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Israeli police to activist reciting names of destroyed Palestinian villages: If you keep reading you will be arrested

on 34 Comments

An Israeli activist being arrested at an event to commemorate the Nakba on
Israeli Independence Day. His weapon? A history book. (Photo: Activestills)

(Editor’s Note: For video and more pictures of this event see this post)

The first text message I received around 22:30 read “The cops have surrounded the building, It’s quite likely that everybody will be arrested once we try to get out of the door. Alert everybody.” The message was sent by a friend of mine, who along with 14 other activists came to the offices of Zochrot (remembering), an Israeli NGO that focuses on commemorating and raising awareness to the Palestinian Nakba, on the eve of the Israeli independence day. They were planning to go out to the street and remind the celebrators the horrible price that was paid and is still being paid by Palestinians for this so called independence.

The planned action was very simple. The activists carried small signs with names of Palestinian villages demolished during the Nakba, which they intended to take to Rabin Square, the main location of festivities in Tel Aviv. They planned to place those signs one by the other, on the floor, create a long line, and ask people to neither step on it, nor ignore it. As aforementioned, though, when they were about to leave the building, located in Ivn Gvirol st., in the centre of Tel Aviv, in order to preform this small protest action, they found themselves in an improvised iron-cage, made of the iron barriers prepared by the municipality to block the streets for the celebrations, surrounded by cops.

An Israeli man holding a sign with the name of of a
destroyed Palestinian village. (Photo: Activestills)

Meanwhile, more and more activists started arriving. They were called over by Facebook, Twitter, text messages and phone calls. Some of us tried to reach out for the signs held by the activists and hold them outside the iron cage, but the signs were immediately snatched by the cops. Others tried arguing with the cops. Many just stood there watching and documenting. When the lawyer Gabi Lasky arrived to the scene she tried unsuccessfully to decipher this legal limbo in which 15 activists were neither arrested, nor detained, but they were besieged inside the building.

After a long while one of the activists tried to break the siege, he was immediately grabbed and pinned to the ground by several cops. Another activist that was standing outside the blockade and tried to assist him, was violently arrested, as well. The commotion drew the attention of many passerbys, some of them asked questions, others expressed their support for the cops.

One of the activists that were called over brought a history book, out of which he started reading out loud the names of villages demolished by the Nakba, on which the city of Tel Aviv was built. Policemen warned him that if he keeps on reading he will be arrested. After a moment or two they fulfilled this threat. As he was dragged to the police van he kept on reading. “Shayka Muwannis, Abu Kabir, Salama….” The reading continued, though, from the cards held by those inside the blockade, one by one the names were read, repeated by everybody “Ijlil Shamalyyia, Sawalima, Yazur…” When a couple of dozens were reading out the names the cops stood helpless.

A couple of hours went by. Several activists were randomly allowed to leave the building, and joined those who were standing outside, the others were still blocked in. Eventually, a track of Tel Aviv municipality came by to collect the iron barriers, and to their great dismay the policemen had to release the activists locked inside the building.

Kahanists protesting against a joint Israeli-Palestinian memorial day
event organized by Combatants for Peace in Tel Aviv on April 24, 2012.
The sign says “The people of Israel is alive, the left is dead. The funeral
will take place in Gaza. That’s how it is, and with this we will win… : )”
(Photo: Activestills)

As we were getting away, we were approached by several drunken Kahanists, who first swore, then started singing racist songs, and chanting “Death to Arabs, death to Arabs” , and concluded with threats such as “if there were no cops around I’d kill you”. The cops around, somehow failed to hear these threats, although at some point one of them had a friendly chat with one of those Kahanists, after which he returned to harass us. We walked away in big groups, with some of them following us for a while, but they fell back as we refused to oblige them in a shouting match.

The three people who were arrested are still held in custody, and will be brought in front of a judge this evening.

Before I conclude, I should note that last week dozens of international activists got arrested for saying the word Palestine in Israeli airport. This week 3 activists got arrested, and a dozen more spent several hours in an iron cage for daring to mention the Nakba. In both case the Israeli thought police deemed the arrestees provocateurs. Once again, it seems like the thing most threatening to the Israeli regime, are peaceful activists, using the words which it tries to erase. A regime based on lies, can’t help but being threatened by the those who dare speak out the truth.

Leehee Rothschild
About Leehee Rothschild

Leehee Rothschild is an Israeli BDS activist.

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34 Responses

  1. justicewillprevail
    April 26, 2012, 10:13 am

    What was it that one of the zionist apologists was saying in another thread about the only state in the ME where free speech is a right? Now that some words, and thus ideas, are illegal in that bastion of ‘democracy’, perhaps they will retract the absurd claim.

  2. seafoid
    April 26, 2012, 10:34 am

    “A regime based on lies, can’t help but being threatened by the those who dare speak out the truth.”


    Freedom of speech is incompatible with the Jewish democracy.

