Dror Feiler, the former Israeli who participated in the Turkish flotilla to Gaza in May, delivered a speech Sunday during a large reception rally to mark the homecoming of the flotilla flagship – the Mavi Marmara – to its home port in Istanbul.
In a conversation with Ynet, Feiler explained that he does not feel like a stranger among thousands of radical Muslims chanting out "death to Israel".
"All the speeches stress that we are here together – Jews, Christians and Arabs against the blockade, this is not about religion, but about human rights, that's why I presented myself as a Jew," he said.
Feiler, now a Swedish citizen, was not on board the Maramara, and when IDF commandos took over the ship he was on, there was no violent resistance.
When asked if he is bothered by calls such as "death to Israel," Feiler explained that it was the voice of a small minority.
"What is important is the leadership and the person who is heading it – and these people talk about humanitarian objectives.
"Hot blooded people are everywhere, including Beitar Jerusalem (football) games," Feiler noted, adding that "there are people who are extremely angry for losing their loved ones, and we must condemn such calls. But what's important is that they understand that we are standing with them, and that just like there are good Muslims and not so good Muslims – there are also Jews who care."
'Martyrs not a bad word'According to Feiler, even those who regard the flotilla victims as "martyrs" are not inciting against Israel. "It is not a negative term. They are martyrs just like Samson was a martyr."
"They died for a larger cause, not for themselves, because they wanted to help. I also said during my speech that they are martyrs for the Swedish people and for everyone else that wants to fight for human rights in the world," he added.
Feiler said he was received warmly by the audience. "They shook my hand, thanked me and took pictures with me. I know many people in the (IHH) organization, and to my delight they had large banners in Hebrew that read 'It is a humanitarian mission, we support human rights; we support the Gaza residents'.
"Some find it hard to distinguish between the Israeli government and the Israeli people, and having Jews join us will help them make this distinction," he concluded.
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