u.s. rep calls for arrest of flotilla survivors, survivors say bring it

US Representative Brad Sherman, a Democrat and chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee’s subcommittee on terrorism, has asked US Attorney General Eric Holder to arrest and prosecute US citizens who survived the Gaza Freedom Flotilla massacre. Sherman's bluster deftly combines two well-worn, Democratic dance moves - falling all over themselves to prove how much they love Israel, and beating their chests to appear tough on terrorism - into one grand Orwellian farce.

From Foreign Policy in Focus:
Because the Gaza Strip is currently ruled by Hamas, according the Sherman, any humanitarian aid to the people of that territory is “clearly an effort to give items of value to a terrorist organization,” which is prosecutable under the 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. Despite the active support of the humanitarian aid effort by a number of pacifist organizations in the United States and Europe, Sherman insists that the organizers of the flotilla have “clear terrorist ties,” dismissing critical analysis of such charges as part of the ideological agenda of “the liberal media.”

Sherman also announced he would be working with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that the more than 700 non-U.S. citizens who took part in the flotilla would be permanently barred from ever entering the United States. This would include European parliamentarians, Nobel laureates, as well as leading writers, artists, intellectuals, pacifists, and human rights activists, virtually none of whom are in the least bit sympathetic with Hamas or with terrorism.

. . . .

Organizers and endorsers of the flotilla include such reputable American peace groups as Code Pink, Jewish Voice for Peace, Pax Christi, the American Friends Service Committee, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, the Resource Center for Nonviolence, War Resisters League, Women in Black and others. Supporters of this nonviolent effort to bring humanitarian aid to the people of the Gaza Strip also include such Israeli groups such as Yesh G’vul, Coalition of Women for Peace, New Profile, and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, among others.

Despite this, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), insists that these groups are “pro-Hamas people.” Rep. Elliot Engel (D-NY) claims that the organizers of the flotilla have “links to Hamas and reportedly played a role in the attempted Millennium bombing in Los Angeles.” Rep. Ron Klein D-FL) insists that the real agenda of these peace and human rights organizations is “to bolster the terrorist Hamas government in Gaza.” Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) argues that Israel’s attack on the unarmed flotilla laden with humanitarian supplies part of an effort to “defend herself against terrorism.”

To which the Gaza Freedom activists reply: I dare you. CNN reports:
Activists with several free Gaza groups will symbolically surrender Thursday at a Congressman's office, after the lawmaker called for the prosecution of Americans who were aboard a flotilla raided last week by Israeli authorities.

On a conference call organized by the non-profit Israel Project last week, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-California, said that the Justice Department should prosecute any U.S. citizen aboard the well-publicized flotilla that was stopped by the Israeli military on its way to Gaza last week. Nine people were killed in the May 31 incident.

"So what is illegal is helping Hamas," Sherman said. "I will be asking the attorney general to prosecute all Americans involved in what was a clear effort to give items of value to a terrorist organization."

The U.S. State Department considers Hamas a foreign terrorist organization.

Sherman said the activists could be prosecuted under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, which makes it illegal to give supplies to terror groups

Members of Gaza Freedom March said its group and others would offer themselves up for arrest Thursday at 2 p.m. ET.

"Should Rep. Sherman seek to arrest us, we have faith that no jury in America would possibly convict us for our humanitarian and human rights work in Palestine," the organizers said in a statement.

If Sherman does not have them arrested, the group said it will hold a memorial service for people who died in the raid.

The raid has sparked international condemnation and calls for an investigation.

Thanks to Russell for the FPIF link.

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