Israeli Left-wing Activist Assaulted in Tel Aviv

Haaretz employee Jonathan Pollak says information about where he lives and works were posted online before the attack outside the publication's offices

Jonathan Pollak at Hermon Prison in 2011.
Yaron Kaminsky

Left-wing activist Jonathan Pollak, who is an employee of Haaretz, was assaulted on Sunday outside the newspaper's office building in Tel Aviv by two unidentified men.  

The attack was politically motivated, Pollak says. "They called me a left-winger and anarchist and beat me up a little. When I tried to defend myself, one pulled out a knife and scratched me on the face."

In 2018, the right-wing organization Ad Kan filed a complaint against Pollak, claiming he had attacked soldiers during demonstrations at the West Bank towns of Ni'lin, Nabi Saleh and Bil'in. Pollak did not attend the hearings on the issue, prompting the court to issue a subpoena.

Two months ago, Ad Kan uploaded a post to social media calling on the public to give it information on Pollak's whereabouts. Pollak claimed at the time that his home address and place of employment were posted online.

On Sunday, he said, he left work and noticed he was being followed. "I assumed they were police who had come to arrest me," said Pollak, who is also active in the organization Anarchists against the Wall. "I went into a place where I could avoid them but they got to me and pushed me to the floor," he says. He took some blows but after scratching his face with the knife, he says, they seemed to get spooked and fled.

Pollak did not complain to the police because "that is the last entity in the world I would turn to for protection. That's simply not its job."

According to Ad Kan's complaint against Pollak and two other protesters, "Starting in 2013 and to this very day, every Friday, the defendants together with other rioters unlawfully attack IDF soldiers." The complaint describes Pollak as an active participant encouraging rioters to throw rocks at security forces and confront them.

Pollak has not attended the court hearings for political reasons and last month published an opinion column in Haaretz, explaining, "we must also stop cooperating with Israeli apartheid by accepting the legitimacy of the rule of law in Israel and participating in the charade of democracy. No, I won’t go."

Ad Kan stated that "for the last 15 years, Pollak has been involved in violent demonstrations in which Israeli soldiers were attacked and stoned. Pollak is presently on trial pursuant to a criminal complaint filed with the court by Ad Kan together with Israeli soldiers who had been injured during incidents in the West Bank." The group added that if he is found guilty, it will insist he be jailed.

Ad Kan added that it "condemns all violent activity, and if the incident Mr. Pollak complains about did happen, then he should contact the law enforcement authorities that he recently said he does not recognize, to check his claims. Trying to tie Ad Kan to events that it has nothing to do with is libel, the organization added, and an attempt to distract attention from Pollak's grave deeds against Israeli soldiers."