I don't agree

From: JEFFREY PAULL (email suppressed)
Date: Sat Aug 29 2009 - 11:56:24 PDT

- Jeffrey Paull

On Sat 29/08/09 10:59 , Matt Helme email suppressed sent:
> *Please Post Widely*
> Protest Toronto International Film Festival City-to-City Spotlight on
> Tel Aviv:
> TIFF Celebrating Israeli colonialism, ethnic cleansing and
> apartheid!
> Dear CAIA allies and supporters,
> We urge you to write to the Toronto International Film Festival
> protesting its
> decision to Spotlight Tel Aviv for its inaugural City-to-City
> program. The
> Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
> issued a statement urging all filmmakers and audiences to boycott
> this
> Spotlight on Tel Aviv. For the full PACBI statement please see:
> http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1085 [1]
> As the PACBI statement points out:
> “The ‘diversity’ celebrated by the Spotlight is in fact based
> on the
> erasure of the physical presence of the Palestinians, their culture,
> heritage
> and memory. The adjacent Palestinian city of Jaffa and numerous
> villages were
> emptied of their indigenous inhabitants to make way for Tel Aviv.
> Many refugees
> from Jaffa and other destroyed villages that Tel Aviv replaced reside
> in
> Toronto today, denied the right to return to their homes.
> Such a celebration at this time, therefore, can only be seen by
> Palestinians
> and supporters of a just peace around the world as an act of
> complicity in
> whitewashing Israel’s war crimes and other grave violations of
> international
> law. It is a cynical and immoral politicization of the TIFF.”
> Please send letters of protest to TIFF co-director and City-to-City
> programmer
> at email suppressed
> A sample letter is provided below, though it is always better to
> draft your own
> original letter.
> For more information please email us at: email suppressed
> In Solidarity,
> Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid
> www.caiaweb.ca
> Re: City-to-City Spotlight on Tel Aviv
> I am writing to you out of my concern about the Toronto International
> Film
> Festival’s City-to-City spotlight on Tel Aviv.
> According to your website, the spotlight “will showcase the complex
> currents
> running through today’s Tel Aviv. Celebrating its 100th birthday in
> 2009, Tel
> Aviv is a young, dynamic city that, like Toronto, celebrates its
> diversity”.
> Nowhere in this description of Tel Aviv is there mention of the fact
> that Tel
> Aviv is built on destroyed Palestinian villages. In 1948, the
> inhabitants of
> these villages were forcibly removed in order to make room for the
> city of Tel
> Aviv. Today, many of the former inhabitants of these villages and Tel
> Aviv’s
> neighbouring city of Jaffa reside in Toronto because they are
> refugees who have
> been denied the right to return to their homes.
> In addition to ignoring Palestinian history, the spotlight is also
> part of an
> Israeli propaganda campaign known as ‘Brand Israel’. In 2008,
> Israel chose
> Toronto as a test city for ‘Brand Israel’. This campaign is an
> effort by
> the Israeli government to improve its image globally. The
> campaign’s goal is
> to draw attention toward Israel’s medical, scientific and cultural
> accomplishments in order to shift attention away from its numerous
> crimes
> against the Palestinian people. The ‘Brand Israel’ campaign is a
> blatant
> example of how Israeli cultural institutions play a vital role in
> whitewashing
> Israeli war crimes. Israeli consul general Amir Gissin said that the
> culmination of the campaign would be a major Israeli presence at the
> 2009
> Toronto International Film Festival. Whether or not TIFF sees it this
> way, the
> City-to-City program is being viewed by the Israeli state as an
> important
> aspect of its international propaganda campaign.
> This past winter the world watched in horror as Israel launched a
> full-scale
> military assault on the people of Gaza. Over 1400 Palestinians were
> killed in
> this attack, including over 400 children. TIFF showcasing Tel Aviv
> and Israel
> is equivalent to the festival choosing to showcase Cape Town at the
> height of
> South African Apartheid. It is simply unacceptable and inexcusable.
> In support of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural
> Boycott of
> Israel (PACBI) statement calling for a boycott of the Spotlight, I
> will not be
> attending any of these films and will be encouraging others to do
> the same. I
> strongly urge TIFF to reconsider its celebration of Tel Aviv and
> Israel – a
> state that has been described as an Apartheid regime by prominent
> figures such
> as South African Bishop Desmond Tutu and former US President Jimmy
> Carter.
> __________________________________________________________________
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at .
> Links:
> ------
> [1] http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1085

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.