is an Irish-American activist and former US Marine. He led the human shield action to Iraq and was a passenger on the MV Mavi Marmara during the Gaza flotilla raid. He said that he participated in defending the ship and claimed that he disarmed two Israeli Commandos. In June 2010, O'Keefe was on board the MV Mavi Marmara.
During the Gaza flotilla raid, O'Keefe was among the passengers who clashed with the Israeli military. In the course of the clash, O'Keefe claims to have been involved in providing initial first aid to a seriously wounded passenger and disarming two Israeli Commandos.
He says he helped to disarm one commando of his gun and aided in subduing another, personally taking possession of a 9mm pistol from the second commando, removing the "real bullets" or live ammunition from the pistol and giving the bullets to others while hiding the weapon. He explained that it was his hope that the weapon could be used as evidence in any subsequent trial.
O'Keefe said of the experience that it was like "combat but without combat weapons" and that "We had in our full possession, three completely disarmed and helpless commandos" who were "surrounded by at least 100 men"; "we could have done anything with them." He said that "woman provided basic first aid, and ultimately they were released, battered and bruised for sure, but alive. Able to live another day."
O'Keefe was among those arrested and detained in Israel. O'Keefe and another activist say he was beaten at the Tel Aviv airport when he resisted deportation, while still in Israeli custody. He claims that a policeman hit him on the head with a truncheon and that he was choked until he almost blacked out. He said he spent two more days in a detention facility in the airport after the incident.
O'Keefe said the Irish consul general tried to convince him to agree to leave and asked him to wash the blood off his face but he refused. A video showing his bloodied face was released upon his arrival in Istanbul. On 6 June, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) charged that O'Keefe is an "anti-Israel extremist" and "operative of the Hamas Terror organization".
According to the IDF he was entering the Gaza Strip in order to "form and train a commando unit for the Palestinian terror organization." O'Keefe said "If they had a supposed terrorist in their possession, why the hell did they let me go?" He confirmed that he had held meetings with Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and other senior Hamas officials.
People like this live among us, demonstrate on our streets, share our liberties, and go to Gaza to help kill people while on vacation, coming back to our lands to brag and accept praise and money from their friends.