Barbara Briggs-Letson

Barbara Briggs-Letson

Gaza Freedom Flotilla supporter and participant, 88-year-old Barbara Briggs-Letson passed on August 17 with her family and friends by her side. Barbara had a long history with the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. She was a key ground crew member in 2011 with the US Boat to Gaza Audacity of Hope in Athens. In 2016, she was on the ground crew for the Women’s Boat to Gaza in Barcelona. In 2018, she traveled for two months visiting 20 ports as ground crew for Al Awda and was the nurse on the leg of the voyage from La Rochelle, France, to Gijón, Spain.

Barbara was a longtime supporter of Palestinian rights. She had been to Gaza in 2009 as a part of a CODEPINK delegation for International Women’s Day, in another delegation in May/June 2009 (see Barbara at minute 4:30 of this video), in 2012 as a part of an emergency delegation after another Israeli attack on Gaza and in 2014 as part of an international delegation of 100 women whom Egyptian authorities refused entry into Gaza. She wrote:

“I have visited in both Gaza and Palestine/Israel and thus, have glimpsed life there. It is not human. To nonviolently change this reality is something worth working for, working hard for. At 55 I went to nursing school and once I had my RN and training as a lay midwife, went with my husband, to volunteer for four years in the countryside of Guatemala, then Honduras. Life was/is hard there, but nothing like Gaza. I feel the injustice and pain in my gut.”

From a visit to Gaza in 2012, Barbara wrote:

“When I visited Gaza,, I walked into the port as the sun rose and fishermen returned from a night of fishing. I was curious and a curiosity. We did not exchange words and I wandered,
stopping at boats, looking at their catch. One boat with two or three quiet men, a few spaces down the harbor, another boat. Each had a box maybe 18”x18” and each box held enough small fish to leave spaces between them as they lay in the bottom of those boxes. It was a night’s work yet not even a meal. That memory is the reason I’m on the Al Awda today. Gaza was not and is not a human place.”

When not working with US Boats to Gaza and the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, Barbara protested Israeli and US assassin drones. She joined protests at Creech Drone Base, Nevada; Beale Air Force Base, California; and on delegations to Pakistan and Germany. Barbara created a book of the names of children killed by US assassin drones. The pages of the book unfolded to circle a room with the names of the children in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen that US assassin drones had killed. The book was used in meetings with members of the German Parliament to urge members to vote against weaponizing that country’s drones.

Barcelona before departure
Barbara and US Boats to Gaza friends in Barcelona

For a CODEPINK: Women for Peace delegation to Iran in 2019, Barbara created a book of the names of those on the commercial airliner Iranian Air flight 655 who perished on July 3, 1988, when the US naval destroyer Vincennes shot down the aircraft as it left Iran on a scheduled flight on a scheduled route, killing all 290 onboard, for which the US has never apologized. Barbara presented the book to the Foreign Minister of Iran, who asked that it be kept at the Tehran Peace Museum. Barbara gave the book with the names written in Farsi to Tehran Peace Museum Director Taghipour and the Peace Education Department’s Yalda Khosravi. The book still resides at the Peace Museum in Tehran as a testament to the importance of citizen-to-citizen diplomacy.

In 2022, in Barbara’s last six months, she continued her busy activist life on delegations to Tucson, Arizona, for the “All the Walls Must Fall” conference linking struggles on the Mexican border and in Palestine; to Washington, DC, for the Poor People’s Campaign (be sure to watch the excellent video); and to Guantánamo, Cuba, for the conference on the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases.

We will miss Barbara’s smile, spirit, love, and stand for justice and humanity!

¡Barbara Briggs-Letson—PRESENTE!

Remembering Gail Miller

Remembering Our Gail Miller…

Gail Miller, a brave sailor who attempted to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza as part of the 2016 Women’s Boat to Gaza, and a member of the US Boats to Gaza steering committee,  passed away on April 15, 2022.  Gail has been and remains an inspiration for so many – a steady hand on the tiller pointing us towards justice, freedom, equality – all with love.

What friends are saying in remembrance of Gail:

Gail Miller ¡PRESENTE!

