WASHINGTON, July 25 (UPI) -- A fundraising campaign in the United States to buy an American ship to break Israel's blockade of Gaza aims to raise $370,000, organizers say.
One supporter of the initiative is Columbia University history Professor Rashid Khalidi, whose friendship with President Obama during their days together in Chicago brought criticism on the president during his election campaign, Haaretz reported Saturday.
An e-mail being circulated in the United States said the fund effort hoped to raise $370,000 next month to purchase a ship to accommodate between 40 and 60 people, the newspaper said.
The ship would join a flotilla of other vessels from Europe, Canada, India, South Africa and the Middle East, the e-mail said.
U.S.-born Khalidi said he is participating in the fundraising but will not be sailing in the ship himself.
"The fact that the ship is American will make it harder to deal with it as the Mavi Marmara was dealt with," Khalidi said, referring to the Turkish ship stopped by Israeli forces in May in an action that left nine Turks dead.