Crackdown on Israeli dissent: Police summon prominent protest leaders


“We want to know what you’ll do this summer.”
And police form’s addressee line  reads: “Everyone”
Graphic: Ido Kenan

A possible crackdown on Israeli dissent? Several prominent Israeli activists were summoned by the police over the weekend. The police showed up at their doors with an invitation to “step over to the police” who want to know “what are you planning in terms of the protest for the coming summer, in order to prepare.”

No details regarding the nature of the investigation were provided on the summons. Haaretz links the threat to the J14 tent protests of last summer and says the police are trying to suppress dissent:

As the activists questioned tell it, the police warned them a month ago against “stretching the boundaries” and made it clear that at whichever events might be planned, they would be the first to be arrested. It looks as if the police had hoped that “marking” the protest leaders and scaring them would put a damper on efforts to renew the protests.

This information broke over Facebook, and was compiled at Room 404, Ido Kenan’s blog. It was subsequently reported by Haaretz (Hebrew). Translation:

Police refused to comment on each individual one of the activists who were summoned and those that will be invited, but said that the move is designed to prepare the Israeli police for the summer months. “All we want to get active in scheduling of them is to prepare ourselves and them in a better way to Summer, if it intended to demonstrate”, Israeli police said.

The intimidation campaign means Israel’s police have “other”-ed Jewish Israeli activists. It is a significant change, in that traditional progression of “first they came for the Palestinians” – the people who are targeted for thought crimes were, until very recently, outside the core of the society. By summoning them for interrogation, the state apparatus (police, in this case) signals that they are suspected, even if they do nothing. They are no longer the lords of the land. The police are giving a clear signal which translates into: “you guyz? watch out, we’re looking to stop you. Even if you do something legal, like staging a protest.”

Below I have accumulated evidence of the intimidation, most of it posted on Facebook.

Facebook post from Tamir Hajaj:

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[Facebook post from Tamir Hajaj]

Hello friends and fellow activists. I have just received a telephone call from my daughter, who says there are three policemen outside the house, looking for me. I asked her to give them my phone number, and so she did, and a few minutes later a nice policeman called, who asked me to come to the Kfar Saba police station. I asked him why and his answer was, in order to know what you’re planning, in terms of the protests for the coming summer. I told him, why should that interest you? If I do something I’ll contact you. And he responded, Mr. Hajaj, it is important to us to know what your plans are for the summer in order to get prepared, we notice that you are very active and there are quite a few activities where you are the event. I told him, what, really, am I so important that the police should follow my activity? And his answer was, let’s meet, it doesn’t have to be at the station, we can sit down for a coffee and chat a little. I told him that I don’t have time right now, that I’m preparing a large event and that I’d be in touch with him. We said our farewells nicely, only after he gave me his phone number. We should all have a good week, full of good news.

Facebook post from Moshe Menkin:   2
Facebook post from Moshe Menkin

The Police are on my doorstep again.
 Why don’t they call first? 
Why do they come, in person, to bring me a summons?
 Interesting, not that it’s scary or that I have anything to hide or anything like that, but what’s up with sending two detectives, taking them out of their regular work in order to bring Moshe Menkin a paper, at home…
I was summoned for an interrogation on Thursday at 15:00, in “in the matter of” it says “investigation”, the policeman didn’t specify what the matter was. Something about the public order, he said..
The lines about “if this date is not convenient for you, please be so kind as to call by telephone” doesn’t indicate a phone number. So what do I do If it’s not convenient? 
According to the paper I’m supposed to contact a policeman named Dror, no family name, just go look for Dror… Yiftach Percinct, 3rd floor…
Maybe the police are just curious and want to see where I live… ummm… interesting. I keep being sorry I haven’t finished painting the front of my house after the renovations I made. Maybe their presence will inspire me.


Photo of Haggai Matar’s summons to a Jaffa police station

Haggai Matar’s summons to a Jaffa police station is shown above. It reads, “Show up for interrogation @ 10:00 on June 13th 2012 and bring your ID card. Look for Shabi, 3rd Floor. Signed by: Shabi, 978726″

Facebook post from Haggai Matar:

  TXT
Facebook post from Haggai Matar

For years I’ve been telling everyone “no, I have no problem with the fact that Shabak haven’t summoned me for a conversation yet. It’s not that my activity isn’t threatening, it’s that after two years in prison, it’s clear that there is no point whatsever to try and recruit me – or silence me” – but in my heart of hearts I don’t understand what’s taking them so long. Could it be that the day has finally come?

