Dear Mr. President,
This morning I woke up to news of a US organization working to send their own aid ship in defiance of the Gaza blockade. This ship will be called The Audacity of Hope, and, because it has also been endorsed by Rashid Khalidi, it is being linked to you by some right-wing media sources. I can see why it might be annoying to suffer the criticisms of political convictions you don't actually have, so I would imagine that you viewed this news as one more headache. I heard it, and, for a moment, all I wanted to do was throw out my plans for the next year and join the crew.
I've spent the day talking myself out of it. As much as I want to go, to stand with those brave people willing to defy the unjust and cruel policies of the Israeli government toward Gaza, I have obligations. Completing my education this year is something I need to do, not only for myself but for all of the people in my life who believe that I can. Going out into the world to fight oppression and injustice is something that will have to wait another year. Still, I believe with all of my heart that this is the right thing to do, and so I am donating what I can to their efforts. The magnitude of Israeli crimes toward the Palestinian people and the people of Gaza, especially, demand resistance.
I do regret any political problems this mission will cause for your administration, if only because I think it is a shame you haven't adopted official policies that would warrant this criticism from the right. In your book, you talk about the courage it takes to keep having faith in our country, in change, in a better future. Your whole moral and philosophical worldview seems to demand equal rights, freedom, and the end of oppression. So I don't think you should be offended by the name of the ship. Hope has been an audacious thing for Gaza, and for those who would see it freed. That the Americans organizing this act in the spirit of your writing is not nearly as surprising or difficult to accept as your own willingness to set that spirit aside when convenience or politics demand.
I know, my provocation likely falls on deaf ears. You will not support this ship, if anything, you are likely to denounce it and seek to distance yourself from Khalidi. I know this. But I have the audacity to believe, still, that I could be wrong. That your courage and your convictions might not be strangers on this issue forever. I have faith that you could change your mind, and see that, no matter how hopeless, the fight against this kind of injustice is always worth whatever criticism it will face. The people of Gaza deserve the same justice, opportunity and hope that you promised to America. Can you fault the Americans who would invest time and money, put on hold their lives, risk physical safety and freedom to make it happen? Does it make you, even in secret, even just a little bit proud?
If you'd like to donate to the Audacity of Hope, please visit US to Gaza.