Left-wing Israeli activist suffers knife attack due to pro-Palestine views

A photo of Israeli activist Jonathan Pollak
Bryan Wall

A left-wing Israeli activist has been injured in a knife attack. Jonathan Pollak, a longtime pro-Palestine and Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) activist, was attacked by two people who called him a “leftist asshole”. A right-wing Israeli group had previously targeted him for his support of Palestinian rights.

The attack

In an interview, Pollak said he left work on 7 July and noticed he was being followed. At first, he believed it was the police who were following him because they wanted to issue him with a warrant. As he revealed:

I tried to run but they caught up to me, pushed me to the ground and began punching and kicking me

At one stage, he tried to defend himself. But one of the attackers “pulled out a knife and slit my face”. And as they left, they called him a “leftist asshole”.

Pollack has previously criticised what he calls Israel’s “military dictatorship” for restricting “all basic democratic rights” for people in occupied Palestinian territories and treating Palestinians as “second-class citizens” in Israel.

Horror

Pollak divulged that he suffered cuts to his face and arms. His assailants also punched him in his face and ribs.

Many people have since expressed their horror at the attack. A Nation journalist argued that the attack was the price a person pays for having “principles in Israel today”:

Several people, meanwhile, described it as a “politically motivated attack”:

Who’s to blame?

One Twitter user pointed out that a right-wing Israeli group had recently doxxed Pollak:

The group, ‘Ad Kan’, has previously tried to infiltrate human rights movements. It has also attempted to prosecute Pollak and other Israelis “for participating in protests against the West Bank separation barrier”. It had apparently earlier posted details of where Pollak works as well as his home address:

Ad Kan denied responsibility for the attack, saying it “denounces all violent actions”. And Pollak himself said he doesn’t know who attacked him.

The Israeli far right

As horrific as the attack may be, it isn’t surprising. Left-wing activists in Israel have historically had a difficult time in the state. Politicians, including current prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have previously accused leftists of having “forgotten what it means to be Jewish”.

In the recent general elections, meanwhile, the hard right came out victorious. The Israeli population gave the most extreme elements of the far right a mandate. And this puts left-wing activists in an even more dangerous position than before.

Any far-right success in Israel will come at the expense of the Palestinian people; and it’ll also come at the expense of their left-wing supporters in Israel.

Featured image via Twitter

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us