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Liverpool first Arab film fest

    Liverpool's first Arab film festival is to host three anti-Israel films and the French filmmaker Michel Kheifi, whose work was banned in France over concerns it whipped up antisemitism.

    The July festival is a new addition to the Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival which is in its ninth year and is sponsored by the National Lottery, the British Council and Liverpool City Council.

    Screenings include Mr Kheifi's film Zindeeq, which follows a filmmaker returning home to Ramallah to documents the 1948 "Nakba" (catastrophe), followed by a talk by the director.

    Mr Kheifi's previous Palestinian film, Route 181, co-produced with an Israeli, was banned in 2004 by the French Ministry of Culture and pulled from France's largest documentary film festival after concerns that its underlying hostility to the existence of Israel would encourage antisemitism.

    Egyptian director Khaled El Hagar will hold a Q&A after his film Little Dreams, about an 11-year-old Egyptian boy who follows his father as a "freedom fighter" against Israel in the 1967 Six Day War. In 2006 Mr El Hagar, who lives in Birmingham, told the city's Post newspaper that Israel's war in Lebanon "will make every Muslim a fanatic."

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