They knew it was a dangerous situation, and they were shocked but not surprised when James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman were abducted and killed by the KKK as the project just got going. There were many other acts of quasi-official violence meted out to the volunteers, and while the organizers obviously would have preferred to have avoided all of that, they expected it and it was part of their strategy. The largely but not entirely unstated reasoning was that the country would continue to ignore massive violence directed towards the African-American community in Mississippi, but could and would not remain oblivious to similar violence directed towards young, white, middle-class college students from New York City and other metropolitan centers. This, indeed, proved the case. The violence directed at the Mississippi Freedom Summer shocked the conscience of the country and was among the numerous decisive moments in the civil rights movement that ultimately succeeded in dismantling the apparatus of formalized racism in the United States.
Like segregation in the American South, the siege of Gaza (and the entire Israeli occupation, for that matter) is a moral abomination that should be intolerable to anyone claiming progressive values. It’s sad that it should require the deaths of non-Palestinians to finally shake the international community from apathy and inaction, but, as with the tragic murders of Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner, if it contributes to ending the situation then that’s a positive outcome.
Unfortunately, the killings will also likely result in the strengthening of support for Hamas vis a vis more moderate Palestinian leaders, causing greater unrest, and stirring more violence.
But we going to see an increase in incidents like the one that occurred yesterday. The "activists" who engaged in this action are human rights heroes. They knew there would be some kind of confrontation. It's ridiculous to watch the Israelis try to cover up the identities of the "Freedom Boat Riders". They included Holocaust Survivors, The Ex American Ambassador to Malawi and a few high profile writers, including the most popular Scandanavian mystery writer, Henning Makell, who might have been one of the murdered.
The Israelis are playing the 6 Degrees of Separation from Ben Ladin by trying to claim that anyone who supports the Palestinian cause is a de facto Al Qaeda supporter.
As the Israeli wall of bluster crumbles, the Netanyahu is going to face more problems with its popularity falling rapidly with the Israeli public.They met this flotilla with brute force, as did the sherrifs in Mississippi in 1964, but the Freedom Riders kept coming. The Freedom Boats are going to keep coming.It looks like the start of a long hot summer for Israel and they just lost round one.