The movie, which is to be aired in May, has a controversial scene in which the Israeli military covers up the deaths of a carload of Palestinian teenagers. It won the Silver Lion award at the Venice Film Festival and was shortlisted for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars.
Israel’s Culture Minister Miri Regev told the Israeli Haaretz newspaper last week that that Tel Aviv should not “support a festival that showcases films that slander us throughout the world.”
Regev said she had instructed her ministry’s director general to “make clear to the Foreign Ministry, which is allocating money to the festival, that it is inconceivable for the Foreign Ministry to conduct a policy independent from the government’s policy.”
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said Sunday that Israeli diplomats in France would boycott the festival’s opening night.
The decision to boycott the opening ceremony of the film festival came after organizers declined the request of an Israeli envoy, Aliza Ben-Nun, that they choose a less controversial film.
“I really love the movie. I don’t see anything against Israel whatever,” the festival’s director, Hélène Schoumann, told Haaretz on Monday. “So I won’t cancel it; of course not.”
No need to boycott film festival, Israel is doing it: BDS
The pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) is conducting a war against Israeli artists [...] and she didn’t even see the movie.”
“Boycott the Israeli film festival in Paris? Israel’s doing it,” the group said in a press release.
Thousands of volunteers worldwide have joined the BDS to help promote the Palestinian cause, including scores of international trade unions, NGOs, scientific institutions, academic societies, business associations and cultural figures.
Torture in Israeli jails
The development comes amid reports that a majority of Palestinian detainees have been subjected to assault and torture at Israeli prisons.
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club (PPC) revealed on Sunday that 60 percent of Palestinian children who were arrested by Israeli forces were verbally, physically or psychologically tortured.
It said that the Palestinian minors detained by the Israeli forces were prevented from sleeping, beaten and threatened by interrogators in order to confess.
The Palestinian children were prevented from eating and drinking for long periods and were insulted, said the PPC, adding they were also subjected to hours of interrogations.
Almost 6,500 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli jails, including 57 women and girls and 350 children.