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Jewish-American Teen Roughed-Up, Harrassed and Arrested by Israel for Voicing Solidarity with Palestinians

June 10, 2011

Israeli democracy, huh? Where speaking is a crime?

This is really incredible. This apparently took place on “Jersusalem Day,” where crowds of Israelis were chanting “death to Arabs” among other nice, moderate slogans.

The young man is 19-year old Lucas Koerner, a student at Tufts University. I don’t recall any press at the State Dept. press briefings asking about this. Yet when an American is arrested in almost any other country in the Middle East, they doggedly pursue it.

This is Koerner’s blog where he describes what happened. Here is an excerpt:

Suddenly, the police moved in without warning of any kind. Officers on horseback came so close to the sidewalk, nearly hitting some of the demonstrators. I stepped down from the pylon. In that instant, my impulse to flee was counteracted by the firm realization that, standing on a sidewalk waving a peace sign, I had every right to be there, and if I fled, who would stand with the Palestinians? I stepped back up on the pylon. Moments later, an Israeli police officer ran up, seized me, and dragged me to the other side of the street. He then punched me in the face, put me in a choke hold, and with four other officers, slammed me to the ground. I was eventually handcuffed and carried to the car; I allowed my body to go limp and refused to walk on my own in a gesture of nonviolent defiance. Throughout the whole affair, the only thing audible coming from the policemen was a constant stream of curses words, “motherfucker”, “piece of shit”, etc., which was to me a ringing confirmation of how infuriated and threatened they were by a 19-year old wearing a kippah and a keffiyeh standing with the Palestinians.

His blog says that his next blog post will be about his experience in the Israeli jail.

Now keep in mind, if this is how the Israeli authorities publicly treat a young American citizen who happens to be Jewish, imagine how they treat the Palestinians behind closed doors.

26 Comments leave one →
  1. Thain permalink
    June 10, 2011 1:18 pm

    That’s incredible. I have a lot of respect for this Lucas Koerner dude. I’d join him in a heartbeat. He’s very brave. Thanks for the link to his blog, I’ll definitely follow it and I’m going to try to find him on Twitter.

    Where’s the US media? Losers. Paging Ethan Bronner or Isabel Kershner, both of whom live [part of the time] in occupied Jerusalem!

    Our media just plug their ears, slam their eyes closed and keep repeating to themselves, “It’s all gonna be ok….deep breath, Israel is Jewish and Democratic, Jewish and Democratic, Jewish and Democratic, Jewish and Democratic, Jewish and Democratic” in the hopes the truth will never come out and they can just wish this apartheid away.

    In other news today in Palestine: Nabi Saleh is under attack by the IDF as we speak. About 100 people showed up for nonviolent protests there is massive use of gas cannisters, IDF shot at a BBC reporter, Israel not letting ambulances into the town to take out the wounded.

    Israeli activist Joseph Dana is on the ground in Nabi Saleh right now and live-tweeting. He’s @ibnezra on Twitter

  2. Pilgrim permalink
    June 10, 2011 1:31 pm

    Stacyx, I join Thain in thanking you for the piece above and the link to the Koerner blog.

    Your final paragraph is incisive.

    I am always pleased with what you put up about the Palestine problems.

    I’ve just finished viewing the 2006 film “The Iron Wall.” Heartbreaking. How anyone can deny it is apartheid happening there, I do not understand.

    • June 10, 2011 2:21 pm

      Thank you Pilgrim.

      In other news, a Likud member of the Knesset proposes a bill that would require all of Jerusalem’s [Arab] neighborhoods, street names to be changed to Hebrew:

      “In our battle for Jerusalem, it is important that we recognize the historic Hebrew roots of the city,” Hotovely told The Jerusalem Post. “Neighborhoods in Jerusalem, mostly in the city’s east, are called by their Arabic names,” Hotovely explained, “but most of the Arab names are based on historic Hebrew names. The Arabic names distance us from our roots.””

      Nope, nothing provocative there! Notice they are talking about occupied E. Jerusalem (of course). At the very least, I expect Jewish people to realize (remember?) the invidious nature of erasing an entire people’s culture and placing them in the margins of history.

      I simply cannot get over how the media ignores all of this. Maybe if people knew about this they would understand why at this very moment, there are Palestinians- unarmed- risking their lives protesting against the Occupation and this constant provocation by the Israelis. It drives me CRAZY.

      Thain– Joseph Dana (@ibnezra)is an amazing source of on the ground news in the West Bank. I’ve been keeping an eye on his tweets today when I have a spare moment. It’s so refreshing to see actual journalists and activists providing information from inside the West Bank as opposed to lazy jerks like Ethan Bronner of the NYT, who sit at their desk and get all their information over the telephone from the Israeli Ministry of Gov. Affairs.