Facebook post from Ward Yasin:

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  Facebook post from Ward Yasin includes Surhir Camal Abd Al Latif Khial’s summons to a Jaffa police station

Surhir Camal Abd Al Latif Khial’s summons to a Jaffa police station:
Show up for interrogation @ 09:00 on June 10th 2012 and bring your ID card. Look for Yardena,  Please wait in the lobby
Signed by: Yardena Rachamim, 583252

Facebook post from Shir Alony:

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Facebook post from Shir Alony

so, other then me they also summoned three other social struggle activists for interrogation. About what? God knows.

Facebook post from Shlomit Carmeli:

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Facebook post from Shlomit Carmeli

“What do they want? Shadi also wants to interrogate me on the 3rd floor in the matter of interrogation. And if the date of the interrogation is not convenient I should call number _______”

Ido Kenan posted a message to the police on his Facebook: “maybe you’ll tell us what *you* are planning for the coming summer?”  The police, playing innocent, responded, on their facebook page. Full translation of the superscription on Ido Kenan’s summons: Hi Ido, I see here an invitation to come to the police station, I don’t exactly see what you mean.

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‘Hi Ido, I see here an invitation to come to the police station, I don’t exactly see what you mean’

Ido Kenan responded, “It’s really complicated.” Ido Kenan continued:

Tamir Hajaj is the only one who was told explicitly what they want to investigate him about. According to his post on facebook yesterday, “a nice policeman called, who asked me to come to the Kfar Saba police station. I asked him why and his answer was, in order to know what you’re planning, in terms of the protests for the coming summer. I told him, why should that interest you? If I do something I’ll contact you. And he responded, Mr. Hajaj, it is important to us to know what your plans are for the summer in order to get prepared, we notice that you are very active and there are quite a few activities where you are the event.”
Hajaj was interviewed for Channel B radio, where the police response was read out: “we do not customarily give details about people who are invited to the police station. This is the message by Eran Yehuda, spokesman for HaSharon Region.”

How did the police choose the interrogation subjects? Nili Maman wrote: “in practice they sent an invitation to everyone, or to most of the people, who were arrested at any of the demonstrations.”

Maman continues: The police want to know what we’re going to do this summer. Let’s tell it:

We want to do what you’ll be doing this summer [summons, with invitation addressed to: evvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvrybody]
The police, so we have learned this week, has been inviting protest activists for interrogation, to find out what they plan to do this summer. Police resources are limited, and to make sure she doesn’t waste them by summoning all of us for interrogation, let’s volunteer our information without coercion.
Write what you intend to do next summer here in the comments, or in your blog/facebook/twitter, with a link to this post. If it’s on facebook, don’t forget to tag the official Israel Police page  so they can red these things, as well as room 404  or me , so I can publish select confessions here.

In an about-face on Wednesday, the Israel Police started canceling summons it had initially delivered. Haaretz speculates that this was done following a direct order from Public Security Minister, Ahranovich, who is in charge of Israel’s national police.

Several activists were questioned despite this, including Haggai Matar. Haaretz reports that one public housing activist, Vicky Vanunu, was subjected to a search. The police claimed they were looking for torches, expecting a torchlight procession. Jerusalem activists denied having any such plans, and the Israel Police stressed that a torchlight procession could endanger lives.

The upshot of all this is that Israel’s police believes demonstrations (which are legal and do not require permits in Israel) are a threat that needs to be confronted in the Only Democracy™.

Posted in Activism, Arab Spring, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, US Policy in the Middle East

{ 18 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. ‘Hi Ido, I see here an invitation to come to the police station, I don’t exactly see what you mean’

    that’s hysterical. i’m sure the police know exactly what Ido meant. but what’s funnier is the police addressed ,on facebook: summons, with invitation addressed to: evvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvrybody even post this to everyone.

    the ‘conveniences’ of a very small country.

  2. Keith says:

    SPEAKING OF OPPOSING A CRACKDOWN ON DISSENT- Below is a link to a website seeking people to support the nomination of Bradley Manning for a Nobel Peace Prize. For those interested: link to rootsaction.org

    • Why would you want Bradley Manning to be put in the same category as war criminals (with the exception of one or two others)? I think the Nobel Peace Price is exactly the opposite of its name.

      • Keith says:

        CLOAKANDDAGGER- I am of the opinion that a significant groundswell of Americans supporting Bradley Manning for the peace prize could only be interpreted as support for Bradley Manning which could make some difference, all other considerations notwithstanding.

    • Fredblogs says:

      He’s in enough trouble. Nominating him for a Nobel prize for leaking would just increase the U.S. government’s determination to get him. They haven’t taken the death penalty off the table yet AFAIK.

  3. Daniel Rich says:

    Not in the ‘only’ democracy in the M.E.!

  4. seafoid says:

    Pointless really. The protests didn’t emerge because someone was feeling egotistical or provocative. The system in Israel isn’t working for the poor, the ones who live behind the green line who can’t buy property, young families. They got together last year and started thinking about the madness of their country. they didn’t join all the dots but they will.

