The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has demanded an Arab-Israeli filmmaker pull his film from a UK festival, describing it as “propaganda with the purpose of covering up Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people”.
Holy Air, written and directed by Shady Srour, will feature at the Seret Film Festival in London and Edinburgh this month.
The festival, which has counterpart events in Amsterdam and Berlin, specifically showcases Israeli films.
Mr Srour’s drama-comedy tells the story of Adam, a Christian Arab-Israeli from Nazareth, who resolves to sell bottles of “holy air” to religious tourists.
Representatives of the UK BDS movement criticised Holy Air for portraying Israel as a “melting pot of cultures, religions and social backgrounds”, saying it was in fact a country of “occupation, colonialism and apartheid”, Haaretz reported.
They added: “The festival does not recognise the existence of the Palestinian people, and presents all the Palestinian filmmakers and artists as Israelis, without mention of their Palestinian identity.”
Mr Srour’s representatives reportedly responded by asserting that he had “no intention” of withdrawing his work from the Seret Film Festival.
They said Mr Srour “does not reject or conceal his Palestinian identity”, warning that the demand risked “dragging us into a serious intra-Palestinian conflict”.