Left-wing activist Jonathan Pollak said he was assaulted Sunday in Tel Aviv, sparking accusations of right-wing incitement.
Pollak said that there were two assailants, one of whom used a knife to inflict superficial injuries to his face and arms.
During the attack, Pollak said the men cursed him and called him a “leftist jerk” before fleeing the scene. He said the assailants were in their twenties or thirties and that he didn’t know them.
Pollak is a longtime campaigner against Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians, and is the founder of “Anarchists Against the Wall,” an anti-Zionist group opposed to the security barrier in the West Bank and to the fence separating Israel from the Gaza Strip.
He has participated for many years in weekly Palestinian protests near Nabi Saleh in the West Bank, and in 2011 served three months in jail for taking part in illegal gatherings. He supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
Anti-occupation activist Jonathan Pollak was just assaulted by two men in Tel Aviv. One pulled out a knife and inflicted shallow injuries to his face & arms. This was clearly politically motivated. My guess: result of far right group @adkanorg incitement campaign against Pollak. pic.twitter.com/Ws3PpviYNL
— Sarit Michaeli (@saritm0) July 7, 2019
B’Tselem and a far-left lawmaker claimed the attack was the result of a campaign against Pollak by right-wing activist group Ad Kan, whose members, posing as human rights activists, have infiltrated some of Israel’s left-wing organizations and surreptitiously recorded their activities.
In December, Ad Kan filed a criminal complaint against Pollak and two other activists, accusing them of aiding violent rioters and assaulting IDF soldiers and Border Police officers during protests over the years.
Pollak refused to show up to hearings or cooperate with the proceedings, saying he wouldn’t play along with the “Theater of the Absurd” and accusing the Israeli justice system of being unfair to Palestinians and to himself.
Last month, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court issued a warrant to bring Pollak to testify in court, though that has not yet happened.
Pollak, who is also a graphic designer for the Haaretz daily, said he was attacked Sunday after leaving the newspaper’s offices.
“At about 2 p.m. I left for lunch,” he told Sicha Mekomit (“Local Call”), the Hebrew-language affiliate of the online +972 Magazine. “I noticed two people following me. I though they were cops, because there is a warrant against me. I tried to evade them but they caught up, pushed me to the floor and started punching and kicking me. When I tried to protect myself, one of them pulled out a knife and scratched me in the face.”
MK Ofer Cassif, the lone Jewish member of the mostly Arab party Hadash-Ta’al, released a statement saying that “the assault with a knife against anti-occupation activist Jonathan Pollak is the result of wild incitement by the extreme right, which defines left-wing activists as traitors and peace activists as enemies.
“Despite the incitement, despite the threats, we will continue to strive for peace, justice and equality to all people of this land — Palestinians and Israelis,” Cassif said.