In Human Rights, Middle East, Real News Reports

Several days ago, indigenous activist Larry Commodore, who is from British Columbia, returned to Canada after being deported from Israel. Larry was a participant in the Freedom Flotilla, whose lead vessel, Al Awda, was hijacked in international waters on July 29. Larry and the other passengers and crew of Al Awda were violently attacked by Israeli commandos and then forced to enter Israel, where they spent several days in an Israeli jail before deportation.

For the Real News, I spoke to Larry on the day after his return to Canada about his ordeal. Larry describes how he was injured by Israeli soldiers and denied timely medical treatment. He also recounts that the Israeli commando who led the assault on Al Awda identified himself to Larry as “Field Marshal Rommel.”

Larry and I were joined in our discussion by Professor David Heap of Western University, the media coordinator of the Freedom Flotilla. In 2011, Professor Heap was himself kidnapped by Israeli forces in international waters, during a prior humanitarian mission to break Israel’s suffocating blockade of Gaza. Professor Heap says that, under the government of Justin Trudeau, Canadian consular officials have become “more aggressively tools of the Israeli state and the Israeli occupation.” He also reveals that a Canadian consular official told Larry that Israel’s blockade of Gaza – a cruel act of collective punishment against 2 million trapped Palestinians, one-half of whom are children – is ‘legal’, and that Larry had violated Israeli law by attempting peacefully to break this blockade.

Our discussion can be seen and heard here:

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