Abraham Jacob (Abie) Nathan was born on April 29, 1927 in Iran, educated in India, and served in Britain’s Royal Air Force as a fighter pilot before immigrating to Israel in 1948, where he served as an air force pilot during Israel’s War of Independence. A radical independent thinker who fought for peace and human rights around the world, Nathan, among other things, flew a plane to Egypt in 1966 to call for peace between Israel and Egypt, met with PLO representatives in the 1970s, and went on a hunger strike to protest Israeli settlements. On November 6, 1968, following the Six-Day War and the beginning of the occupation, Nathan came up with the idea to launch a floating pirate radio station in order to reach out to the Arab world and relay a message of peace. He could not broadcast from Israel, so he decided to purchase a Dutch vessel and he flew to New York, where he raised money through the organization he founded called the Shalom Peace Corporation and by selling his personal property.
Iconic singers Peter Seeger and John Lennon are rumored to have donated money to the “Peace Ship.” On May 19, 1973, the ship sailed towards the Middle East and docked 25 kilometers off the coast of Israel. On this day, the Voice of Peace radio station aired its first broadcast to the entire Middle East. It was the first in Israel to broadcast 24 hours a day, primarily in English and included music and discussions of current affairs. The radio station broadcast continuously until November 1993, and was relaunched as an online station in 2009.
Learn the history of the occupation so that we can overcome it, because #50isEnough.
The occupation has gone on for 50 years. It’s a problem that must be addressed for Israel’s sake and for the Palestinians. Over 5 decades and in every month of the year, Israelis, Palestinians, Americans and others have made their mark on reality. Telling these stories is part of how our movement grows stronger. This series marks the watershed moments we all need to know about.