22 May 2009|
It is with deep regret and sadness that we have to announce a separation within the Free Gaza Movement.
The Free Gaza Movement was formed in the fall of 2006 by five individuals: Eliza Ernshire, Greta Berlin, Mary Hughes, Paul Larudee, and Sharon Lock. A year later, a non-profit called the Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees was created in California as a means of accepting U.S. tax-deductible donations on behalf of Free Gaza. At one time, both Greta Berlin and Mary Hughes were on the steering committee of that non-profit as founding members, and Mary Hughes was on the Board of Directors. Some volunteers from the Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees, among many others, worked for the first, successful voyage to Gaza in August 2008.
In November 2008, all of the original founders of Free Gaza met in London with 16 other organizers from the United States, Europe, and the Middle East in order to elect a board of directors for the Free Gaza Movement and discuss our future plans and organization. After considering several proposals for structure and several nominations for a board, we elected Huwaida Arraf, Greta Berlin, Eliza Ernshire, Derek Graham, Fathi Jaouadi, Ramzi Kysia, and Vaggelis Pissias as our interim board (iB) of directors. Mary Hughes also continues to work as an organizer with the Free Gaza Movement. Neither Greta nor Mary are involved with the California association any longer.
Since then we, the International Free Gaza Movement, have organized every other voyage without the California association's assistance either financial or through providing volunteers.
For the last, several months, we attempted to negotiate an affiliate and funding agreement with the Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees. Unfortunately, this has not been successful, and we have decided to separate.
The Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees has decided to also call itself "The Free Gaza Movement." They have reserved the new URL "www.freegazamovement.org" for themselves, and have set up a new email address, "friendstogaza[at]gmail.com," for their own use.
Our web address is the original "www.freegaza.org," and our existing email address is "friendsofgaza[at]gmail.com." Please make a note of these distinctions.
Anyone wishing to make U.S. tax-deductible donations to the Free Gaza Movement should do it through our U.S. fiscal sponsors by making a check out to: The American Educational Trust LE, (publishers of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs) and putting FOR FREE GAZA in the subject line.
Please note that we do not have a funding agreement with the Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees. Any donations made to California since September 2008 have not and will not be sent to us in order to run boat missions out of Cyprus.
We wish our sisters and brothers at the association well, and hope that their unique efforts to break the siege of Gaza from California will be successful.
Thank you for your continued support for the people of Palestine.
Board of Directors, Free Gaza Movement
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