Factsheet: Air Flotilla 2

FACTSHEET:

AIR FLOTILLA 2

APRIL 15, 2012

 

What is the ‘Air Flotilla 2’?

Also known as the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ campaign, the ‘Air Flotilla 2′ is yet another attempt to undermine Israel’s legitimacy and manufacture anti-Israel publicity. The project organisers aim to have large numbers of international “activists” flying into Ben Gurion airport on the same day – Sunday, April 15, 2012.

Hasn’t there been a similar project in the past?

Yes. In July 2011 many of the same people and organisations used an identical formula to launch the ‘Flytilla’, as it was dubbed at the time. The majority of participants were then prevented from boarding their flights by the airlines and most of those who did arrive in Israel were apprehended and swiftly deported.

Who is organising the ‘Air Flotilla 2’?

The campaign is a collaborative project between the Palestine Justice Network (PJN), various other Palestinian NGOs and civil society groups and ‘Palestine Solidarity’ groups based mostly in Europe, with the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign being particularly prominent.

Several of the campaign’s organisers – for example Mazin Qumsiyeh and Mustafa Barghouti - were also involved in the recent ‘Global March to Jerusalem’ project.

A significant proportion of the ‘Air Flotilla 2′ endorsers also lent their names to the Global March to Jerusalem, including Noam Chomsky, Ronnie Kasrils, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb and Susan Abulhawa.

What are the objectives of ‘Air Flotilla 2’?

According to the organisers, the project is part of the “challenge to Israel’s illegal siege of Palestine”, with their publicity stating that:

“There is no way into Palestine other than through Israeli control points. Israel has turned Palestine into a giant prison, but prisoners have a right to receive visitors.

Welcome to Palestine 2012 will again challenge Israel’s policy of isolating the West Bank while the settler paramilitaries and army commit brutal crimes against a virtually defenceless Palestinian civilian population.”

In 2011 the Palestine Justice Network launched a campaign entitled the ‘One State Initiative’ which rejects the internationally accepted route of negotiations leading to a two-state solution in order to end the Arab-Israeli conflict. Thus, ‘Air Flotilla 2′ represents another campaign designed to lead ultimately to an externally imposed ‘one state solution’ which would entail the dismantling of Israel as a Jewish state and an end to Jewish self-determination.

Provocation and bad public relations for Israel are also part of the underlying motive of the project, as expressed by organizer Jaques Neno when he told potential participants at a meeting in Paris last January that should they end up being arrested, “you have won because when Israel puts you in prison it shows how it becomes more and more fascist”.

Is the ‘Air Flotilla 2′ a cause for concern?

According to unverified reports by the organisers themselves, legal action taken against the airlines after last year’s similar campaign may prevent this year’s participants from being denied departure. Whether or not this is the case remains to be seen, but certainly the numbers of activists taking part this year appear to be considerably more than in 2011, despite warnings from several European governments to their citizens not to take part in the project.

The fact that ‘Air Flotilla 2′ is taking place on the day after the end of the Passover holiday, when many legitimate visitors to Israel and Israelis returning from holidays abroad will be flying home, means that Ben Gurion airport will be particularly busy on that day even without this provocation.

How can I find out more about the ‘Air Flotilla 2’?

CiF Watch has produced a special report on the subject which can be viewed here.

For further information, please contact Adam Levick, managing editor of CiF Watch, at: adamlevick@cifwatch.com.

About CiF Watch (www.cifwatch.com)

Monitoring ‘Air Flotilla 2’ is a special project of CiF Watch. CiF Watch is a media monitor dedicated to exposing and combating antisemitism and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy at the Guardian and its ‘Comment is Free’ blog.