28 thoughts on “IDF Arrests Jenin Freedom Theater Actor, Audience Now Awaits Godot…and Pozzo – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. The spelling is wrong – it’s Pozzo, not Pozo. And he’s definitely not the lead character in the play. In a play with only 5 characters, every role is important, but still – why exaggerate?

    This arrest is outrageous enough as it is.

    1. @ Anyn
      You didn’t even read the article, did you ? Nor the extract from the press release. There’s even a blue link to the Freedom Theater’s own website.
      Well, it says: “This is devastating. Rami is playing the MAIN ROLE in Waiting for Godot ….” says Udi Aloni.
      What do you know that Udi Aloni doesn’t know ? We’re all ears.

      1. Pozzo is definitely not “the main role” in Waiting for Godot.

        If he was indeed playing Pozzo then he wasn’t playing the main role.

        The main roles are Vladimir and Estragon.

        Anyone who has read or seen the play knows that.

        Perhaps a bad translation?

        1. @ Bob Mann
          Why don’t you guys just click on the blue link in Richard’s article: it takes you directly to the press release by the Freedom Theater in English, stating that Rami is playing the MAIN ROLE. Udi Aloni, by the way the son of Shulamit Aloni, says so and he’s the director.
          What do I know ? You’ve never heard of anything called artistic freedom ? Maybe they adapted the play to Palestine. Maybe the IDF changed the press release on the website, including ‘main role’, knowing that some commenters on Tikun Olam would find that more important than the arrest of the actor, the raid a couple of weeks ago, the general oppression of cultural activities in Palestine….
          Maybe you could contact the IDF to get further informations …en attendant Godot.

        2. Wow, you’re a literary critic too. I’m impressed.

          The IDF already arrested Vladimir & Estragon. Pozzo was the only main role they hadn’t yet nabbed. They’re still looking for Godot. And I bet they find him. As for Beckett, they’d be looking for him too if they didn’t have u, eminent literary critic that u are, to inform them that they can rest easy because Beckett’s been dead for a few decades. Some one also helped them along quite a bit in their project to torpedo the Theater by knocking off Juliano.

          I hear the Theater’s next project will be called Waiting for Juliano & Rami.

          1. The IDF arrested the actors playing Vladimir and Estragon? Is that true or was that meant in jest?

            Who do you think is responsible for killing Juliano?

            Why has no one yet been charged with the murder?

          2. It was meant in jest. Sorry but I couldn’t help myself. I wish I knew who was responsible. I can’t imagine anyone who’d hate this man enough to kill him. It’s like Martin Luther King or Gandhi. Who would do such a thing??

  2. “One has to begin to wonder whether given the army’s interest in undermining everything the Theater represents that the murder might have been commissioned or approved by the Shabak”
    Oh yes, no one can take that idea off my mind until the assassins have been found.
    According to Derfner, people who merely suggests that Israel is behind the murder of Juliano Mer-Khamis (and Vittorio Arrigoni, and the Fogel-family – which I understand better) are “ideologically insane” and the “left-wing equivalence of Geller, Pipes, and Glick”. Welcome into the club, Richard 🙂
    The idea of culture – the last space back for the Palestinians – as a weapon against the occupation is something Mer-Khamis mentions a lot, and he was thus just as dangerous to the State of Israel as other freedom fighters.

  3. I’m sure the arrest was just a good spot of fun on the part of the IDF, in a country that picks the wings off butterflies just for sport — which taking a lead dramatic character out of commission is. He’ll likely be released in a month with no charges ever laid, and they’ll have made the point that they have complete control over every aspect of Palestinians’ lives.

  4. In this post, you write:

    “When I heard of the arrests last week, I didn’t know what to think. But I presumed that they might have something to do with finding Mer-Khamis’ killer.”

    Yet, your post about the arrests last week, was introduced by the headline: “IDF War Against Palestinian Theater” and asserted that Israel was “criminalizing art and expression.”

    You do not make mention in that entire post that the arrests might have had something to do with finding Mer-Khamis’s killer.

    In fact, to the contrary, you wrote that given what happened to Mer-Khamis, these arrests
    were a “brutish insult from the Israeli authorities”.

    At no point in your post is there any suggestion that the arrests were part of an attempt to find Mer-Khamis’s killer (which is what you are now saying was your presumption at the time) – instead your post expounded on the idea that the arrests were related to the theatrical works being performed and Israel somehow feeling threatened by them or wanting to silence them for some reason.

    Why is it that now you claim that you presumed the arrests last week had something to do with finding Mer-Khamis’s killer but the post you made at the time makes no mention of these presumptions?

    1. Do u express publicly every idea or presumption that runs thru yr mind? I elder presume the answer to that is No. I’ve learned through unfortunate experience never to give Israel’s security services the benefit of the doubt unless clearly deserved. In this case, such trust certainly wasn’t warranted.

      Perhaps I should’ve phrased my statement then saying “one hopes based on the statements of pro-Israel commenter here that these arrests may have something to do w the investigation.

      At any rate, as far as I’m now concerned the arrests if they are part of an investigation, will be little more than a typical Shabak railroad/whitewash.

