Boycott the boycotters

By Marcus Dysch
May 20, 2009

The capitulation by organisers of the Edinburgh Film Festival is, I think, more shocking than most examples of the Israel boycott we’ve previously seen.

Had the organisers decided off their own backs to not accept the Israeli Embassy’s money to fly in director Tali Shalom Ezer it would have been bad enough.

But to so openly base the decision on the ramblings of Ken Loach almost beggars belief.

His views on Israel and the Palestinians are well known. Were EIFF organisers in any doubt as to where he stands they need only have read this, or watched this.

To claim his comments on this occasion – “the massacres and state terrorism in Gaza make this money unacceptable” – were spoken on behalf of “the film community” is laughable. Mr Loach no more speaks for every British filmmaker than I do for the British Nutrition Foundation when I saw gingerbread should be a staple of a healthy diet.

The EIFF should hang its collective head in shame.

The Israeli Embassy says the decision is “regrettable”. It would have been far better to call it what it is – disgraceful – and for Ms Shalom Ezer to tell the organisers where to stick their invitation, before withdrawing her film from the festival in counter-protest.


Lord Reith

Fri, 05/22/2009 - 11:20

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Let's try and be clear about this. No one called for boycotting Shalom-Erez's film. Indeed the festival organizers assured the press that they would pay for her travel. Except now Shalom-Ezer doesn't want to come because she thinks she has a moral right to demand to be sponsored by the state of Israel. She also thinks that not taking money from the state of Israel, and refusing to adorn the festival with the sponsorship of a state that just murdered over 1400 people in Gaza, is racism and demonization.
Just who is racist, exactly? Israel forbids its Palestinian citizens from importing children's books-- such as Harry Potter translations -- in Arabic Not only can you not criticise Israel, you have to invite sponsorsip from it.
Shalom-Ezer considers applying pressure on the state of Israel a racist act that "generalises" against all citizens of Israel. Obviously she does not include Israel's 25 per cent non-Jewish citizens in this "all." They are citizens, but they do not count. Saying anything about Israel doesn't apply to them. Nor do the 3.5 million Palestinians who would be citizens if Israel were not a country founded on racist principles count. The integration between the racist state and the national identity of so many of its Jewish citizens is itself a result widespread racism. Almost 95 per cent of Israeli-Jews supported the gGaza war, even when its real dimensions were already public knowledge. Over half of the Jewish population in Israel believes the marriage of a Jewish woman to an Arab man is equal to national treason.

Lord Reith

Mon, 05/25/2009 - 20:34

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What's the difference between the call for the boycott of Israeli artists and Israel's shameful behaviour against the Palestinian literary festival in Jerusalem?
Those in the diaspora who campaign long and hard against a boycott of Israeli culture should be raging with anger at this latest disgrace.Israel is good at creating enemies for itself.
The lunatics have taken over the asylum. It’s now abundantly clear that Israel has no respect for other people's cultural freedom. What, please tell me, is now the difference between Israel and the boycotters?


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