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UK cinemas urged to boycott Israeli film festival

Press TV – April 25, 2019

Twenty filmmakers, screenwriters, actors, and film critics have urged film theaters in the United Kingdom to boycott the Israeli film festival Seret, co-organized by the Tel Aviv government, in protest at the Zionist regime’s atrocities against Palestinians.

“We’re shocked and dismayed to see how many mainstream cinemas … are hosting this year’s Israeli film festival, Seret, whose funders and supporters include the Israeli government and a clutch of pro-Israel advocacy organizations,” the cinema professionals said in a letter published by The Guardian on Thursday.

“Two months ago, a commission set up by the UN human rights council concluded that the actions of Israeli soldiers against Palestinian participants in the Great March of Return in Gaza may constitute ‘war crimes or crimes against humanity’. ‘Particularly alarming,’ said a member of the commission, was ‘the targeting of children and persons with disabilities’,” reads the letter.

“This UN report is the latest in 70 years of reports of mass expulsions, killings, house demolitions, detention without trial, torture, military occupation and military onslaught against the indigenous population, the Palestinians. But none of this appears to disturb the cinemas involved in the festival,” the letter added, protesting at the UK cinemas’ indifference to the Israeli atrocities.

“We cannot understand why cultural institutions continue to behave as if Israel is an ordinary democracy. It is not. Palestinians deserve better than this. UK cinemas should not be hosting Seret,” it reads.

Prominent British filmmakers Ken Loach and Mike Leigh are among the artists who have written the letter.

Other signatories include Amir Amirani (director, producer), Roy Battersby (director), Haim Bresheeth (writer, filmmaker), David Calder (actor), Prof Ian Christie (film writer, broadcaster), Dror Dayan (filmmaker), Helen de Witt (film programmer), Saeed Taji Farouky (filmmaker), Deborah Golt DJ (broadcaster), Ashley Inglis (screenwriter), Paul Laverty (screenwriter), Sophie Mayer (film critic, curator), Rebecca O’Brien (producer), Pratibha Parmar (writer, director), William Raban (filmmaker), Leila Sansour (director), John Smith (artist, filmmaker), and Penny Woolcock (filmmaker).

Earlier, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) had also called on all participants to withdraw from the Seret festival taking place in London, Brighton and Edinburgh, from May 6 – 17.

The Seret festival tries to falsely project Israel as “a melting pot of cultures, religions and social backgrounds,” rather than as an apartheid and colonial regime that has more than 65 racist laws discriminating against its indigenous Palestinian citizens, the Campaign said.

“In addition to Israeli ministries and diplomatic missions, the festival is also sponsored by racist, anti-Palestinian, Israeli government-backed agencies, including the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency,” the Campaign added, in a statement published by the BDS Movement’s website.

Last year, a wave of cancellations and boycotts hit a film festival in Tel Aviv over Israeli government sponsorship, with a total of 14 filmmakers, actors and other artists withdrawing or, if unable to do so, declaring support for the boycott.

Also in 2018, the Oscar-winning star, Natalie Portman, boycotted a ceremony in Israel that would have honored her.

“PACBI, as part of the growing Nobel Prize-nominated Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, calls on filmmakers participating in SERET to withdraw from this blatant propaganda festival and urges people of conscience to boycott it in its entirety,” the statement added.

The BDS movement was initiated in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations that were pushing for “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.”

April 25, 2019 - Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. The ONLY way for English, American, and the rest of us people to make an impression on the Fascists who run Israel is by making a personal choice to Boycott anything Israeli.
    If enough of us respond in this way, It WILL make them reconsider their total arrogance.

    Comment by Brian Harry | April 26, 2019 | Reply


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