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The Atlantic has not heard of the joint struggle in the West Bank? (UPDATED)

Something caught my eye when looking through photos on The Atlantic of the Nakba day demonstrations which engulfed the West Banks and Israel’s border areas last Sunday.

Image 16, reprinted below, carries the following caption: Two Palestinian men struggle after being overcome by tear gas fired during clashes with the Israeli police on May 15, 2011 at Qalandiya checkpoint near Ramallah, West Bank. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

Actually one of the men is an Israeli from Tel Aviv named Jonathan Pollak. I suppose The Atlantic was not aware that Israeli supporters joined the Nakba demonstrations throughout the West Bank on Sunday. Maybe the editors have not heard of the Israelis that have gone to jail or been injured resisting their country’s repression of unarmed Palestinian demonstrations. Perhaps they should have a look at the definitive account of the joint struggle and the new Israeli left which Noam Sheizaf and I wrote for the Nation in March 2011.

I think that the photo is much stronger seeing an Israeli and a Palestinian side by side suffering from Israeli tear gas…don’t you?

Photo from the Atlantic of an Israeli and Palestinian suffering from Tear Gas in Qalandia 15 May 2011

Photo from the Atlantic of an Israeli and Palestinian suffering from Tear Gas in Qalandia 15 May 2011


As you can see in the comment thread, The Atlantic has kindly changed the caption of the above photo to: [Edit, this caption previously identified both men as Palestinian. The man on the right may be Jonathan Pollak, an Israeli.]. I was at Qalandia watching this photograph being taken and can personally confirm that this person is Jonathan Pollak.

Now we need a post from Atlantic blogger Jeffery Goldberg exploring the new Israeli left and Israelis like Pollak who risk life and limb in order to stand with Palestinians resisting occupation without arms…

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    1. MariaS

      This comment has been deleted

      Reply to Comment
    2. David

      Come on Jonny! On your bike!
      If Jonny gets arrested one more time, how long will he go to prison for?

      Reply to Comment
    3. Hi Joseph, and thanks for calling my attention to this (I’m the editor of In Focus at the Atlantic). I double-checked the original photo from Getty Images, and the caption, written by photographer Uriel Sinai, does indeed say these were Palestinian men. That said, though, based on your post here, and on some further research, it does appear that the man on the right could be Jonathan Pollak. I’ve updated the caption with a link to this post. Many thanks (and yes, fwiw, I have heard of Israelis protesting alongside Palestinians before).

      -Alan Taylor

      Reply to Comment
    4. Thanks for that, Alan. The man on the right is definitely Jonathan Pollak.

      Reply to Comment
    5. vincent

      your site requires identificationj. you should know identifing oneself will lead to personal abuse and job loss. however this is i think important. the eu will expect israel to accomodate return of refugees,and compensate those whose lands were stolen, its not up to usa to decide and eu has already decided, squeal if you must, why because jews can’t commit crimes? but go to jail criminals will? None like hamas but jews are worse! killers. lots of rockets but not like gaza bombings. jews have lost, they kill too often for sympathy, you are liars at best, war criminals is a better term.

      Reply to Comment
    6. vincent

      No it’s not ok. It’s Israeli tear gas. It’s not a joint struggle. It’s ethnic cleansing and you are doing it.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Abban Aziz

      tear gas…oh the humanity.

      so much suffering going on. guys should start a facebook club.

      Reply to Comment
    8. gabriel

      because of comments like Vincent’s there is so much hatred perpetuated btw israelis and palestinians
      shame on you defamer
      what r u doing in your post if not “theoretical ethnic cleansing”?

      Reply to Comment
    9. Dear Alan,

      Thank you for updating the caption. I saw the photograph being taken and I can personally confirm that it is Jonathan Pollak in the photo.



      Reply to Comment
    10. RACHEL

      The man on the right is definitely Jonathan Pollak. I would know that shayne punim anywhere!

      Reply to Comment
    11. Borg

      Mr Pollak has a gas mask and so he is protected. It is the Palestinian who is suffering. Makes me wonder if this photo is a set up

      Reply to Comment
      • Mr Pollak is drinking water from a package. He has no gas mask. They are both suffering equally. Nice try to undercut the photo though. Makes me wonder if you have any idea what you are writing about.

        Reply to Comment
    12. David

      Nice catch, but that’s typical of journalists.

      The opposite is also true: When there’s a right-wing demonstration, the caption is usually “settlers demonstrate” etc., ignoring the fact that many residents of pre-1967 Israel demonstrated too.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Whelan

      The Atlantic corrected the caption immediately. So much drama despite this.

      Reply to Comment