In this episode of “Occupied Thoughts,” FMEP non resident fellow Peter Beinart speaks with Jonathan Pollak, an Israeli anti-Zionist activist and solidarity organizer who has been repeatedly arrested and imprisoned by Israel for his involvement in Palestine solidarity protests in the West Bank. Jonathan is currently facing two charges, and is expected to demand his trial take place in Israel’s West Bank military court system, rather than in Israeli domestic courts. Peter explores the history and motivation of Jonathan’s activism, and how sees a role for Israelis in the struggle for Palestinian rights.
On 20 February 2020, Jonathan Pollak was released after the Attorney General decided to stay the proceedings against him. This effectively means that the case against the anti-occupation activist is closed.
On 6 January 2020, human rights defender Jonathan Pollak was arrested on charges of assaulting soldiers and Border Police officers during peaceful protests in the West Bank. He is currently detained in Abu Kabir Detention Center in Tel Aviv.
Jonathan Pollak is an anti-occupation activist, human rights defender and journalist at Haaretz Newspaper. He co-founded the Anarchists Against the Wall, a group that opposes the construction of the Israeli Gaza Strip and West Bank barriers. Jonathan Pollak regularly participates in the weekly anti-wall demonstrations in the Palestinian villages of Bil’in and Na’alin.
Peter Beinart is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Foundation for Middle East Peace. He is also a Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York, a Contributing opinion writer at the New York Times, an Editor-at-Large at Jewish Currents, and an MSNBC Political Commentator.
Read more about Jonathan Pollak:
- In his own words:
- “To Prison, Again, for Protesting Against Israel’s Colonial Rule” (Haaretz, January 2020)
- “Why I Won’t Attend My Trial for Alleged Assault on Israeli Police in West Bank” (Haaretz, June 2019)
- “The plot to put an Israeli anti-Zionist behind bars” (+972 Magazine)
- “Video: Meet the Israeli activist suspected of ‘incitement to terror’ for protesting Israeli colonialism” (Mondoweiss, March 2020)
- “‘Meager Suspicion’: Israeli Left-wing Activist Jonathan Pollak Released From Custody” (Haaretz, July 2021)