Freedom News

Israel: co-founder of Anarchists Against the Wall arrested

Jonathan Pollak, a long-time anarchist, co-founder of Anarchists Against the Wall and Palestine solidarity activist, was arrested in Tel Aviv.

Pollak’s arrest follows a criminal action filled against three activists involved with Anarchists against the Wall in February 2018 by Israeli far-right nationalist group Ad Kan. The other two persecuted activists are Kobi Snitz and Ilan Schleif. The three stand accused of assaulting Israel Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers and organising events during which the soldiers were wounded.

Ad Kan dedicates itself to persecution of the left-wing and human rights organisations. It is known for its infiltration of Israeli left-wing groups and suing activists. Ad Kan claims that Pollak, together with Snitz and Schleif belonged to the Anarchists Against the Wall and “incited Palestinian demonstrators for violence” and “assaulted Israeli soldiers.”

Before his arrest, Jonathan refused to appear in court for months, explaining that to do so, he would have to acknowledge the Israeli state’s authority to manage the resistance against the occupation. He said that he does not recognise the authority of a country which maintains a military dictatorship over people lacking basic rights in the West Bank and Gaza.

Subsequently, Pollak was arrested by undercover officers at his workplace, Haaretz newspaper, where he works as a graphic designer. He was offered to pay a bail of 500 shekels (approx £110): an offer he refused saying that he will not acknowledge a double standard system, where Palestinians are judged by military rather than civil authorities and the punishment for them would be much greater, nor they will have an option of bailing themselves out.

In a statement titled To Prison, Again, for Protesting Against Israel’s Colonial Rule Jonathan wrote for Haaretz newspaper, he said:

“To join the fight to topple Israeli apartheid, the few Jewish citizens of Israel willing to do so will first have to recognise that they are overprivileged and be willing to pay the price of relinquishing that status. An open rebellion against the regime has been taking place for decades, carried out by the Palestinian resistance movement. The price paid by those involved in it is immense. Jewish citizens of Israel must cross over and walk in their footsteps.”

Pollak was remanded in custody following a hearing at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court last Wednesday, which saw clashes between dozens of left-wing and right-wing activists.

It is not the first time Jonathan Pollak is presecuted by Israeli state. In October 2010, Pollak was fined $1,250 for participating in an illegal demonstration against the wall. However, during the same hearing a Palestinian activist Abdullah Abu Rahma was sentenced to a year in prison. Also in December  2010, Pollak was sentenced to three months in prison for participating in an illegal assembly in January 2008. He declined an offer by the court to have his sentence commuted to a community service. Pollak was released in February 2011 for good behavior, and returned to his activism within a week.



Documentary film about Anarchists Against the Wall

Image: Anarchists Against the Wall

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