    Meanwhile the communal delusion continues

  3. Sumud
    April 26, 2012, 10:54 am

    The Only Democracy In The Middle East™

    The path Israel is on, I can actually see a day in the not too distant future where Israeli jews are fleeing to Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan as refugees.

    • Chu
      April 26, 2012, 11:32 am

      Pictured above are the efforts of an authoritarian nationalist political ideology
      at work. Israelis want to cling a the brand of democracy that doesn’t exist – they’ll wear the pro democracy T-shirt for western eyes.

      I don’t think a colonial settler state can claim they are democratic by including an acceptable level of minority Palestinians that are under increasingly greater threat from their so-called government of the people.

    • Darcha
      April 26, 2012, 11:47 am

      War is Peace.

    • seafoid
      April 26, 2012, 11:53 am

      I don’t get the feeling fortress Europe will welcome the Sephardim when it all goes wrong. And the Ashkenazim won’t want to know.

    • Fredblogs
      April 26, 2012, 12:46 pm


      You wish.

      • Daniel Rich
        Daniel Rich
        April 26, 2012, 6:36 pm

        @ Freedblogs,

        If you would unplug your head from the Sinai desert sands and have a good look around you’d see that the world around you and the ordinary people living in it are fed up with Israel and the Israelis bending over backward to defend indefensible atrocities, perpetrated by a hollow, shallow shell masquerading as a cocoon of non-existing and defunct democracy. You and your ilk are on a head-on collision course with a brick wall, but so full of yourselves that everyone who tries to warn you is either a self-hating Jew or ‘some goy’ [the rest of the world] if they live outside the apartheid walls and refuse to acknowledge the largest open-air prison as a full-fledged state. You are walking alone already. Open your eyes and have a good look at reality and don’ be shocked.

        And this is in dire need of an update @

      • Fredblogs
        April 27, 2012, 3:01 pm

        ROFLMAO. Never occurred to you that there could be more than one “Fred Blogs” did it? It’s like John Doe, or Joe Sixpack. Nice try, but I don’t blog under “Fred Blogs”.

      • FreddyV
        April 26, 2012, 8:15 pm

        You can’t see it can you Fred.

        It’s all coming down around your ears. Sooner rather than later, a US President will stop the vetos and the military aid and then world opinion and most importantly the voice of Palestine will finally be heard.

        The saddest thing of all is that those Israelis living in Israel will come to the realisation that their ‘victim’ nation has been the aggressor and the villain of the whole piece and that they will have to make a very hard and painful peace with the people they’ve been dispossessing for the last 64 years.

        I imagine when it all comes down, it’s not going to be a lot different to the movies shot at Buchenwald.

        You’ve been on here long enough, you know that Israel was founded on ethnic cleansing and dispossession, yet you still prattle on with your crap. Wake up. You are the problem. Israel is unsustainable in it’s current form and it’s evil. Stop defending the indefensible and start looking to a solution. God knows, Israel is going to need it.

      • eGuard
        April 26, 2012, 10:07 pm


        didn’t you have a lot of questions te aswer on this site, still open?

      • Fredblogs
        April 27, 2012, 3:09 pm

        @eGuard. Not that I know of. I try to answer all questions people ask me, but I don’t always see them all. Sometimes they are asked in threads I have stopped paying attention to.

    • Carowhat
      April 26, 2012, 6:39 pm

      Ron Unz, a wealthy dot-com type who ran (and lost) for the Republican nomination for for governor of California years ago, once called Israel a Crusader state which would soon go the way of all Crusader states.

      He never explained though how he thought the end would come. Increasingly vulnerable to ever-more-accurate and longer-range missile attacks? Out-numbered by higher Arab birth rates? Economically enfeebled? Deserted by her patrons? Declared a rogue state? Or, as you suggested, abandoned by her own citizens (due to what?–missile attacks on Tel Aviv?? the stress of never-ending war?)

      What is your scenario?

  4. lysias
    April 26, 2012, 11:43 am

    What was the crime the activists were charged with?

    • ToivoS
      April 26, 2012, 6:05 pm

      Didn’t the Knesset pass a law last summer making a crime to honor the nakba on independence day? Or was it just proposed?

    • Daniel Rich
      Daniel Rich
      April 26, 2012, 7:02 pm

      @ lysias,

      Causing an acute truth-rash.

  5. Fredblogs
    April 26, 2012, 12:45 pm

    Did the activists at the airport get _arrested_ for saying the word “Palestine” or did they just get held for deportation for being unwelcome in the country?

    • Daniel Rich
      Daniel Rich
      April 26, 2012, 7:26 pm

      @ Fredbloga,

      It seems your automated, babelfish translation app is running out of steam. Aren’t you afraid your spine will snap when you overstretch it, you know, lebensraum and all?

