3 Canadians to join “Women’s Boat to Gaza” in September

marilyn porter

Retired University professor Marilyn Porter of Saint John’s Newfoundland is one of three Canadian women who will form part of a “Women’s Boat to Gaza”. CTIP asks professor Porter why she is doing it. Read more and watch her short video interview. 

Three Canadian women have announced that they will participate in the “Women’s Boat to Gaza”, another effort to make a humanitarian link with Palestinians trapped in Gaza by Israel’s blockade. Several previous efforts have been blocked by the Israeli navy. In 2010, Israeli military stormed one of the boats and killed several participants. Israel was subsequently obliged to apologise and pay compensation to the families of the victims.

This new effort will have an all female list of participants, which organizers hope will emphasize the peaceful nature of the flotilla and make it more difficult for Israel to use force against them.

Crew member Marilyn Porter is a retired university faculty member who worked for many years as an activist/academic, focusing on women’s rights, especially in the developing world. She has served on many Boards, both locally and nationally, including Oxfam and the Canadian Institute for the Advancement of Women. She is currently co-chair of the Social Justice Co-op, which works in the areas of environmental and tax justice. She is also working with a refugee group in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Marilyn is an experienced sailor, having cruised and raced mostly off the UK and eastern Canadian coasts, as well as in the Mediterranean.

Canada Talks Israel Palestine caught up with Marilyn only a few days before her departure for Rome. We asked her why she is undertaking what might well be a dangerous mission.

The Canadian contingent also includes Eva Manly, a documentary maker and photographer, whose work has been shown nationally and internationally and is distributed by VTape (Toronto) and VIVO (Vancouver). Eva devotes time to work for Truth and Reconciliation and to refugee sponsorships on Vancouver Island.

The third Canadian woman is Wendy Goldsmith, a mother of three, a social worker and an advocate for justice who lives with her family in London, Ontario. As a social worker, she has supported many survivors of childhood trauma and abuse, including within First Nations communities. As a mom, she identifies with the suffering that Palestinian women feel as they endure the injustice of supporting their families under an illegal blockade and within an open-air prison, constantly under threat of attacks by the occupier. (CTIP interviewed Wendy last April as the project was being launched.)

The three will be joined by noteworthy international participants such as Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead MacGuire (Northern Ireland), Marama Davidson, Green Party MP (New Zealand/Aortearoa), Naomi Wallace, screenwriter and playwright (USA), Gerd von der Lippe, professional athlete and academic (Norway), and Çiğdem Topçuoğlu, professional athlete and coach (Turkey), who sailed on the Mavi Marmara in 2010 and whose husband was among the 10 people from that voyage killed by Israeli Occupation Forces. Names of more participants will be released over the coming weeks.

The freedom flotilla website lists 107 organizations from around the world which have endorsed the Women’s boat to Gaza. Instructions on how to make a financial contribution to the Canadian Boat to Gaza appear on its website.


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  1. These admirable efforts are an attempt to shame Israel into treating Palestinians as equal human beings. Unfortunately, those in power in Israel feel no shame. They are so convinced that what they do is necessary that they are immune to the shame.

    1. David. You are right. But the western governments and people in influential positions that continue to either shut out from their minds this great travesty of current times, or ignore it to further their political or economic gains are in my mind equally complicit in the crimes against humanity. The current US Presidential election campaign where every candidate is falling over the other to acquiesce and kow tow to Israel is evidence of this. The Mayor of London felt it necessary to visit a synagogue first. Justin Trudeau reaffirmed Canada’s unflinching support of Israel immediately after being elected. How can they not see what is going on in Palestine and around the ME ? The world has been plunged into chaos and we are all suffering. We can only pray that sense prevails and we are able to leave the world a more secure place for future generations. Good day !

  2. Thanks again for bringing these great efforts to our attention Peter.

    Wondering how we can further promote and support them, particularly because they are women for women in a day and time when UK, Germany, Myanmar, Ontario, Alberta, BC and soon the US all have women leaders. And the Trudeau government’s Women Peace and Security initiative is getting off the ground.

    Surely the thousands of women in Gaza and refugee camps there, with high rates of breast cancer, burn units with ptsd, diabetes like the ones I met there are no less human than women in the west. This boat needs to sail!

  3. Hats off to Marilyn Porter ! Very encouraging that Canada is becoming aware of the terrible human rights violations taking place in Palestine with the connivance of western governments. All people of conscience HAVE to put in strong efforts to disseminate the realities and pressurise their governments to do the honorable thing and stop supporting Israel. Only then can we hope for peace around the world and countering terrorism – of any kind. Good luck to you all !

  4. It is heartening to see these brave women take a proper moral stand on this issue.

    I hope for their success and safety.

    One can only hope that our government stands behind the safety of it’s citizens as much as it has stood behind the interests of a foreign state.

  5. I honor each and everyone of these women who have the courage to take a stand against ongoing war crimes against the Palestinian people since even before 1948!!!!

  6. So proud of these brave,honoured,respected,determined,just women..heroes! More media coverage is needed on this brave attempt.Blessings and Goodspeed to them all.

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