Arrested for Post Zionism

Posted: March 24th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, racism, The Left, The Right | Tags: , , , , , , | 18 Comments »
Chappell and Mrti after their release from prison (AP)

Chappell and Mrti after their release from prison (AP)

Pay close attention to this item. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s an important one:

Two international activists, Ariadna Jove Marti (from Spain) and Bridgette Chappell (Australia), who are living in Bir Zeit in the West Bank (it’s near Ramallah, and well within the Palestinian Autonomy), were arrested by the IDF last month. The two were about to be expelled from Israel, and as it happens in most cases, they appealed against the decision to the Israel Supreme Court.

As Chaim Levinson reports in Haaretz, while trying to defend the arrests and deportation, the state argued before the court that the two activists

…belong to the International Solidarity Movement, an organization “that supports an ideology that is anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian and universally revolutionary.”

There are two precedents here, and I can’t overstate their importance:

A. The main charge against the activists had nothing to do with national security, but with the ideas they expressed (the state even presented before the court quotes taken from an internet site!). The “crime” involved words, not actions.

It is, to the best of my knowledge, the first (but certainly not last) attempt to present critic of Zionism or support for the Palestinian cause as illegal, and what’s even worse is that the actual arrest was carried out not by police and under orders from the state attorney, but by the army.

It takes a very flexible definition of democracy to describe a regime which makes questioning the dominant ideology a criminal offense.

B. The arrest of the two activists took place in the Palestinian Autonomy’s territory (area A according to the Oslo agreement). Israel often claims that the situation in the West Bank cannot be labeled as Apartheid, since the Palestinians have their own state-like entity. But as we saw in this case (as well as in others), Israel does not respect this autonomy, and its security forces are acting freely within the Palestinian towns and villages, even in cases which have nothing to do with Israeli national security.


This time, the court was very critical of the “evidence” presented by the state, and it ruled that it will hear the two activists’ plea. However, as we have come to know in the past, courts cannot hold for a long time against government or security forces’ policies. If the current trends continue, we are not that far from a day in which questioning Zionism might lead to imprisonment – something which was unthinkable not that long ago.

I really don’t think people are aware enough of what’s going on in Israel right now. The rise of racism, the rapid escalation in human rights, the attacks on freedom of speech, the campaign against human rights activists – this is a country on a very dangerous path. As Taayush’s Amos Goldberg wrote in Haaretz a few days ago, It is happening here and now.

18 Comments on “Arrested for Post Zionism”

  1. 1 mira said at 12:28 pm on March 24th, 2010:

    Without freedom of (political) speech, there is no democracy.

    (I only qualify that because the US is seeing an increase in hate speech and death threats against politicians and others. Incitment to violence is not protected speech.)

    I will repost, thanks.

  2. 2 Jesse Bacon said at 8:08 pm on March 24th, 2010:
    We covered this as well at The Only Democracy?, thanks for spreading the word and getting to the heart of why it is so troubling.

  3. 3 Alex said at 4:56 am on March 25th, 2010:

    The new wave of anti-dissent measures taken by the state is extremely disturbing. It doesn’t seem to be heading anywhere good. One ray of light I know about is this website which features a lot of new, eclectic Jewish voices. A far cry from the monochrome version of Jewry that the likes of Bibi & Co want to show the world!

  4. 4 Ami Kaufman said at 7:33 am on March 25th, 2010:

    And “universally revolutionary”! How dare they set foot in the Holy Land!

    Jeez, you’re right Noam – I honestly think people have no clue how bad things are here.

  5. 5 Walter said at 11:37 am on March 25th, 2010:

    It’s a mess .
    how desperate these people are in claiming other peoples land and lifes for their grief and
    rotten dreams.

  6. 6 ניב said at 12:30 pm on March 25th, 2010:

    נועם ועמי זה באמת חשוב להסביר על התהליכים האלה, רק חבל שאתם מסברים אותם החוצה במקום פנימה. ככה אולי תקבלו בלוג משלכם בהאפינגטון פוסט ותמצאו חן ותשכנעו, ולאלה שקוראים תתנו סיפור טוב וחומר טוב לצקצק עליו, ולאלה שפועלים נגד מדינת ישראל תתנו חומר טוב לפגוע בי ובשאר האזרחים בחרמות ובסנקציות חסרות פרופורציה נוספות. אם אתם רוצה לשנות משהו תדברו אל האזרחים, תחנכו, תקימו תנועה. אם אתם חושבים שבני הלאום שלכם בדרך לגזענות ואין דבר שאתם יכולים לומר להם או לעשות כדי לעצור את התהליך הזה, אז בשביל מה בעצם?

