These are harsh times. The Israeli government is running around like a Sheikh_Raed_Salahpyromaniac having an attack, daily masterminding a new plot how to inflame the region. So I decided to write down this funny little story which may help calm the situation a bit.

During a spate of murderous attacks on the Gaza Strip, in the last days of 2008, Abna el-Balad movement (a leftist Palestinian movement operating inside the Green Line) called a demonstration in front of the Egyptian Embassy. We wanted to protest the participation of Egypt in the siege imposed on the strip.

The police decided to do everything in its power to prevent the demonstration. They even arrested the bus driver who was supposed to drive the protesters from Haifa. Nevertheless, several dozen protesters arrived at Basel Street in north Tel Aviv where the embassy is located. A large scale police contingent awaited the protesters and prevented us from approaching the embassy building. The cops told us to move to a square next to a shopping center nearby, which we did.

Although it was a relatively quiet vigil which did not violate any law, fifteen minutes later, the police moved in and attacked the demonstrators. The cops began beating demonstrators while calling on them to disperse. (There had been no previous instruction to disperse.) Five protesters were arrested and some were brutally beaten up even after their detention.

The protesters were released the next day in court, but they were later indicted for “rioting”.

The amusing bit, however, came during the court’s proceeding when a senior police officer described to the judge what happened, as the police understood it. He explained that the police arrived to disperse a demonstration organized by the Islamic Movement. When asked how did he knew that it was an Islamic Movement protest, he told the court that the police had prior intelligence information that the Islamic movement was planning a demonstration at the site.

The defense lawyer made it difficult for the officer and asked him if the demonstration that he actually saw seemed like a demonstration of the court_hearing_policemen_on_Arab_demos_EnglishIslamic Movement. She asked about such thing as the demonstrators dress style and the fact that some of them were Jewish. The officer said that it is well-known that when the Islamic Movement organizes a demonstration, all the Arabs turn up: Communists, Balad, Meretz – the whole lot.

By this time the judge couldn’t restrain himself anymore. He apologized to the accused for the intrusion and asked their permission to ask them what their religion was. Two of them identified themselves as Christians and one woman said she is an atheist.

If you are concerned for our friends in the dock – Well, following a mighty legal effort, the defense lawyer managed to force the police to show the court the video record taken by a police photographer. It clearly showed that the officers attacked the protesters for no reason. The defendants were acquitted and the judge reprimanded the police.

Now, that the Islamic Movement has been outlawed, the police would have a good legal cause to attack anti-war demonstrations and to silence any voice condemning racism or occupation. After all, in the final analysis, we are all Islamic Movement.

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The post above was published in Hebrew in Haifa HaHofshit (Free Haifa in Hebrew) on November 17, 2015. On this day the Israeli Apartheid government decided to outlaw the Islamic Movement – the biggest political and social movement by which Palestinian Arabs in the ’48 occupied territories organize to defend their rights. By this act the occupation tore the mask from upon its own ugly face and ridiculed the fake claim that Arab people here are “Citizens” in a “Jewish-Democratic Israel”.

It was translated by Sol Salbe of the Middle East News Service, Melbourne, Australia – thank him for that.

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First They Came

Pastor Martin Niemoller

First they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Communist

 

Then they came for the Socialists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Socialist

 

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist

 

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew

 

Then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak out for me.