U.S. Jewish activist to undergo surgery on arm broken by Nazi cops

U.S. Jewish activist to undergo surgery on arm broken by Israeli cops

By: Natasha Roth-Rowland

Sarah Brammer-Shlay, whose arm was broken by Israeli police as they forcibly removed her from a Jerusalem Day protest, will be undergoing a $25,000 operation on Thursday.

Sarah Brammer-Shlay (Eliana Fishman)

Sarah Brammer-Shlay (Eliana Fishman)

An American-Jewish activist whose arm was broken by Israeli police as they forcefully dispersed a Jerusalem Day protest last week will need to undergo surgery.

Sarah Brammer-Shlay, 25, was part of a group of American and Israeli Jews who staged a demonstration at Damascus Gate last Wednesday. The protesters, who sat in a row along the entrance to the Old City in order to try and have the annual March of the Flags rerouted, were physically threatened by right-wing Israelis before being removed by Israeli police. In addition to breaking Brammer-Shlay’s arm, police dragged at least one protester away in a headlock.

Brammer-Shlay, a member of American anti-occupation group IfNotNow, told +972 Magazine that the operation would cost $25,000, and is scheduled for Thursday at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center. She expects to be hospitalized for between two to five days. A fundraising campaign has so far brought in $6,500 in donations, but Brammer-Shlay is unsure that her travel insurance will cover the remaining cost of the surgery.

Israel Police spokesperson Mickey Rosenfeld, responding last Thursday to a request for comment on the incident, did not deny that members of the police had broken Brammer-Shlay’s arm. At the time of writing, the U.S. State Department had not commented on the fact that Israeli cops assaulted an American citizen, to the degree that she will need to be operated on.

An activist with IfNotNow is carried away by Israeli police during a Jerusalem Day protest, Jerusalem, May 24, 2017. (JC/Activestills.org)

An activist with IfNotNow is carried away by Israeli police during a Jerusalem Day protest, Jerusalem, May 24, 2017. (JC/Activestills.org)

Wednesday’s protest against Jerusalem Day, a highly-charged, intensely nationalistic and consistently violent affair, came as well over 100 American Jews are in Israel-Palestine participating in anti-occupation activism. The “Sumud Freedom Camp,” a Standing Rock-inspired protest encampment set up by Palestinians, Israelis and diaspora Jews, is currently in its ninth day, having already been dismantled twice by the Israeli army.

Police and army violence is near-automatic in response to demonstrations by PalestiniansEthiopian Israelis, and Israeli photojournalists and anti-occupation activists who attend protests in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The presence of diaspora Jews has traditionally stayed the authorities’ hand, but as Jews from around the world head to Israel-Palestine in order to step up their nonviolent activism against the occupation, it seems that the authorities are responding in kind.

Natasha Roth-Rowland is an editor and writer at +972 Magazine. She has a PhD in History from the University of Virginia, and wrote her dissertation on the history of the Jewish far right in Israel-Palestine and the United States. Natasha previously spent several years as a writer, editor, and translator in Israel-Palestine, and is now based in New York.

We are in an unprecedented and dangerous era in Israel-Palestine. The Israeli extreme right government has made its plans crystal clear. It wants carte blanche to shoot-to-kill Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line, legalize every settlement outpost, dismantle the independence of the judicial system, deport African asylum seekers, delegitimize human rights activists, and silence the free press.

This is an escalation we all should resist. But it is not an aberration or a bug. For the past 12 years, we at +972 have been warning against the poisonous outcomes of Israeli society’s growing racism, the entrenched occupation, and an increasingly normalized siege on Gaza.

Our work has never been more crucial. And as dark as it seems, there are still glimmers of hope. The popularity of outright fascism has woken people up, both in Israel-Palestine and across the world, to the dangerous repercussions of what may soon come. Palestinians and Israelis who believe in a just future are already organizing and strategizing to put up the fight of their lives.

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