      I hope this clarifies things to yr satisfaction…

      1. Thanks – that is helpful.

        It didn’t come across in your earlier blog post that you believed the arrests may have had something to do with the murder.

        Your post on the subject seemed to be about Israel targeting the theater for other reasons.

        Who is actually in charge of investigating the murder? Is it the Israeli or Palestinian authorities? Or are they working together to solve the crime?

        1. It’s supposedly being jointly investigated with Palestinians having primary jurisdiction. But the Israelis took the nanny to Israel supposedly for her own protection, which presumed that Palestinians were considered the killers. So I don’t know if Israel is really running the show or not. I have very little hope his killers will be brought to justice; and if anyone is arrested I have strong doubts whether they will be the actual killers. I hope to be proven wrong. But…

  5. @RichardSilverstein and Readers of this Blog,
    I am willing to pay a lot of money for a video or audio recording/tape of any or all of the Freedom Theatre productions. I want to help by doing more than just contributing via PayPal.
    I have been an amateur actor involved in small theatre for the last thirty years and I would like to actively support the Freedom Theatre in the United States and if at all possible in Palestine by donating money, time, artistic effort, or otherwise in any other possible course of action.
    This is where the Pen will prove mightier than the Sword. I want to be there in body and soul to support these young Palestinian actors in their effort to bring to the fore the humanity of the Palestinian. Will someone tell me or list to me the specifics on how to do that? I have already contacted a person (the theatre representative) in New York but I have not heard from her again. I have also talked (by Skype) to one of the actors (unmanned here) in Jenin and fully understand and appreciate why she was afraid/terrified to speak freely. What is happening to these young kids is the worst of the worst and it makes me angry.
    Please HELP people like me to constructively channel our frustration and anger BY SHOWING US HOW TO GET ACTIVELY INVOLVED in supporting Freedom Theatre both in the US and in Palestine.
    May Heaven bless Palestine and its young actors and may Heaven lead Israel away from oppressive Zionism and towards the compassionate, virtuous, and lawful Judaism of time immemorial; away from Herzl and Jabotinsky and towards YHWH and the true religion of Moses.
    Thank you and Shalom/Salaam to one and all.

      1. thank you richard,
        i already support Freedom Theatre by giving an automatic monthly contribution through PayPal.
        thanks again.

        1. @jjcostandi

          There are many “Friends of the Freedom Theatre” around the world who are very active in promoting their tours abroad and make their work known. Maybe you could contact one of these groups to get further information in your area or how to start up your own group of “Friends”:
          As you seem very interested in their work, I’ll post this interview again with Juliano Mer-Khamis telling about the importance of the Theatre.

          I and others posted videos in the comments to the article by Richard after the killing of Mer-Khamis (the first blue link)

  6. The army has better things to do than harass theater actors. The truth is that the IDF doesn’t really care about the “Freedom Theater”, for good reason – there’s probably nothing going on there that endangers Israeli lives.

    Have you ever considered that the actor who was arrested was actually involved in illegal activities? You know, being a “peace activist” isn’t a shield against committing criminal acts. Take a look at Ezra Nawi, the Israeli peace activist who was found guilty of statutory rape of a Palestinian 15 year old.

    1. And Adnan Naghnaghiye, the manager, and Bilal Saadi, member of the board, who were arrested on the 27th of July, they were involved in illegal activities too ? Wonder what kind of illegal activities, except peaceful, cultural resistance to occupation. You think ALL three of them participated in that rape with your Israeli peace activist ?? Hm, didn’t think about it that way. Thanks for the enlightening.

    2. If the army has better things to do than harrass the Freedom Theater can you tell me why 50 IDF soldiers raided the Theater & took away two of its key staff, & then arrested one of the leading actors? Are they all selling hashish on the black market? Giving GPS locations for IDF missile batteries? Identifying for Hezbollah the girl friends of members of the IDF general staff?

      Ezra Nawi, the Israeli peace activist who was found guilty of statutory rape of a Palestinian 15 year old.

      I guess it is a criminal act for someone who is gay to have sex, isn’t it? Even Nawi concedes he made a mistake in having sex with someone who was underage. But are you telling me that no one in Israel, gay or straight, has had underage sex without going to jail? So in effect, this is selective prosecution, attacking Nawi both because he is Mizrahi, gay, a peace activist, and a damn pain in the ass to the Israeli authorities. Everyone who knows Ezra Nawi says he is a saint. If he’s a criminal then you’re a transvestite hooker. They’re both about as implausible.

      1. DY, ST:

        I have no idea why these people were arrested. Neither do you. What I do know is that the army simply doesn’t have the time or interest to harass the “Freedom Theater”. Do you think the Magad, Mahat, or even the Ramtkal sit in their offices, scheming of ways to shatter “Palestinian cultural resistance?” – that’s laughable. And now I read that you believe the Shabak was responsible for Julanio’s murder. I figured it was only a matter of time until some crackpot came up with that idea.

        Time will tell why these individuals were arrested. I am sure that whatever charges will be brought against them, you will say that it’s a conspiracy.

