A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (February 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Berlin was born Greta Anne Hughes on April 6, 1941 in Detroit, Michigan, the oldest of four children of Arthur George Hughes and Barbara Esther Whan Hughes. She graduated from Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana, one of the first two girls to do so.
Upon entering graduate school at the University of Illinois in 1963, Greta met her first husband, Ribhi, who is a Palestinian refugee from Safed. They married in Chicago in 1963 and have a daughter and a son.. He died in October, 2018. Her second husband, whom she married in Florida in 1978, was Alvin Jay Berlin. They divorced about 14 years later. Berlin, who was Jewish, 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.
Berlin has been an "advocate for justice for the Palestinians since the early 60s." 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.
In 2003, after the death of Rachel Corrie who had been working with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), Berlin joined ISM and went to Israel, working in Bil’in, Jenin, Ramallah, including in the ISM media office.
Free Gaza voyages
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 stopped by Israeli naval vessels.
She continues to criticize Israel's blockade of Gaza, and claims it is unlawful, 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."
Greta Berlin calls Israel an "illegal entity" and "a country founded on terrorism" and she believes that Congress is "occupied" by "the Israeli lobby."
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.'
In 2012, Berlin was accused of antisemitism following a 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 collaborated with the Nazis. The Free Gaza Movement later deleted the tweet. Berlin apologized once the post became known to a wider audience. She declared that she had "shared it without watching it."
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. 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.
- U.S. Public Records Index, Vol 1 (Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.), 2010.
- "Culver Military Academy Alumni Class of 1959". CulverGrads.com. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
- 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, accessed November 11, 2012.]
- "Greta Anne Hughes and Ribbi Kalla Marriage Announced" (PDF). The Culver Citizen. December 18, 1963. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
- LiAmi Lawrence (March 20, 2014). "Tea with Greta: My Private Meeting with the Founder of the Free Gaza Movement". Jewish Journal. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
- Jenkins, Logan (June 3, 2010). "Pro-Gaza spokeswoman is familiar to S.D. media". U-T San Diego. Retrieved June 7, 2010.
- Elias F. Harb, Exclusive Intifada Interview with Greta Berlin -Free Gaza Movement, Salem-News, July 13, 2010.
- Book Presentation: Freedom Sailors - Greta Berlin
- 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.
- "Interview: 'We Are Not Terrorists,' Gaza Activist Says". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved 9 July 2010.
- Kershner, Isabel (May 31, 2010). "Deadly Israeli Raid Draws Condemnation". The New York Times.
- Gaza aid fleet undeterred as Israel steps up warnings, Agence France-Presse, May 27, 2010.
- Tran, Mark (2008-12-30). "Israel accused of ramming Free Gaza Movement aid boat". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-06-19.
- "ICRC says Israel's Gaza blockade breaks law". BBC News. June 14, 2010.
- Freedom Sailors. 2012. p. 18. ISBN 9780615654898.
- Benjamin Weinthal (October 4, 2012). "Free Gaza Group: Zionists Ran Concentration Camps". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
- "Flotilla Sponsor Tweets that Zionists Helped Perpetrate the Holocaust". JTA. October 4, 2012. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
- Tristin Hopper (October 4, 2012). "Free Gaza Group: Zionists Ran Concentration Camps". National Post. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
- Larry Derfner (October 6, 2012). "Head of Free Gaza Movement: Anti-Semitic Video In Question is 'Disgusting'". 972. Retrieved October 7, 2012.