Joe Meadors was selected as the delegate from the United States on the final 1,000-mile voyage to Gaza with the 2018 Gaza Freedom Flotilla. He was on the Al Awda or Return boat that was intercepted by Israeli authorities in international waters on July 29th. The 2018 flotilla took a 75-day voyage from Scandinavia to reach Gaza. https://jfp.freedomflotilla.or
Joe was a signalman on the bridge of the USS Liberty during the 1967 Israeli attack on the boat off the coast of Gaza. The Israelis killed 34 U.S. military and wounded 174. Joe and Francis Brown hauled up a second American flag after the steaming colors were shot down early in the air attack. That flag can be seen at www.ussliberty.org/g/battle
flag.gif. He was on the bridge throughout the Israeli attack and was one of several eyewitnesses to the Israeli machine-gunning of the ship’s life rafts.
Mr. Meadors has been associated with the USS Liberty Veterans Association since it was first founded in 1982 and is a past president of the association.
Joe described the Israeli attack:
“I watched some jets pass us, then turn left after they passed our ship, then they started strafing us. The attack lasted 90 minutes, during which we got a message off to the Sixth Fleet asking for assistance. We learned later that Joe Tully, commanding officer of the USS Saratoga, launched aircraft within minutes of the attack, but he told us later they were recalled before they reached the horizon. We found this out 20 years after the attack.
“The most frustrating thing has been a lack of reaction from the U.S. government. On June 8, 2005, we filed a war crimes report, and they are required to investigate these allegations. They’ve created reports about our mission, but they never did conduct an actual investigation of the attack itself.
“It was an illegal attack. We were on the high seas conducting legal activities. They admitted that they closed the area for military purposes but we tried to find out the boundaries of that area and they wouldn’t tell us.
“The Israelis break international laws with impunity and the U.S. government is not going to hold them accountable, nobody is. There is no doubt that the Israelis were committing piracy on the high seas against the 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla and used deadly force against unarmed humanitarians.”
In 2010, Joe was a passenger on the Sfedoni, in the 2010 Gaza FreedomFlotilla. He was in Greece for the 2011 and 2015 Freedom Flotillas. He is from Corpus Christi, Texas.