      I want to go to the West Bank. Micah won’t let me 😦

      • walt kovacs permalink
        June 11, 2011 10:03 pm

        hey stacy

        i would like to invite you on one of my excursions to downtown tj

        lets go and hassle some cops…and then refuse to show our passports and see what happens

        ever spent time in a mexican jail?

        they would love your leftist tuchus there

        • Soot permalink
          December 12, 2011 9:57 am

          Walt you dumb plank this kid didn’t “hassle” any cops. He was merely standing there shouting (very quietly, I might add) about the oppression of Palestinian people by the armed Israeli forces. Whether or not you agree with his opinions is irrelevant. The point is in a supposed “democracy” this foolish kid got arrested for nothing more than voicing his unpopular opinion peacefully.

          Maybe the issue is your definition of “democracy”. I think you’d be more at home in a Soviet gulag. I’m sure you’d work your way up to prison guard soon enough. And by the sounds of it, you’d enjoy it very much.

  3. Seamus permalink
    June 10, 2011 2:36 pm

    Thanks for this post Stacy. That video is incredible. You are right- that they do this with cameras rolling means that what they do behind the scenes is probably terrible.

    That kid is 19? He looks about 15. I give him a lot of credit for speaking out and setting an example for other younger Jewish kids. We need more of this.

    BTW, I’m proud to say that here in N. Ireland we support the Palestinian statehood campaign 100% In fact, it would be controversial if a politician didn’t support it. Pretty different than what you blokes face over there in the States.

    Yes- regarding Twitter- there are some great activists and investigative journalists who are on the ground in the West Bank, Gaza etc. providing minute by minute coverage of what goes on. They are definitely worth following. Forget the NYT- I wouldn’t wipe my bum with it. Sorry.

    In other very important news– did you hear Wills and Kate are looking for a domestic servant/dresser? Undresser? Pick me, pick me! I’m applying although the fact that I’m Northern Irish probably makes me a no-go for the job, you know ’cause we’re all terrorists. Hey, it’s not MY FAULT dad and grandpa were IRA/Sein Fein!

    • walt kovacs permalink
      June 10, 2011 7:32 pm

      too bad the brits didnt finish off you fitlhy irish bastards

      • Thain permalink
        June 10, 2011 9:04 pm

        So, Mr. Kovacs, what is your ethnicity or nationality or religion? Would it be appropriate/mature to say that a particular group should have finished off you “filthy ___[fill in the blank] bastards?” of course not. If you were jewish you would cry antisemitism and if you were black you’d cry racism. But it’s ok when YOU spread the hate? Hypocrisy much?

        And Koerner wasn’t arrested b/c he was doing anything illegal- he just showed up at the extremist’s White Shirt rally as did thousands of White Shirts did- he was arrested because they didn’t like his message and b/c he was getting attention. Once you decide you really want to arrest someone it doesn’t take much to find a reason.

        So, you can rationalize it by saying it was “illegal” but we all know that that’s what repressive regimes do/say to give them an excuse to silence opposition. Koerner posed no threat and The Israeli authorities were just showing their true colors.

        • walt kovacs permalink
          June 11, 2011 9:49 pm

          im a quarter irish, and my drunken, child molesting grandfather….was a right bastard

          feel better now?

          did you even wonder why they video cuts out???

          well here is why…your hero…the pin head lucas, and his buddies…attempted to assault the police on horseback

          you are all the willing dupes of pallywood

          he posed a threat…attempted to start a riot and assault police…got his ass handed to him…and got kicked right out of the country

          lucky he didnt try this crap in egypt…they woulda shot his ass

      • Seamus permalink
        June 11, 2011 8:42 am

        Walt’s an anger bear.

        That’s not very nice to invoke genocide against others, Walt. You’ve hurt my feelings. Not.

        Ever notice it’s always the people that wear their own victimhood on their sleeve as a badge of honor and justification for everything are now the first to call for the death of others?

        Fascism much?

  4. walt kovacs permalink
    June 10, 2011 7:31 pm

    lucas is a member of the ism

    he refused to show an officer of the law his passport or any id, and engaged in an illegal demonstration, after being asked to leave the area

    foreign nationals have to have a visa to enter israel…part of that visa includes promising to behave oneself…he didnt…and was arrested and deported

    and brave? what was the first thing he said to the officers….IM GONNA CALL MY CONSULATE…WAAAAAAA

    stupid punk kid

    • Soot permalink
      December 12, 2011 10:18 am

      lucas is a member of the ism

      No, I’m pretty sure this kid is paramilitary from Latin America. But he was trained by the British Secret Service.He had a small stint as an agent called 007. Apparently, he had a licence to kill, as well.

      and brave? what was the first thing he said to the officers….IM GONNA CALL MY CONSULATE…WAAAAAAA

      Yeah that must have been cowardly for this 100lb short kid to face-off against 5 or 6 “brave” IDF fighters, all of whom outweighed him by 120lbs. And then consequently punched and kicked and choked him while he was cuffed and on the ground. I tell ya, it’s chutzpah like that which makes the rest of us stand back and admire the lion-hearted Israelis.

  5. elhrac permalink
    June 10, 2011 9:18 pm

    Unfortunately, it is incidents like this that reinforce the stereotype of the “Ugly American”. Why can’t someone explain to this young man that there are certain standards of behavior when you are a guest in someone else’s country?

