News - July 7, 2011

Volkertian hate-sailor

Who? Chris Verweij
What? Molecular Life Sciences student
Why? Is sailing from Corfu with the Freedom Flotilla 2 to draw attention to Israel's blockade of the Gaza strip.
What about? He has still not left.

What are you still waiting for?
'Israel is putting huge political pressure on Greece not to let us leave. Permits and insurance policies have been withdrawn and there has even been an attempt to take our (Togolese) flag off us.'
What's the mood like on board?
'Still positive. We know our intentions are genuine and that helps us to withstand the worldwide scorn from our opponents. For example, the Dutch website Geenstijl called me a "Volkertian hate-sailor".'
The debate has become quite polarized.
'Yes. Unfortunately, in the Netherlands you still have either the paradigm that Israel is a vulnerable refuge for the victims of World War 2 or else the view that if there are two parties fighting, there must be two that are guilty. It is still a controversial stance in the Netherlands to see the Palestinians as the victims of an illegal occupation, partly because of the pro-Israel lobby.'