    The IDF’s biggest fear is class based action. That’s why the Africans are targeted now. Much less dangerous than having the Mizrahim and the Palestinians get organised.

  5. MTd2 says:

    Is that an example of police state? Enlighten me just to make sure.

  6. seafoid says:

    “I have just received a telephone call from my daughter, who says there are three policemen outside the house, looking for me. I asked her to give them my phone number, and so she did, and a few minutes later a nice policeman called, who asked me to come to the Kfar Saba police station’

    Maybe the activists will be excommunicated by the Jerusalem rabbinate

    or denied access to Israel like Finkelstein .
    Or deported. like the Sudanese
    Or locked up without charge like 140000 Palestinians
    Or corralled in a concentration camp and bombed with white phosphorous like Gaza

    Israel has so many creative options available.

  7. seafoid says:

    Eventually there will be just the police and the army and the settlers and the people will slowly encircle them and lead them to Masada. There will arise a leader but it won’t be Beinart .

  8. giladg says:

    Give them a rope and they will hang themselves with it.

  9. piotr says:

    Is Shabi a diminitive form of Shabak?

  10. Woody Tanaka says:

    This makes perfect sense, they have to know how many tear gas canisters they are going to fire at the heads of peaceful people and that takes some planning… Violations of human rights don’t plan themselves, you know.

  11. seafoid says:

    Tweet now “Five years too long #EndgazaBlockade”

    link to aidajerusalem.org

    Fifty international charities and United Nations Agencies have unanimously called for the lifting of the blockade of Gaza. The organizations have published a simple three line statement to mark the fifth anniversary of the tightening of the blockade of the Strip. It reads:

    For over five years in Gaza, more than 1.6 million people have been under blockade in violation of international law. More than half of these people are children. We the undersigned say with one voice: “end the blockade now.”

    The international aid and development signatories include:
    1. Action Contre la Faim (ACH)
    2. Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (Acted)
    3. American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
    4. Amnesty International
    5. Broederlijk Delen
    6. CARE International
    7. CCFD-Terre Solidaire
    8. Christian Aid
    9. Christian Peacemaker Team
    10. Cordaid
    11. Danchurchaid
    12. Diakonia
    13. A Different Jewish Voice (Een Ander Joods Geluid)
    14. Emergency Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (EWASH)
    15. Gruppo di Volontariato Civile (GVC)
    16. Handicap International
    17. Help Age International
    18. International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC)
    19. IKV Pax Christi
    20. International Learning Center
    21. Life for Relief and Development
    22. Medicos del Mundo – España (MDM Spain)
    23. Médecins du Monde France (MdM France)
    24. Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP)
    25. Medico International
    26. Movement for Peace (MPDL)
    27. Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA)
    28. Norwegian Church Aid (NCA)
    29. Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
    30. Oxfam
    31. Palestine Solidarity Association of Sweden
    32. Polish Humanitarian Action (PAH)
    33. Première Urgence – Aide Médicale Internationale
    34. Save the Children
    35. Secours Islamique France
    36. Swedish Organization for Individual Relief
    37. Terre des Hommes Italy (TdH Italy)
    38. Terre des Hommes Lausanne (TdH Suisse)
    39. Terre des Homme
    40. Trócaire
    41. The Carter Center
    42. United Nations Association International Service (UNAIS)
    43. War Child

    The United Nations signatories include:

    1. United Nations Humanitarian/Resident Coordinator, occupied Palestinian territory
    2. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
    3. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
    4. United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
    5. United Nations Women
    6. World Health Organization (WHO)
    7. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

    The government of Israel is facing mounting international criticism for the Gaza blockade and this unanimous statement from some of the most world’s most respected international organizations is likely to increase pressure for the blockade to be lifted.

  12. lysias says:

    Looks like the Egyptian military is getting ready for a crackdown there. Egypt: The Counterrevolution Won – For Now:

    Yesterday the military reinstated parts of the emergency law that allows arbitrary arrests by the military and state security forces.

    Today the constitutional court ruled that the law to ban former government members from the presidential election is illegal. Mubarak clone Shafiq can thereby continue in the run-off and whoever will count the votes will make sure that he wins.

    The court also ruled on the legitimacy of the parliament. With a fluffy interpretation of the law it found that a third of the parliament members, those directly elected instead of through party lists, were not legally elected. It dissolved the whole parliament.

    Egypt now has no parliament, no constitution, no way to create a new constitution and a joke of a legal system.

    Shafik, the SCAF puppet, will win Sunday’s run-off vote. Today he already held a well prepared victory speech. Mubarak, currently in jail with a bad case of jail flue will then likely be freed and allowed to live in some luxury comfort where he can continue to pull the strings. Everything will be back to where it was before the Tahrir protest.