      • Fredblogs
        April 27, 2012, 2:53 pm

        Well, that was remarkably unhelpful. No translation involved. I’m a native born American. I speak an American dialect of English. I believe in a world where you can spell a word like “color” or “flavor” without using a “u”. I’m just aware that a lot of what gets written on this site by posters includes loaded and inaccurate terms. Like “arrested for saying Palestine” when “held for deportation for trying to go into areas that are off limits to tourists” is more accurate.

      • annie
        April 27, 2012, 3:25 pm

        fred, villages in the occupied territories are not technically designated as “areas that are off limits to tourists” (certainly not bethlehem which was the destination of the gathering , as i recall). and yes, it was widely reported , just like the other flotilla, part of the action when arriving at customs and asked what your plans were was for the activists to say “palestine”. this was why they were deported.

      • Fredblogs
        April 27, 2012, 7:15 pm

        Thank you. That was a helpful answer. Deported, not arrested. And as I recall, the plans for the flytilla weren’t just “show up and say ‘Palestine'” but to say they were going to Palestinian territories where Israel doesn’t want activists going. While I applaud their honesty, they could have just stayed home and not wasted the trip.

      • annie
        April 27, 2012, 7:56 pm

        but that was the whole point fred, to advertise to the world israel is denying palestinians guests. that’s not legal. there’s nothing illegal per se from visiting palestine.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2012, 9:21 pm

        “I’m just aware that a lot of what gets written on this site by posters includes loaded and inaccurate terms.”

        You mean like “collective Jewish decisions” and “self defense from persecution” with no context?
        But thank God you, Fredblogs, never sink to any loaded or inaccurate terms.

  6. seafoid
    April 26, 2012, 5:00 pm

    You can almost smell the air of Palestine watching the video. Reet Hawa Falastin.
    Palestine is all around Israel. It’s in the air. It’s underground. It’s in every Jewish Israeli brain right at the back where they can’t reach it .

    There is something about the dumb faces of the police. They know the only status they have is because they shaft the Palestinians. That mistrust of the intellectuals. They know how precarious their position is. They know they don’t want to know about the history of Tel Aviv. It could all fall apart and once the Palestinians are no longer shafted it will be their turn.

  7. piotr
    April 26, 2012, 5:02 pm

    “Freedom of speech is incompatible with the Jewish democracy. ”

    This is actually demonstrably false. For starters, I understand that Zochrot has done it for several years. One can make a better case that the Jewish democracy cannot survive a serious attempt of imposing rule of law, like government obeying every single sentence of Supreme Court of Israel. Should courts deviate from their proper role, which is decorative, the state would be in trouble. But no government will fall because some squeaks of free speech can be heard.

    But this leaves a puzzles, what propels Israel to do it now, why was that day a special day, but not a year ago? Perhaps it is another canary showing us that the air in this coal mine, famous of its purity for so long, is not as good as advertised.

    • Daniel Rich
      Daniel Rich
      April 26, 2012, 7:28 pm

      @ piotr,

      Do you think the same is applicable when you want to discus certain aspects of WWII? In my book the truth doesn’t need any laws. Lies do.

      • piotr
        April 26, 2012, 8:40 pm

        I do not understand you. Laws are not statements about truth but declarations of the State, and if enforced, rules that inhabitants of a jurisdiction should follow.

      • Talkback
        April 27, 2012, 9:19 am

        So you think that the Germans were right to follow their laws between 1933 and 1945? Especially the laws against Jews?

      • piotr
        April 27, 2012, 9:57 pm

        In more plain language, Israel may choose to simply ignore what minority views are rather that vent rage at the apostates. In pretty much the same way that the government ignores ruling of Supreme Court when inconvenient.

        By the way of contrast, if the court orders in the rare cases ruled favorably for Palestinians were obeyed, you could get a breakdown of the ruling coalition or may be worse.

        The Daniel, with whom I do not have any disagreements, inject an aphorism that simple makes no sense to me.

        I also made clear that laws are not created by Goddess Temis but by a highly fallible human institution. Legal and just are not synonymous. Nevertheless, it is bizarre for the state to ostentaciously break laws.

  8. DICKERSON3870
    April 26, 2012, 6:07 pm

    RE – “Israeli police to activist reciting names of destroyed Palestinian villages: If you keep reading you will be arrested”

    MY COMMENT: Das ist verboten!

    • Talkback
      April 27, 2012, 9:57 am

      Imagine Jews were arrested in Germany for reading the names of Holocaust victims on Germany’s national day. Or Germany wouldn’t fund the commemoration of this victims and delete the word “Holocaust” from school books. What flag would you expect to see waving?

  9. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich
    April 26, 2012, 6:25 pm

    Is this the same country that has laid claim to the copywrong of the words ‘holocaust + antisemitism C, R, TM as in need of laws to protect it?

  10. ToivoS
    April 27, 2012, 12:50 am

    That was one impressive demonstration. I was struck by the Golani brigate guy who was promising death to the demonstrators. Israel is coming unglued. Soon Jews will not just be killing Arabs, they will be killing each other. And the US is dedicated to going to war with these nuts. One big wow!

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