The world is no longer the same place. Today and onward, a shining space once occupied by a unique , generous and fierce person, Gail Miller, will be filled with the presence of memory and the power of love… today we have lost a great and powerful woman, a fighter and healer,

Gail Women boat to Gaza
Gail with “Stay Human” on her shirt.

a dear friend to so very many, a loving mother, a grandmother and matriarch to a great clan, a loving partner to her dear Billy and an organizer of intimate, abundant gatherings that allowed for political action to be planned or shared, a courageous activist and comrade who inspired and instigated and labored toward a world where justice would be a lived experience and for which we would always fight.

Gail Miller knew and clearly voiced and manifested the deeply held belief that justice is only realized in liberation for all and liberation is realized in the struggle for justice and it comes over a long arch of time and not all at once and never, ever to be taken for granted but practiced.Gail Miller Women Boat to Gaza
Gail knew, to struggle well together we needed to break bread and to share food together and she often provided for us abundantly.

I worked closely with Gail to send a U.S. BOAT TO GAZA and she was dedicated, in solidarity, to the liberation struggle in Palestine because she knew none of us are free until Palestine is free.

REST IN POWER dear Gail, dear friend. We carry on in your great memory.

– Laurie Arbeiter

I remember laughing with Gail and Lisa under a tree in some country because Gail in cabinLisa had to prop up the terrible non-violence training that some other project had organized and how the three of us knew that it takes a woman to get the job done…Gail knew how to read people and could identify problems quickly and calmly. I will always remember that about her because that’s what I try to do in my own world.  I have met the strongest women I know through the flotilla.

– Wendy Goldsmith

I am so sad to see this news. She was a wonderful woman, full of passion for Palestine. When she left Barcelona on the boat sailing to Gaza, she was beaming, one of the most excited passengers on the boat. I remember waving at her as the boat slid past the docks. She had the biggest grin on her face I’d ever seen.

There will be a hole left that will be hard for any of us to fill.

“Good night, sweet princess. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

– Greta Berlin

Barcelona before departure
Women Boat to Gaza members prior to departure in Barcelona 2016


Gail Miller and the “Audacity of Hope” on Democracy Now (July 6, 2011)

2011 Audacity of Hope w Gail Miller

Gail Miller Women Boat to Gaza

US Boats to Gaza Ambulance in Service in Gaza

Ambulance and Gaza patient

US Boats to Gaza ambulance

We are excited to see the ambulance US Boats to Gaza purchased with other Freedom Flotilla Coalition members and coordinated by member Kia Ora Gaza from New Zealand!  Thank you to Miles of Smiles whose people were responsible for making this extremely complex process of getting vans converted into ambulances and transported to and allowed into Gaza.  And thank you to all who donated to US Boats to Gaza to make this dream become a reality!

More information in The Palestine Chronicle.


A Little Perspective

With the recent uproar over the US Border Patrol treatment of Haitian refugees on the US-Mexico border, US Boats to Gaza deemed it appropriate to highlight how much worse the treatment is on the separation fence between Israel and Gaza.  As Americans who support the Israeli military with over $3.8 billion per year, we are unfortunately complicit in not only the abuse but also the murder of innocent civilians.  We decided to create a short video clip with a lot of help from our Canadian Freedom Flotilla Coalition partner to help Americans understand what we are supporting and protecting.  Here is the video clip:


If Telling the Truth is Anti-Semitic, We Have a Problem

SNL Michael Che

Michael Che said “Israel is reporting that they have vaccinated half of their population, and I’m gonna guess it’s the Jewish half” on the “Weekend Update” segment of February 20, 2021 Saturday Night Live.

What often makes the “Weekend Update” segment funny, is how Michael Che and Colin Jost share an element of truth about what is happening in the news.

