On April 2, 2011, Weizmann Institute’s Kobi Snitz wrote a letter in request for funding of activities (see below), where he claimed that Anarchists Against the Wall founding member Yonatan Pollak has served a three-month prison sentence for riding a bicycle in Tel Aviv. He also claimed that he was imprisoned several months ago, alongside Adi Winter and Oshra Bar. Snitz claimed that there is a well-orchestrated campaign to stop Anarchists Against the Wall activities in the West Bank. According to Snitz, “scores of legal indictments were issued against us” in order to “undermine our activities by filing more and more indictments.”
However, according to the Jerusalem Post, Yonatan Pollak was given a NIS 1,500 fine for partaking in an illegal assembly that was protesting the Gaza siege in January 2008 on bicycles. It was not like Pollak was convicted for leisurely riding a bicycle, as Snitz falsely implied. This conviction had activated a three-month suspended sentence that he had received previously in 2007 for partaking in another illegal demonstration against the Security Barrier, where the Tel Aviv Magistrate Court ruled that if he partook in another illegal demonstration within the next two years, it would be considered a violation of his probation and a three-month prison sentence would take effect. During his trial, Pollak turned down an offer by the presiding judge to do community service in lieu of paying the fine, claiming that it wasn’t necessarily a lighter sentence and would require his cooperation in the proceedings against him. After his sentence, Pollak refused to pay the NIS 1,500 fine and thus was given the three-month prison sentence that the previous court ruled that he would have for violating the terms of his probation. Thus, given this background, Pollak has no one else to blame for his three-month sentence but himself!
It is important to note that Snitz has spread similar lies about his own prison sentence. Snitz has claimed that he was ordered to serve 20 days in prison because he interfered with a military order to demolish a Palestinian home in the village of Kharbatha, which is located West of Ramallah. However, in reality, Snitz was given the sentence of paying a small sum of NIS 2,000 fine, not too much for a mathematician at the Weizmann Institute, yet Snitz decided to refuse to pay his fine and thus was ordered to spend 20 days in prison.
Just like Pollak, Snitz chose serving time in prison!
As for Snitz’s accusation that there is an orchestrated campaign against Anarchists against the Wall, the only reason why there might be a movement on the part of the Israeli government to clamp down upon AATW is because they are known as a group that constantly breaks the law. According to the Anarchists against the Wall website, AATW works as part of a “joint popular struggle against the occupation” and claims that their groups raison d’être is to “physically oppose the bulldozers, the army, and the occupation.” AATW does not seem to care if such physical opposition implies illegal assemblies, interfering with IDF orders, attempts to physically tear down the Security Barrier, and even partaking in political demonstrations where Palestinians engage in violent rock-throwing against IDF soldiers. Thus, if there is an orchestrated campaign to file charges against AATW members, it is only because of their illegal activities!
Weizmann Institute should have been more careful with the people it chooses to employ.
I am writing to ask for your help. You might have heard that Yonatan Pollak has recently served a 3 month prison sentence for riding a bicycle in Tel-Aviv. Several months ago I was imprisoned and so were Adi Winter and Oshra Bar.
These sentences are part of a well-orchestrated effort to stop our activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. When beating and detaining us did not stop our resistance, scores of legal indictments were issued against us. Currently, about 60 indictments are still standing. None of the human rights NGOs in Israel are representing us, and so Gaby Lasky, our brilliant and dedicated lawyer, has taken on the cause and we pay her a relatively small retainer fee. This not only includes representing us in court, but also releasing activists who have been detained, sometimes in the middle of the night.
We have no office, no paid staff, and no fund raiser. The state knows that legal representation costs money and is using the fact that we do not have funding resources to undermine our activities by filing more and more indictments. We have consequently decided to try to undercut this strategy by asking people to contribute a recurring donation of $5 or $10 a month. Our objective is to reach $2,500 per month to cover the legal fees and thus to ensure that all our activists receive good representation when they need it. Donations (which are tax deductible in the US) can be made through our website http://awalls.org/donations. Please consider lending a hand.
All the best,
P.O. Box 5046
Tel-Aviv, TA 61050