Saturday, March 6, 2010

How Three Philosophy Students Bested the Police in the Israeli Supreme Court

The print edition of Haaretz on Friday told the fascinating tale of how three philosophy students, Asaf Sharon, Avner Inbar, and Avichai Sharon, managed to force the Jerusalem Police to allow the Sheikh Jarrah demonstration Saturday night.

Readers of the Magnes Zionist may remember two of those students, Avner Inbar and Asaf Sharon, among the signatories of the letter addressed to Prof. Moshe Halbertal criticizing his New Republic article against the Goldstone Report. Read about it here.

By the way, Prof. Halbertal was at the Sheikh Jarrah protest Saturday night, along with other members of the Old Zionist left. It wasn't his first time there, either. As Rabbi Hanina says in the Talmud,

From my teachers I learned much, from my colleagues I learned more, but most of all do I learn from my students

Here is an adaptation of the Haaretz article by Nir Hason.

How Three Philosophy Students Drove the Police Crazy

Somebody who entered the chambers of the Supreme Court yesterday was treated to a strange sight: across from three judges and the states attorney representative, all in black robes, as is customary, stood three young bearded students. The three, Asaf Sharon, Avner Inbar, and Avichai Sharon, among the central activists against the settlers in Sheikh Jarrah, were the sole authors of a petition and represented themselves in court without legal counsel. "We studied the law, the directive of the Police's Central Command, and the relevant petitions to the High Court. We followed the police's conduct, we received help from the residents, and we wrote," said Avichai Sharon."

Asaf Sharon took the role of litigator. "I felt pretty pressured. I am not accustomed to stand before judges. I never studied law. On the other hand, I felt quite certain of our claim and of its justice," Sharon said."But it was a very frustrating experience for me to see the District Commander say things that were far from the truth."

Apparently the Jerusalem Police didn't take their opponents seriously. When the petition for a demonstration was first presented to them, they refused even to consider it, saying that it was necessary for the petitioners to give a reason for the protest. When the petitioners arrived at court they were supported by people such as former Minister Yossi Sarid, the head of the Israel Civil Liberties Association, Haggai Elad, who himself was arrested at one of the demonstrations.... Avichai Sharon explained,"There is an important message that reflects the way we have organized, which is without any institutional backing. We are simply people that live in this city, who are consumed, disturbed, and worried by this story"

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