Numerous organizations and individuals have accused Che’s statement as being anti-Semitic including the ADL’s CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt: “Saturday’s deeply offensive joke about Israel’s COVID-19 vaccination process not only missed the mark, but crossed the line — basing the premise of the joke on factual inaccuracies and playing into an antisemitic trope in the process.”1

The problem is that Che is telling the truth. Half of the people under Israeli control are not Jewish. Most of them are even denied citizenship. 70 percent of the people in Gaza are refugees; their homes are in Israel yet they are denied their Right of Return, a right that all people have according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Fourth Geneva Convention. And, as Che points out, they are not getting the vaccine—Israel has only allowed two thousand vaccines to enter Gaza for a population of two million.

The problem is that the ADL and other Jewish organizations are defending the state of Israel, a state that has numerous UN resolutions condemning it for its human rights violations. These Israel-loyal organizations claim to be offended and concerned about discrimination when they stand by and support a country that defeated a proposed law to treat all its citizens equally, a country that has occupied a population for over fifty years and blockaded a mostly child population (over 50 percent of the population of Gaza are under the age of eighteen) for over a decade.

The ADL and other organizations claim to be against bullying and to be against discrimination but they did not seem to be concerned about the joke that immediately preceded the one about the state of Israel: a joke about the Catholic church changing its policy about wiping ashes from foreheads on Ash Wednesday; Colin Jost said “I think no touching could just be a great new rule in general.”

If anyone is creating ill-will towards Jews, it is not Michael Che, it is those who claim that Israel represents Jewish values.

It’s also interesting to note how Americans are given a much more one-sided view of the response to Michael Che’s comments.  The Insider published multiple versions of an article by Rachel E. Greenspan.  In the Australian version of the Business Insider entitled “Why Michael Che’s ‘SNL’ joke about Israeli vaccinations sparked a debate about anti-Semitism,” the article quotes a tweet from Jewish Voice for Peace saying, “They say there’s a grain of truth to every joke, but this SNL one has 5 million,” referring to the 5 million Palestinians under Israeli occupation, not counted in Israeli vaccination numbers.  The article mentions a couple of other Jews who stated that the comment was not anti-Semitic.  The American version of the article was entitled “A top Jewish organization slammed Michael Che’s controversial joke about Israeli vaccinations on ‘SNL’ and reached out to Lorne Michaels,” did not include the quote from JVP, and only mentioned one person who disagreed with the anti-Semitism accusation.  This single case was mentioned in the last paragraph of the article.2

Read the opinion piece in Haaretz by Joshua Shanes, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies at the College of Charleston and Director of its Arnold Center for Israel Studies. It is entitled: “No, ‘Saturday Night Live’ Isn’t Inciting the Mass Murder of Jews


Associate Professor Haidar Eid on December 27, 2020

Associate professor Haidar Eid in Gaza commemorates December 27, 2008 when Israel attacked the civilian population it is supposed to defend. During this massacre Israeli forces killed approximately 1400 Palestinians in contrast to 13 Israeli casualties. Dr. Eid reminds people of conscience across the world that we all have to defend human rights because our governments do not. Palestine is the perfect example of this relinquishment of responsibility—refugees have been prevented from returning for over seventy years and the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza continue after more than fifty years. He calls on all to support activism such as BDS and the Freedom Flotilla to bring freedom to Palestinians.

Stay Engaged With Gaza


Thanks to all who participated in our online auction! It was our first foray into that method of fundraising. We did well and learned a lot.

While we continue planning for an international flotilla to sail to Gaza in 2021, we are finding new ways to engage in solidarity with the people of Palestine.
After months of very few new cases Gaza is currently experiencing community spread of COVID-19.
  Rebuilding  Alliance and Middle East Children’s Alliance are two organizations that are providing needed help to the people of Gaza.


Another way to support the Palestinians of Gaza is to make a virtual

visit to a refugee camp in Gaza. Proceeds from tickets

are shared by Eyewitness Palestine and We Are Not Numbers 



Worsening the situation in Gaza have been the massive cuts by our government to the funding of UNWRA which provides education, health, women’s centers, microfinance and more. We encourage the incoming administration to restore funding to UNWRA and other U.N. agencies.