  7. 7 ניב said at 12:58 pm on March 25th, 2010:

    And may I add for our dear english readers, that the writer gave partial information and distorts the full picture to support his new theory about what he describe as “precedents”.

    Right after the quote the writer chose to add here, the report continues with this:

    “The state maintained: “The activists’ organization are involved in activities against the security forces in areas of friction in Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem.”"

    So there are actions involved, and not only thoughts and political views. Yes, even nice young european girls can act illegaly. And asking them to pay a price is a part of democracy.

  8. 8 ניב said at 1:02 pm on March 25th, 2010:

    והסיבה שבגללה נשמעתי אחרת לגמרי כשכתבתי בעברית היא בדיוק אותה סיבה שבגללה אתם צריכים להישמע אחרת. את הבעיות של החברה הישראלית אפשר לפתור רק בפעולה פנימה. הפעולה החוצה רק מוסיפה לתהליכי הפירוק. אבל זה לא מעניין אתכם בטח

  9. 9 spam-checker said at 1:46 pm on March 25th, 2010:

    Oooh , come on the reputation of this fabrication is going south, if you know what I mean.

  10. 10 Walter said at 1:56 pm on March 25th, 2010:

    said wrote:
    The state maintained: “The activists’ organization are involved in activities against the security forces in areas of friction in Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem.

    you forgot to mention : it’s the holy land , and their represantatives have therefor
    to be respected and beloved by everyone, inside and outside this country.

  11. 11 noam said at 5:39 pm on March 25th, 2010:

    Niv: the state chose to add “anti Zionism” to the charges against the girls – and even presented “evidence” to that matter. The court ruled that there was nothing indicating a threat to national security. So I think your quote (which I linked to) does not change my basic claim: that it was a case involving intentions and ideology, not actions.

    As for your demand that I write in Hebrew, rather than in English – my goal is not to convince Israelis, but rather to end the occupation.

  12. 12 YaelG said at 11:49 pm on March 26th, 2010:

    Wasn’t Zionism once defined as a universal revolutionary movement, by it’s own people? ;)
    Great piece, thanks N

  13. 13 Ami Kaufman said at 7:47 am on March 27th, 2010:

    אז עכשיו גם לכתוב בהאפינגטון פוסט זה אסור?
    ממש בוגד נהייתי, אה? מלשין על המדינה… גועל נפש.

    כמו נועם, אין לי שום כוונה לשכנע ישראלים. המטרה שלי היא לסיים את הכיבוש – וכמה שיותר מהר. אני מרגיש שהכתיבה שלי באנגלית תורמת לכך יותר מוויכוחי סרק בעברית…

  14. 14 Diane Gee said at 5:13 pm on March 28th, 2010:

    I would lover permission to reprint this on my blog, or better yet, hope you would consider cross posting it.


    Diane Gee

  15. 15 Ziva Appelbaum said at 5:30 am on March 29th, 2010:

    You praise the Israeli zionist courts as if protect people and defy military decisions.
    I beg to differ with you on this point.Israeli courts are part of the zionist state apparatus.
    On major issues they always rule in favor of the government (The appartheid wall – ignoring the international court decision) but in minor cases, such as the one you described ,where it is evident beyond any doubt that no “security” issues are involved
    they may critisize and rule against the IDF thus allowing Israel claim the cliche “The only democracy in the middle east”.

  16. 16 noam said at 6:18 am on March 30th, 2010:

    Ziva: where is it that you got the impression I’m praising the court?

  17. 17 Happy and Proud said at 8:18 pm on March 31st, 2010:

    The ISM has absolutely been a security concern for Israel. ISM “activists” admittedly sheltered a wanted terrorist and have aided terrorists in illegally entering Israel.

    In one case, two British citizens who illegally entered with the help of the ISM blew up Mike’s Pub in Tel Aviv, a place where Jews and Arabs mixed freely, and murdered three people. It is suspected that Mike’s was chosen precisely because it ‘normalized’ relationships between Arabs and Jews.

    The goal of the ISM to destroy the Jewish state irregardless of the danger to its citizens. I have no sympathy for it or its supporters. And if the PA is unwilling to respond to dangers in its own territory, the Israelis will do it for them.

  18. 18 noam said at 11:10 pm on March 31st, 2010:

    H&P – you are completely missing the point here. If all you say is true, than the case against the activists should have been about aiding terrorism. but the state – not me – chose to claim in court that the reason for the arrests was ideology, not security.