Greta Berlin

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Greta Berlin
Greta Berlin.jpg
Born (1941-04-06) April 6, 1941 (age 73)
Detroit, Michigan
Nationality American
Occupation Media and communications consultant and activist

Greta K. Berlin (born April 6, 1941)[1] is an American media communications consultant and pro-Palestinian activist. She has gained international attention as a spokesperson for the Free Gaza Movement (FGM), which she co-founded in 2006.[2]

Biography[edit]

Berlin was born April 6, 1941 in Detroit, Michigan and received higher education in Illinois where she obtained a BA in speech and English from MacMurray College in 1963 and an MA in theatre and journalism from the University of Illinois in 1972. She also took several engineering courses when she began teaching engineers in 1977.[citation needed]

Upon entering graduate school at the University of Illinois in 1963, Greta met her first husband, who is a Palestinian refugee from Safed. They have a daughter and a son.[3] Her second husband was A. J. Berlin who died in 2013.

She founded GKB Associates in 1977, a training and media coaching firm for scientists and engineers wanting to make presentations to conferences around the world, and she worked for some of the top engineering firms in the U.S. and Europe..[4] She retired in 2011 and currently lives in the South of France.

Political Activism[edit]

Berlin has been an "advocate for justice for the Palestinians since the early 60s."[5] She was motivated to activism in 1967 by the Six-Day War. She believed that "Israel was driving the Palestinians off their land for the second time in 19 years" and she vowed to increase American awareness of the issue. Berlin and her husband started a non-profit charitable organization, Pal Aid International to send medicine and aid to the Palestinians. Berlin told an interviewer that the Internal Revenue Service began auditing her husband's company and that the FBI began questioning them. She alleged that the Jewish Defense League phoned her and she described the caller as saying that "if any passengers were murdered in the airline hijackings that were going on at the time, my children would be killed.” She withdrew from her activism for 15 years for the sake of her children.[3]

In 2003, after the death of Rachel Corrie who had been working with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), Berlin joined ISM and went to Palestine, working in Bil’in, Jenin, Ramallah, including in the ISM media office.[6] She went back to the occupied West Bank in 2005 and 2007, working with the ISM both times, in particular in Bil'in and Hebron. [7][8]

Free Gaza voyages[edit]

In 2006 she co-founded the Free Gaza Movement.[9][10] and was the major spokesperson for the flotilla involved in the Gaza flotilla raid on May 31, 2010.[11][12]

The first voyage of the Free Gaza movement successfully landed at the port of Gaza on August 23, 2008 to the cheers of 40,000 Palestinians who had waited patiently for the boats. These two small fishing boats were the first vessels to land in Gaza in 41 years. [13][14][15] After the successful trip in August, 2008, Berlin was part of the land crew who organized four more voyages on a new boat called, Dignity, all entering the port of Gaza between October 22 and December 22, 2008 [16][17][18]

She was one of the primary spokespersons for Freedom Flotilla 1, a coalition of initiatives put together by Free Gaza to sail a flotilla of boats into Gaza after the Dignity and the Spirit of Humanity had been attacked by Israeli commandos and forced into Israel.[19][20]

She continues to criticize Israel's blockade of Gaza, and claims it is unlawful,[21] that it has persisted for 20 years and that one of the reasons Israel is illegally blockading Gaza is because it's busy "stealing the natural gas of Gaza."[22][23]

Greta Berlin calls Israel an "illegal entity" and "a country founded on terrorism" and she believes that Congress is "occupied" by "the Israeli lobby."[5] Berlin belongs to the "Los Angeles Chapter" of Women in Black "The mission of Women in Black- Los Angeles is to work for a just and peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We advocate an immediate end to the U.S.-supported Israeli Occupation, the right of Palestinian refugees to return, and full and equal rights for all people who live in the region." ."[24]

Freedom Sailors[edit]

Berlin is the co-author and co-editor of the 2012 book, Freedom Sailors, The Maiden Voyage of the Free Gaza movement and How We Succeeded in Spite of Ourselves.[25][26]

Controversy[edit]

Berlin has been accused of antisemitism following a controversial tweet, originating from her Facebook account, and published under the Twitter account of the Free Gaza Movement. The tweet read “Zionists operated the concentration camps and helped murder millions of innocent Jews" and contained a link to a video of that name, a speech by conspiracy theorist Eustace Mullins asserting that Zionists are responsible for the Holocaust and collaborated with the Nazis.[27][28] The Free Gaza Movement later deleted the tweet.[29] Berlin apologized once the post became known to a wider audience. She declared that she had "shared it without watching it,"[30] and said that she had implied no endorsement of Mullins' antisemitic views.

