Opinion

Brave, Inspiring Protesters Are True Israeli Patriots

Protesters demonstrate against the conviction of a British woman for allegedly being raped by a group of Israelis in Cyprus, January 7, 2020
Moti Milrod

In the courtroom in Paralimni, Cyprus, and in the magistrate’s court in Jerusalem, brave and inspiring expressions of protest were made on Monday – by those who do not accept the yoke of enforced patriotism and who are willing to pay the price, too. The Israeli patriots are unwilling to accept acts of resistance against the state, its institutions or even against Israeli citizens outside of Israel. Nationalism will cancel out anything for them, including crimes.

But between the dozens of Israelis, men and women, who came to Cyprus on Monday to demonstrate in solidarity with the young British woman who was convicted of making up a gang rape by a group of young Israelis – and Jonathan Pollak, who was arrested for failing to appear in court on a criminal complaint filed against him by the right-wing organization Ad Kan, accusing him of attacking Israeli soldiers – runs a straight line, the line of courage and humanity.

It is those who demonstrated in Cyprus who actually saved the honor of Israel, because they dared to come out against ugly Israelis – and even more, they did it outside of Israel. There is nothing that hasn’t been said so far about worrying question marks concerning what happened in Ayia Napa, but to turn the victim into the guilty party and the delinquents into heroes – this should outrage anyone with a conscience. The protesters in Paralimni not only rose up in their hearts, they also took action. They may not be paying for it the way Pollak is doing, but they deserve appreciation.

Pollak paid, is paying and will pay much more. He explained only a bit of the price demanded of him in his article on Monday in Haaretz. Like the protesters in Cyprus, he too is saving Israel’s honor – but that was not his intention. His active, constant opposition to the occupation and his call to cross the lines, these are the material from which heroes are made. Until recently, it was still possible to be convinced that when the occupation ends, Pollak will be remembered glowingly – much more so than all of his prosecutors, jailers and judges.

Pollak is the white man who actively joined the struggle of the blacks. Today these are the heroes of South Africa – among them, by the way, quite a few Jews – and the silent ones, the collaborators and creators of the crimes of apartheid, the patriots, will be remembered in eternal disgrace. It is no longer possible to guarantee even this any longer in Israel: While history is rushing forward wildly in the direction of the settlements and occupation, maybe forever, it is impossible to guarantee any longer even the future glory of the Israeli heroes considered to be traitors.

But Pollak is a hero. It is very doubtful he attacked IDF soldiers, but even if he did, this violence will never equal Israeli state violence, against which he is fighting. When TV reporter Amit Segal tweets the wording of the law against incitement to violence, a crime whose punishment is up to five years in prison, he intentionally ignores everyone who incites to state violence and the violence of individuals that lies in the very existence of the occupation.

There is not a moment when the state and its representatives are not using violence, there is not a moment in which the right and its representatives are not inciting to violence, and it keeps getting worse. From “death to the Arabs” to the calls for more settlements, from “Let the IDF win” to “Hebron, ancient and eternal,” from “Kahane was right” to “Flatten Gaza” and “Send Lebanon back into the Stone Age,” from Regavim to Ad Kan, everything is one great incitement to institutionalized, continual violence, under the auspices of the state and the media that carries out its orders.

Almost all the orders of the IDF and all the rulings of the military court in Ofer are incitement to violence. The same goes for almost every decision of the Yesha Council of settlements, some cabinet decisions and every word of encouragement for the settlers. All of it is incitement to violence. For some reason, Segal remembered the law against incitement only concerning Pollak, an opponent of the regime, but does anyone have a doubt as to who is the real hero, and who is the true inciter to violence?