Well known Israeli activist Jeff Halper said he was briefly detained by police in the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement and that he believed it was because they suspected him of activity relating to the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment Movement.
Halper, who immigrated to Israel from the US in 1973, heads the left-wing Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.
Last Wednesday Halper had taken a group of British tourists to see Ma’aleh Adumim and to discuss problems related to Israeli settlement activity. He had traveled with the group on their bus and they had dropped him off so he could board an Egged bus to Jerusalem. Just before the bus left the settlement it was stopped by police officers, who entered the bus and asked him to get off with them, Halper said.
The officers put him in their patrol car and drove in the direction of the police station, but then stopped and asked him to get out, Halper said. They asked him to take out all the material he had in his bag, such as the maps and the information he had for the group he had just led, Halper said.
The officers spread the papers on the hood of the car and “photographed each one,” he said.
“It was strange. You think they would do it in the police station,” Halper said.
When he asked the officers were doing this, “they mumbled something about BDS,” Halper said. “They filled out some kind of a form and then they let me go,” he said. The officers refused to give him a copy of the report or even a receipt, he said.
Halper said he went back to the police station the next day and asked for a copy of report, but was still denied the information.
“It’s like the Trump world – everything is turned on its head,” said Halper, referring to US President Donald Trump. “Israel is getting to be [Justice Minister] Ayelet Shaked country,” he said.
Harper said that he had not spoken about BDS with the group, but that he had BDS material in his bag. He later sent The Jerusalem Post a photograph of himself with a sign, that he had with him on Wednesday as well as a photograph of the officers going through his bag and another of them standing by the police car.
“BDS4BDS is a slogan I made up for where we should be going in our struggle for a just peace. BDS is fine, but its a tool not connected to an end-game — and we have to formulate an end-game now that the two-state solution is gone. So the slogan is: Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions FOR a Bi-national, Democratic State,” Halper said.
The topic of BDS is matter of free speech and should not even be an issue, Halper said. He imagined that the police came because someone in Ma’aleh Adumim saw him talking to the group and reported it.
But the police’s response should have been, “so what, this is a democracy,” he said. A police spokeswoman said he had been briefly detained in the field for inspection and then released.
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