Wednesday, May 20, 2009


"Whoever brings his head will be very highly regarded in the settlements,"
-Israeli attorney Yael Barda, commenting on human rights activist Ezra Nawi

Ezra Nawi does not fall neatly into any categories. His family comes from Iraq and he is fluent in Arabic, but he is a Jewish Israeli. He's also gay. For money he's a plumber, otherwise he's a human rights activist with the joint Jewish-Arab group Ta'ayush, and in July he is set to become a prisoner for "assaulting a policemen" in this 2007 incident.

Nawi's case is a perfect example of how repressive governments subordinate justice to politics. The video of the incident clearly shows criminal activity, but not on the part of Nawi who is attempting to defend a family from having their home demolish by Israeli soldiers who taunt both Nawi and the family, laughing at their suffering. This is the story of a prisoner of conscience, one man who is ready to sacrifice not only the privileges that come from being Jewish in a state that advantages one ethnic group against others, it is the story of a man who is ready to sacrifice even his freedom struggling against the existence of those privileges. Nawi repudiated his privileges to stand in solidarity with the oppressed, with the marginalized, and with the weak. Now the world must stand in solidarity with Nawi. The whole world, especially the United States, must know that Nawi is a political prisoner in his own nation, the Middle East's only democracy, for the crime of peacefully joining with the victims of militarism and racism.

For more about the campaign to help Nawi click here.

To view a Ha'aretz article about Nawi's human rights work near Hebron click here.

1 comment:

nindee said...

Ezra's letter