She said she merely intended to post the video and comment in a private Facebook group where she had been participating in a discussion of similar propaganda.[29][31] Larry Derfner published a statement by sixteen people stating that "ours is a small and secret Facebook group, 37 members strong" and that one of the topics the group had been discussing was "the role of the Zionist movement during the Holocaust" when Berlin posted her remarks. The statement explained that in this context Berlin's post was aimed at highlighting that "anti-Semitic remarks have exaggerated and distorted" the arguments of historians on this topic.[31] A later, extensive interview with Lenni Brenner further clarified Berlin's actions with the summary from Brenner that, "Listening to him (Mullens) convinced me that Berlin told the truth when she said she posted it without listening to it. I can’t believe she was trying to convert Free Gaza to his lunacy." [32] Brenner goes on to say, "I have detailed Zionist collaboration with Nazism from 1933, when Hitler came to power, through to the holocaust, but I never say anything like “Zionists operated the concentration camps,” and neither did Berlin. That’s Mullins."

References[edit]

  1. ^ U.S. Public Records Index, Vol 1 (Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.), 2010.
  2. ^ http://electronicintifada.net/content/dont-forget-free-gaza-movement-women/8621
  3. ^ a b Pat McDonnel Twair, Media Pro Greta Berlin Will Show Her Power Point Presentation Anywhere in U.S., Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, October 2004, accessd November 11, 2012. (Also at Questia.com here.
  4. ^ Jenkins, Logan (June 3, 2010). "Pro-Gaza spokeswoman is familiar to S.D. media". U-T San Diego. Retrieved June 7, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Elias F. Harb, Exclusive Intifada Interview with Greta Berlin -Free Gaza Movement, Salem-News, July 13, 2010.
  6. ^ Book Presentation: Freedom Sailors - Greta Berlin
  7. ^ http://indiamond6.ulib.iupui.edu:81/gb1309056g.html
  8. ^ http://peacepalestine.blogspot.fr/2005/09/at-least-im-jew-greta-berlin.html
  9. ^ Hadjicostis, Menelaos (June 4, 2010). "Californian-born Free Gaza group to continue aid missions despite deadly Israeli raid". Fox News. Associated Press. Retrieved October 8, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Interview: 'We Are Not Terrorists,' Gaza Activist Says". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  11. ^ Kershner, Isabel (May 31, 2010). "Deadly Israeli Raid Draws Condemnation". The New York Times. 
  12. ^ Gaza aid fleet undeterred as Israel steps up warnings, Agence France-Presse, May 27, 2010.
  13. ^ http://www.labournet.net/other/0810/sheffgaza1.html
  14. ^ http://www.democracynow.org/2008/8/22/free_gaza_boats_set_sail_from
  15. ^ http://electronicintifada.net/content/ramattan-reporter-reaches-gaza-board-liberty/7684
  16. ^ http://electronicintifada.net/content/freedom-riders-sea/7784
  17. ^ http://www.indymedia.org/or/2008/11/915512.shtml
  18. ^ http://palsolidarity.org/2008/11/fgm-dignity-arrives-in-gaza/
  19. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/dec/30/israel-gaza-aid-ship
  20. ^ http://www.democracynow.org/2008/12/30/headlines
  21. ^ "ICRC says Israel's Gaza blockade breaks law". BBC News. June 14, 2010. 
  22. ^ Freedom Sailors. 2012. p. 18. ISBN 9780615654898. 
  23. ^ http://www.freegaza.org/en/about-gaza/stealing-gazas-gas.html
  24. ^ http://www.wib-la.net/index.html
  25. ^ http://electronicintifada.net/content/new-book-freedom-sailors-provides-riveting-account-siege-breaking-journey-gaza/11600
  26. ^ http://www.levantinecenter.org/event/freedom-sailors-story-free-gaza-movement
  27. ^ Benjamin Weinthal (October 4, 2012). "Free Gaza Group: Zionists Ran Concentration Camps". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Flotilla Sponsor Tweets that Zionists Helped Perpetrate the Holocaust". JTA. October 4, 2012. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
  29. ^ a b Apology Regarding Tweet, Free Gaza Movement website.
  30. ^ Tristin Hopper (October 4, 2012). "Free Gaza Group: Zionists Ran Concentration Camps". National Post. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
  31. ^ a b Larry Derfner (October 6, 2012). "Head of Free Gaza Movement: Anti-Semitic Video In Question is 'Disgusting'". 972. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
  32. ^ http://www.thestruggle.org/g_berlin_controversy.htm