In this webinar on December 4, speakers will explore how we can support local and national movements in overcoming racism and political repression to achieve basic human rights for all. The panel will include a Kingston, NY BLM activist (Anne Ames), the editor of (Philip Weiss), and a radical feminist, revolutionary member of Black Alliance for Peace (Asantewaa Nkrumah-Ture).



November 29 is International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. As a show of support, we ask that you join us in sending a photo of yourself wearing a keffiyeh or T-shirt or holding a Palestinian flag to twitter #palestinesolidarityday on Sunday, November 29.




Please continue to visit our website at for updates, and webinars, and to make further donations.



Thank you for your continued support in helping to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.


We sail until Palestine is free.

In Solidarity,
U.S. Boats to Gaza Team


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We welcome you to join the campaign to break the painful, damaging, illegal blockade of 1.8 million Palestinians in the open-air prison that is Gaza.  Be a part of the journey. Contribute today! 



or make out checks to our fiscal sponsor, Nonviolence International, and put

Boats to Gaza on the subject line.

Mail checks to:
Boats to Gaza
c/o Nonviolence International
4000 Albemarle Street, NW, Suite 401
Washington, DC 20016


Follow our campaigns:
Twitter @GazaFFlotilla
Instagram: gazafreedomflotilla






May Webinars and Film Showings


May 31, 2020, is the 10th anniversary of the deadly Israel military attack on six civilian boats that were sailing to bring international attention to the plight of the 2 million Palestinians living under Israel’s brutal and illegal land, sea, and air blockade of Gaza. Israeli commandos murdered ten and wounded 50 unarmed civilians on the Mavi Marmara and beat up passengers on the other five boats.


The Freedom Flotilla Coalition is marking the anniversary with a series of webinars to commemorate those killed on the 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla and the thousands of Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel that have been killed by the Israeli military and the inhumane policies of the Israeli government.  

For previous Freedom Flotilla webinars this year, see



May 23
Award-winning film The Truth: Lost at Sea, followed by a discussion with filmmaker and Mavi Marmara survivor Rifat Audeh and other Freedom Flotilla participants. Hosted by Canadian Boat to Gaza

In 2010, the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, a convoy of six boats carrying humanitarian aid, attempted to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza. After refusing Israel’s demand to turn away, the flotilla continued on course through international waters, and the Israeli Occupation Forces launched a night-raid attacking the boats. 
On one boat, the Mavi Marmara, the Israeli ‘soldiers’ shot and killed nine human rights activists and a tenth later died of his injuries. The film details what happened that night, unravelling how the story was spun by the media.

Please join us for a Webinar on Saturday, May 23 for a screening of award-winning documentary “The Truth: Lost at Sea” followed by a discussion with film-maker and Mavi Marmara survivor Rifat Audeh and others from the 2010 Flotilla, including Kevin Neish and Ann Wright.

10 am PDT West Coast North America * 12 noon Central * 1 pm EDT * 6 pm British Summer Time * 7 pm Central Europe * 8 pm Palestine
May 28 
Legal actions against Israel originating from the Gaza Freedom Flotillas. Hosted by South Africa’s Palestine Solidarity Alliance.  National & International Legal actions against the Israeli occupation, from the Gaza Freedom Flotillas to Annexation.” 19:30 SAST (South African Standard Time and CEST), 18:30 UK; 13:30 EDT; 12:30 CDT, 10:30 PDT. 
May 30

10th anniversary of Israeli Attack on the Mavi Marmara and the Freedom Flotilla in 2010.


Discussion with filmmaker Iara Lee, shipmates, and author Dr. Norman Finkelstein.
10 am PDT in West Coast North America * 12 noon Central * 1 pm EDT * 6 pm British Summer Time * 7 pm Central Europe * 8 pm P alestine