        As for Nawi, you’ve managed to defend a child rapist and accuse me of being a “whore”, charming. The child’s parents filed charges against Nawi, because he had intercourse with their child in their own home. If a weird-ass dude came into my house and had sex with my kid, I’d do everything in my power to have him arrested.

        In your eyes, if a person is anti-Israei, then it doesn’t matter how much raping or murder he does – he’s always innocent and any accusation him is an evil Zionist plot.

        But Yoav Even, on the other hand, having no charges brought against him – is a “rapist”.

        I am utterly serious now Richard – I truly believe that you are losing it.

        1. @ Izik
          Now I read that you believe the Shabak was responsible for Juliano’s murder”
          Richard wrote: “One has to begin to wonder whether ….the murder might have been commissioned or approved by Shabak” and I added “nobody can take that idea of my mind”.

          Personally, I think it’s a PLAUSIBLE idea that I don’t put aside which is of course miles away from your “you believe the Shabak was responsible for Juliano’s murder”.

          Concerning the underage sex affair and that peace activist: It’s just disgusting, and I don’t see how such a person could ever be welcomed back into a Palestinian community. Furthermore, a 15 years old boy in a traditional Beduin community is not a 15 years old in a Western megapole.
          I’ve had discussions with male chauvinist about such a case: a very well-known French social scientist who have written major contributions to the field, lived among Amerindians for decades, and it was apparently well-known among colleagues that he had sexual intercourse with many of the younger boys in the indigenous communities.
          A book came out a couple of years ago in the US, which described among other topics abuses by some Western social scientists and social workers against natives in the Amazon, that case was extensively described and without naming the person I deduced from the informations who it was. I asked older colleagues whether it was the person I though about, and whether they had ever heard of these rumours before. The general attitude among males where more or less: ‘Which male anthropologists didn’t have sex with the natives ?’. Someone even had the guts to say: ‘well, you know ‘these people’ [i.e. the savages] don’t have the same attitude to homosexual child sex as we do’ !
          We had a heated discussion [well, I had], and I’ve stayed away from that person ever since. So that Ezra Nawi, I don’t give a damn.

        2. “Do you think the Magad, Mahat, or even the Ramtkal sit in their offices, scheming of ways to shatter “Palestinian cultural resistance?” – that’s laughable.”

          In Bethlehem, on Nakba Day, we tried to show a short film that the youth at our centre had produced themselves. The plan was to project the film onto the wall. The IDF wouldn’t let us do it. They also wouldn’t let us put our artwork on the wall either. If they have the time and interest to harass me, my colleagues, and a bunch of Palestinian teenagers, and indeed they often spend hours doing so, why wouldn’t they have the time to go after the Freedom Theatre, which is so much more prominent?

          My boss’s father (a known pacifist who is very active in the cultural resistance) was arrested without warning or charge, and later on released without any explanation whatsoever. At a prayer gathering that was held in front of the main gate leading out of Bethlehem, my good friend Rousol was arrested and detained for approaching the soldiers and asking, “Why are you closing the gate?” They replied, “It’s to protect us from these people.” (A small group of two dozen singers carrying flags and a banner saying ‘Pray for the Peace of Palestine’.) Rousol asked, “Why don’t you just talk to us?” and a soldier emerged and arrested her. She was detained for three hours while he kept saying things like, “You’re recording me for al-Jazeera, aren’t you? Just admit it!” and “I’m Druze!”. And this isn’t even the half of it. Back in March a large group of us went to the village of Nabi Samwil, which is in a particularly horrible situation. The plan was to have a picnic there. We sat on the grass. We picnicked. We had music and dancing. And about thirty soldiers turned up in jeeps to deal with this imminent threat to Israeli national security. No more picnic for us.

          I could wallpaper my room with such examples. It happens all the time. Arrests made with no reason ever given. Forbidden picnics. A child not allowed to join her classmates on a school trip because her cochlear implants set off the metal detectors when she goes through the checkpoint. That same child begging with the soldiers to be allowed to have her treat. She wasn’t even going into Israel, just to another Palestinian town in the West Bank, so how could they use security to justify this petty nastiness? They didn’t tell us. They don’t have to. They can do whatever they like, and we are not entitled to reasons.

          1. @ Vicky
            “I could wallpaper my room with such examples”
            No, we want a book ! You have so many ‘small’ but yet imporatant incidents to tell, they all make up the picture of what occupation and life in Palestine is like. I’m sure these kind of stories will reach and touch people who are not into political matters, and you have such a ‘good pen’.
            After that thesis, we want a book: “Victorious Vicky, A Brit in Bayt Lahem” 😀 yalla, yalla !

          2. I am working on a book now, as it happens. 🙂 I don’t know when it will be finished, as I start my MA in September and that will be pretty intensive, but it’s slowly taking shape. In the meantime I am putting a lot of everyday stories from Palestine on my blog, and you’re right – these little anecdotes do seem to reach people who aren’t familiar with the political situation or the history. When I first got involved in activism I spent a lot of time debating with people. Now I just tell them stories. It works better. The Freedom Theatre knows this too, and it really wouldn’t surprise me if this was why were targeted.

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