Anarchist Jonathan Pollak Released from Prison in Israel

Published February 23, 2020

Jonathan Pollak

Jonathan Pollak, an anarchist who was accused of attacking IDF soldiers, was released from prison in Israel on February 20. He was released after the Israeli Attorney General’s office ruled against the claim against him by right-wing NGO Ad Kan (Until Here).

Pollak was arrested on January 6 after extreme-right group Ad Kan filed a suit against him for protesting in the West Bank and allegedly “attacking IDF soldiers.”

During his detention, Pollak refused to pay a NIS500 bail to desist from “recognizing the legitimacy of the Israeli system”. Recently, the Attorney-General’s office ordered a criminal probe against Pollak for “incitement to terror” over an article published online.

Mohammed Khatib, one of Pollak’s Palestinian comrades, wrote about the arrest last month in 972 Magazine:

“My friend Jonathan was arrested… (and not for the first time) on charges similar to those I [have] faced. Unlike me… he will face judgement in an Israeli civil court, one which is supposed to protect the rights of citizens but in practice protects settlers, soldiers, and those who uphold apartheid and occupation. Because he supports our cause, I don’t expect him to find justice.

Due to of the nature of his arrest, and because he is not Palestinian, Jonathan could pay NIS 500 bail and walk out of jail. But he is a principled person. He has seen me and countless other Palestinian friends arrested on false charges, powerless to prove our innocence. So, he has decided to refuse bail and remain in detention instead. He won’t play by the rules of a system that is rigged against justice.”

At the same time as striking out Ad Kan’s claim, the Attorney General’s office ordered that a criminal investigation be opened against Pollak for “incitement to terror and violence” in relation to an article he wrote in Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

This new move is the next step in a series of repressive policies by the Israeli state and the far right against those who stand up against Israel’s colonial policies. It comes after Israeli defence minister Naftali Bennett indicated that he would issue “administrative restraining orders” to prevent Israelis from attending demonstrations in solidarity with Palestinians. On January 18, Bennett said:

“Tonight, I ordered the IDF, for the first time, to issue administrative restraining orders against left-wing anarchist activists, who carry out violent acts against IDF soldiers, mainly in events carried out against the [separation] fence in Bil’in, Naalin, Kadum and Nabi Salah – and are led by Jonathan [Pollak].”

Bennett’s threat, timed as it was to coincide with Ad Kan’s claim against Pollak, suggests that the Israeli state and far-right groups like Ad Kan are working hand in hand.

Palestinian resistance to the Trump Peace Plan and Zionist colonialism remains ongoing.