May 30


Event hosted by 48 Palestine  
From two locations. 4 pm-6 pm, Palestine Jointly organized by Palestinian and Jewish activists, this event means to commemorate together with the Freedom Flotilla Coalition a decade since the lethal attack on the first Flotilla and to call for the immediate and complete lifting of the illegal blockade of Gaza.  On our minds are all Palestinian refugees around the world, those in the West Bank, living under military occupation and the threat of annexation and of course those in the blockaded Strip.
The International Flotilla Coalition is planning another flotilla that will focus attention on a significant portion of the Palestinian population under Israeli occupation: young people and children who are half of Gaza’s population. This flotilla was scheduled to take place in May, but due to the Corona crisis and traffic restrictions imposed on large parts of the world, this plan has been postponed at this stage.
Therefore our event will include two memorial gatherings streamed live from Acre and Jaffa as well as a webinar all between 4PM and 6PM on Saturday May 30.
MK Aida Touma Suleiman will speak at the Acre gathering
MK Sami Abu Shehadaeh will speak at the Jaffa gathering
Past participants on boats challenging the blockade will share their experience: Amira Hass, Sheik Hamed Abu Daabas, Rami Elhanan and Jeff Halper.

We will also here from Marwan Mahmoud, a Palestinian from Gaza. 

The event will include poetry, music and singing contributed by the following artists: Dareen Tatour, Dror Feiler, Zeev Tene, Meira Asher, Tal Nitzan and Shmulik Tzur.

Especially now that the global corona crisis is making us aware on the one hand, of our interdependence and on the other, of the threat posed on the weakest populations in general and those under blockade in Gaza in particular- It is time for the international community to demand the lifting of the blockade off the Gaza Strip. The Freedom Flotilla will continue to sail, and other solidarity actions will perssist until Palestinian rights to freedom and life with dignity are respected!

May 31
Events in Istanbul, Turkey, to commemorate the 10 deaths by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara ship hosted by Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH). Read and share more background information on the Mavi Marmara from IHH. 

Events in Istanbul, Turkey to commemorate the 10 deaths by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara ship hosted by Humanitarian Relief Foundation IHH. Read and share  more background information on the Mavi Marmara from IHH. 
  A detailed listing of times and dates will be on the IHH website after Ramadan and we will be notifying you as dates are established: 
  • Online Concert by singers who wrote songs after their experience on the Mavi Marmara. 
  • Online Conference with Speakers focusing on the Humanitarian Situation in Gaza, Freedom Flotilla, legal processes. The conference will be in Turkish.
  • Freedom Flotilla Archive- special website which will  contain data about the Freedom Flotilla such as, reports, articles, photos, videos, legal cases.
  • Mavi Marmara show on sand art done by IHH youth online
  • Mavi Marmara 3D Virtual Visit
  • The Special Program on Mavi Marmara will be on Sunday, May 31st. 


May 31 
Award-winning film The Truth: Lost at Sea followed by a discussion with film-maker and Mavi Marmara survivor Rifat Audeh and other Freedom Flotilla participants (see description above).

Screening with discussion for Pacific partners and allies 

16h AEST (NSW/Vic) * 18h NZST (Aotearoa) * 9h Palestine * May 30 at 11 pm PDT West Coast North America).  

May 31
Evening Concert in Norway hosted by  Ship to Gaza Norway. 

May 31 
Event in Sweden. Hosted by Ship to Gaza Sweden.
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Support the Flotilla to Break the Blockade
For the Children of Gaza 

International solidarity activists have sailed 18 voyages with over 30 boats to break the illegal Israeli naval blockade of Gaza. The next flotilla, coordinated by the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, has been postponed due to the COVID-19 health pandemic.
It is more important than ever to support efforts to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza. Please give generously to the 2020 Freedom Flotilla Coalition so that we can send a boat to Gaza and let the 2 million imprisoned Palestinians there know that the world has not forgotten them.


Send a message of hope and solidarity to the people of Gaza


It is 5,900 miles between Washington, DC and Gaza. Every $5 will bring us one mile closer to reaching the families in Gaza. Be a part of the journey. Contribute today!  

You can donate online or make out checks to our fiscal sponsor, Nonviolence International, and put 2020 Boats to Gaza on the subject line.  

Mail checks to: 
2020 Boats to Gaza
c/o Nonviolence International 
4000 Albemarle Street, NW, Suite 401 
Washington, DC 20016


Follow our campaigns: 
Twitter @GazaFFlotilla
Instagram: gazafreedomflotilla