Israeli Police Question Left-wing Activist Jonathan Pollak on Suspicion of Incitement to Terror

The investigation was opened over statements the activist made in an op-ed that was erroneously published unedited on the Hebrew website of Haaretz

Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner
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Pollak released from custody at Abu Kabir earlier this month.
Pollak released from custody at Abu Kabir earlier this month. Credit: Moti Milrod
Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner

Left-wing activist and Haaretz employee Jonathan Pollak was investigated Monday morning at the Tel Aviv District Police headquarters on suspicion of incitement to violence and terror, in the wake of an article he wrote that was published in the online edition of Haaretz in Hebrew.

His investigation is taking place with the approval of the State Prosecutor’s Office, and after the attorney general had reported last week that he was launching a criminal probe against Pollak.

The investigation was opened due to statements he wrote in a column entitled: “Why I refuse to cooperate with the court.” Acting Attorney General Raz Nazri decided that there is no reason to open an investigation against Haaretz or its editors.

In an article that was erroneously posted on the Haaretz website in an unedited version, Pollak wrote, among other things: “Yes, we must cross the lines and break the law. Despite the price, we must join the children of the stones and firebombs. We must march in their footsteps.” These sentences were removed from the article shortly after its publication on the website, and did not appear in the print version of the newspaper.

Pollak’s attorney, Gaby Lasky, said: “The unusual speed with which the Attorney General’s Office ordered an investigation of Jonathan Pollak, and his speedy summons by the police, arouse a strong suspicion that the investigative entities surrendered to the continued pressure of the right and are trying to ‘balance’ the attorney general’s decision to stay the proceedings in the criminal complaint filed by the extremist right-wing organization Ad Kan against Pollak and two other activists.”

Pollak was released from custody last week, after the attorney general ordered a stay in the proceedings against him and two other activists, saying they were improper. He was arrested due to his refusal to report for hearings regarding the complaint filed against him by Ad Kan. The non-profit organization claims that since 2013, he and the other two activists against whom proceedings were brought – Kobi Snitz and Ilan Shalif – participated in violent demonstrations against Israeli security forces as part of the their activities on behalf of the Anarchists Against the Wall movement.

Deputy Attorney General Amit Marari wrote in an official legal opinion that enforcing the law is the job of the authorities, and should not be done by representatives of the political camps. “The public interest is that the government authorities are those who will enforce the law in such cases, while taking into account all the relevant considerations, and that enforcement will not be in the hands of the parties to the political dispute that is at the basis of the protest,” she wrote.

The opinion of the deputy attorney general indicates that the evidentiary basis for the crimes attributed to the three men is missing. In addition, Marari argued that it is not the business of the parties to the proceeding – the Ad Kan organization – since the proceeding is of public rather than private importance. “There is no place for enforcement to be carried out by a private organization. In light of the aforesaid, the request for a stay of proceedings should be accepted,” she wrote.

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