Re: Call for more films about Palestine & Israel

From: peter snowdon (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Dec 04 2006 - 11:56:32 PST

On Mon, 4 Dec 2006 09:52:36 -0500, "Philip Hood" <email suppressed> said:
> I'm not sure what a call
> to "Boycott Israel" really means


> I just fear to much that a call for "Boycott!"
> is so utterly guttural and reactionary. I'm not even
> sure of what it means.

with all due to respect,

given the level of the discussion this call has sparked so far, i'm not
sure that this list is the right place to address such issues. however,
some things should be clarified. in particular, the petition makes it
quite clear what is meant by this boycott, and why it is addressed to us
as film makers. it states:

"Over 100 Palestinian filmmakers, artists and cultural workers have
called on filmmakers and artists worldwide to cancel art exhibitions
planned in Israel, to boycott Israeli film festivals, &#1617;Israeli
cultural venues, and to end all cooperation with Israeli art, film and
cultural organizations and institutions sponsored by the Israeli

as for boycott in general being a reactionary, purely emotional gesture,
you seem to forget that there is a history of the elaboration of boycott
as a conscious, rational and effective political strategy in the hands
of 'progressive' causes.

you may or may not agree with this particular boycott call, you may or
may not wish to respond to it. but you should at least read the text,
and try to understand the rationale behind it:)

the boycott movement is growing in force, and has the support of a
growing number of israelis, as well as jews in the diaspora. already in
2002, ilan pappe, perhaps the most distinguished historian of modern
israel, almost lost his chair at haifa university because of his support
for the boycott.

for insight into some of the rifts within israeli academia and the
broader intelligentsia, you might want to read some of the articles
which tanya reinhart has published on this subject, in particular:

meanwhile, on a lighter note:

Israel's "Occupation Club" is not exactly the typical arty film society.
While it's held at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, there's no discussions of
the merits of Truffaut vs. Fellini.

Instead, a group led by helmers Avi Mograbi and Osnat Trabelsi hold
monthly screenings of pics by Palestinians or dealing with the
occupation to Israeli auds. Each screening is followed by a discussion.
"It is a good opportunity to protest at the occupation and let the
Israeli people see the Palestinians the way they see themselves,"
Mograbi says.

The group was originally set up in Dec. 2001 following the Israeli
army's shelling of the Voice of Palestine radio station. Following a
conversation with fellow Israeli helmer Simone Bitton, Mograbi decided
to organize a one-off screening of "This Is the Voice of Palestine," a
docu by Palestinian Rashid Masharawi about the station. The event was
held with parallel screenings in Ramallah and Paris, followed by a
satellite link-up between auds in the three cities. "A lot of people
came, so we decided to screen films on a regular basis. They're usually
films that can't find another home," Mograbi says.

Since then, thousands of Israeli cinephiles have joined the club, eager
to get a glimpse of life on the other side of the wall. While Mograbi
and his colleagues have encountered some criticism for their political
stance -- Cinematheque head Alon Gorbouz had to physically stop angry
protesters after he decided to screen controversial docu "Jenin, Jenin"
about the Israeli army's 2002 incursion into the Palestinian refugee
camp -- the biggest challenge now facing the club is, ironically enough,
a recent petition signed by Palestinian helmers calling for a boycott of
Israeli cultural co-operation.

"It's a strange thing to say, but I'm actually in favor of boycotting
us. I hope you can understand the ambiguity," Mograbi quips.

As for which pic is skedded to screen next for the club and potentially
challenge the boycott? That would be "Waiting," the latest pic by Rashid
Masharawi, the helmer who helped start it all.

  peter snowdon
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