Podcast Ep 18: Israel’s Mavi Marmara massacre 10 years on

On Episode 18, we talk to filmmaker Iara Lee, witness to the Mavi Marmara massacre.

In the early hours of 31 May 2010, Israeli commandos in speed boats and helicopters attacked a six-boat flotilla full of international human rights activists bound for Gaza.

The Israelis killed nine people and injured dozens more aboard the largest vessel, the Mavi Marmara.

A 10th victim died of his injuries four years later.

The Israeli forces commandeered the boats with all their passengers and crew and took them to the port of Ashdod, where they were held incommunicado for many days.

All videos and photos were confiscated, and media were not allowed to speak to the hundreds of kidnapped passengers.

“People ask weren’t you scared?” Iara Lee recalls. “I was like no, I was outraged!”

Lee was on board the Mavi Marmara, and smuggled out digital footage of the raid and massacre.

Nine of the victims were Turkish citizens. One, 18-year-old Furkan Doğan, was a US citizen.

Despite this, the Obama administration ignored calls to investigate his execution-style killing and bring the Israeli perpetrators to justice.

Ten years later, those Israeli commandos still escape prosecution.

Lee is the founder and director of the Cultures Of Resistance Network.

Later on in the program, we feature an excerpt of an interview done by Aaron Lakoff of Independent Jewish Voices Canada, with Mohammad Samara, a 37-year-old nurse, activist and tour guide living in Nablus in the occupied West Bank.

Samara talks about mutual aid in Palestine under the coronavirus lockdown: “Everyone here believes that when you do a good thing for someone else, a good thing will happen to you.”

Things we discussed




When you do a good deed to someone it brings good to you; and when you do evil, evil will be your reward. The attack on the Mavi Marmara is the measure of Israeli paranoia. Humanitarian aid is a threat. Generosity is a threat. Compassion is a threat. Friendliness is a threat. Once people have sunk into this paranoid mentality, they can't find a way out. Every offer is seen as a threat. Hence the impossibility of the Palestinians ever doing enough to convince the Israelis they want peace. If the entire Palestinian population drowned itself in the Mediterranean tomorrow, the Israelis would say it was an attempt to wipe them off the map. That the world permits Israel impunity is a measure of the corruption of the international order. Such is the scale of the task before us. We have to change the world order fundamentally to bring even the chance of justice for the oppressed. That is why politicians in the advanced countries who do not speak of thoroughgoing change are not to be trusted. The world order has arisen out of colonialism. The US was built on the genocide of the First People and slavery. Hitler praised the Americans for the slaughter of the native Americans. Our economic system is founded on the delusion that white people have the right to slaughter black people because they stand in the way of "progress". The path of progress is strewn with the bodies of supposedly "lesser" people, including the Jews who Hitler saw as the inferior race of Europe. Such irony that the Zionists use the techniques of their own oppression to oppress the Palestinians. The resistance must come from us, because we have the freedom and the means. The Palestinians don't. Every time they repay violence with violence, the West heaps greater accusation of evil upon them. That's why we must fight with them by peaceful but robust and principled means, and not give an inch until the right of return is granted and they have their own, autonomous State. The oppressors want violence. Deny them

Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).