    • June 10, 2011 9:46 pm

      Oh yes- its so impolite to attend a rally and disagree with the people yelling “death to Arabs” and “mohammed is dead.” Also Be sure to let human rights activists that go to different countries like China, Egypt, Libya etc. know to not be impolite when speaking out against human rights abuses there either!

      Unbelievable. And I wonder why nothing ever changes?!?

      Oh, and Koerner is Jewish so isn’t Israel his historic homeland? So maybe he’s not so much a guest.

      Weren’t you the one claiming in a comment yesterday that none of us care about those people?

      • elhrac permalink
        June 11, 2011 12:51 am

        I’m not sure what you mean by “human rights activists” that go to Libya. Maybe you are referring to the bombers that Hitlery sends every night to bomb people in Tripoli?

        • June 11, 2011 2:29 am

          I’ll ignore your 3rd grade play on words.

          I’ll also ignore everything you write here b/c your “name” sounded familiar so I looked back at your other comments on this site and you’re basically a troll.

          If you don’t like Clinton that’s you’re right, but how about you move along now?

  6. stacyx permalink*
    June 11, 2011 8:59 am

    Everything that’s wrong with the US-mediated peace process is summed up in that article. The US wants total control of it in order to ensure that the party that already has all the power, Israel, has an added unfair advantage with the US acting as their attorneys. Notice the State Dept. says the French proposal didn’t have certain things “we” wanted- by “we” the State Dept means Israel and the US. That’s not mediation, it’s advocacy for one side.

    So, the US has killed an attempt to jump start the peace process b/c France might actually be an honest broker and Israel doesn’t want that. Notice also that the State Dept. has adopted Bibi’s Likud talking points wholesale.

    I really thought Hillary and Obama were willing to think outside the box and do whatvwas necessary to achieve peace but I was wrong. They are just like every other administration, more worried about appeasing the I Lobby than standing up for universal values. This is exactly why the Palestinians are going to the UN. As we speak the State Dept. and WH are threatening the Palestinians with harsh consequences if they do. Nice.

    Clearly this admin. doesn’t get the whole Arab Spring thing

    • walt kovacs permalink
      June 11, 2011 9:50 pm


      name one arab democracy created by the so called arab spring


      times up



      • Soot permalink
        December 12, 2011 10:06 am

        Walt, name one Jewish democracy. No, I mean real ones.

  7. Tovah permalink
    June 11, 2011 1:46 pm

    This sort of campaign would certainly get the message across that racism is racism:

    The idea that racism is ok simply because the people promoting it have a long history of being discriminated against, is rather ironic as Seamus, Thain and others point out above.

    There are now an increase in settler price-tag attacks on Palestinians but it goes totally unreported in the US media. I never used to notice the bias before but now I can’t read an article in the MSM without realizing how one-sided it is. It’s almost like our media is afraid that if most Americans realized what we were supporting and how much taxpayer money was going to uphold the Occupation, then people would demand a stop to it. As a Jew I’m afraid of a backlash against the Jewish community which is why I can’t stand when other Jews try to sell the idea that disagreement with Israel = antisemitism because or that the word Israel is synonymous with the word “Jew” because I don’t want to be associated with right wing, racist policies.

    • walt kovacs permalink
      June 11, 2011 10:01 pm

      lol…the mondoweiss people are concerned about other jews???

      the above just made a funny

  8. June 11, 2011 10:16 pm

    Yeah, because democracies only take a few months to build after decades and decades of dictatorship. I mean, they should just sprout up automatically like pretty flowers despite almost no political organization, no control of the armed forces and no control over agencies and no access to the most ucrative businesses, which were run by cronies of the military and dictators.

    As for Koerner, he was targeted for his speech, period. The police started harrassing him b/c of what he was saying and wearing. He was talking about justice, they ( the White Shirts) were yelling insults. The fact that he wasn’t cooperative afterword doesn’t change the fact that the folks screaming “death to Arabs” are the real problem and had Koerner been screaming hateful epithets like they were and had he not been wearing a Palestinian flag the police would have ignored him and found someone else to rough up. Civil disobedience is by definition provocative. The only reason to silence his speech is b/c they are afraid of it.

    The only threat he posed was the threat of showing the world the truth.

    Have a nice night.

  9. November 26, 2011 6:08 am

    Why do Americans think that their consulate is going to rescue them when ever they get in trouble in another country? They all think the CIA or Chuck Norris is going to rescue them, even when they act like total fools. Look at that chick in Italy that is being tried again for murder. Should the CIA rush in and rescue the killer? He held up his passport like it is a force field. Arrogance only makes the cops angrier. This would happen in any country. No one bother the Sec of State with this please.

    • Soot permalink
      December 12, 2011 10:12 am

      Mike, he got “arrested” because he got on their nerves. He got on their nerves because he was in support of the Pali’s – not because they were geniunely concerned this 100lb Jewish kid who looks like a girl was any type of security threat. It’s just what it is – another example of heavy-handed tactics by the Israelis.

  10. January 5, 2012 3:24 am

    bench jacken kids
    Fine post, I must say i await posts of your stuff.

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