Banning Cultural Events – A Normal Occurrence in Israel

Banning Cultural Events – A Normal Occurrence in Israel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Post-Blog

When it comes to the Cultural Boycott – disrupting Israeli
concerts and performances – the usual tosh about art and music not being
political, not interfering with peoples’ rights to enjoy themselves, how Israel
is such a bastion of opposition culture, is shown by the ban on the film Shivering Gaza in Israel.
In Israel there is no artistic freedom.  The new Culture Minister Miri Regev, who
previously called African Asylum Seekers a ‘cancer’ in Israel and then
apologised to  cancer victims for the
comparison, has been making her presence felt cutting off funding for anyone
with the temerity to refuse to perform in the West Bank.
When the Tricycle Theatre banned the Jewish film festival for accepting money from Israel it was accused of censorship  – those who protested this act of solidarity are silent when Israel bans Palestinian cultural events
Now we have a film, Shivering Gaza describing the plight of Palestinians in Gaza,
banned from being performed in Sderot and Beersheva.
Tony Greenstein

Bowing to right-wingers, city halls cancel Gaza film screenings

Director of Amnesty Israel, which had organized
showings in south of movie on Gaza trauma victims: ‘It is inacceptable for
local leaders to function as censors.’

By Nirit Anderman, Shirly Seidler and Jack Khoury |
Jul. 14, 2015
A scene from ‘Shivering in Gaza.’ Focuses on the work of a trauma expert. Photo by Geert van Kesteren
The
Be’er Sheva Municipality prevented Monday the screening of a documentary about
the Gaza Strip
during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge – several days after the Sderot Municipality did the
same.
On
the occasion of the first anniversary of the war, the Israeli branch of Amnesty
International arranged for screenings of the Dutch film “Shivering in Gaza” in
the Tel Aviv and Sderot cinematheques, as well as in the Gaza Strip. The events
also featured a discussion with director Geert van Kesteren and trauma expert
Jan Andreae; the film is about Andreae’s work with Gazan aid workers.
Amnesty
claims that after the film was shown in Tel Aviv last Wednesday, right-wing
activists tried to prevent the screening in Sderot. Among other things they
published the phone number of Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi so text messages could
be sent to him – and that put pressure on the local cinematheque and led to the
cancellation.
The
movie was instead scheduled for screening at the Mifgash Multaka cultural
center, the home base of the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality in
Be’er Sheva.
But
on Monday morning – once again due to right-wing pressure and the publication
of the phone number of Be’er Sheva Mayor Ruvik Danilovich, the screening was
cancelled.
“Government
policy and the prevailing public atmosphere constitute an overall attack on
freedom of expression, and represent a danger to democracy,” said Yonatan Gher,
the executive director of Amnesty International Israel Monday, adding that “it
is inacceptable for local leaders to function as censors in their cities.”
The
film “Shivering in Gaza” follows Andreae as he entered the Strip at the end of
Operation Protective Edge, where he met with Gazan aid workers and spoke to
them about fear, mourning and trauma.
Andreae
has worked for many years with South African, Yugoslavian, Israeli and
Palestinian trauma victims. In recent years he has been working mainly with
Gazans; with them he tries to build a meaningful life in the shadow of
destruction and fear.
Van
Kesteren is a photographer and filmmaker who has worked for magazines such as
Newsweek, Stern, and The Independent. This is his first documentary.
The
Be’er Sheva Municipality said that screening the film constitutes a political
act that is prohibited according to an agreement regarding usage of public
assets.
“When
we learned about the intention to carry out this activity, the municipality’s legal
adviser turned to representatives of the association and explained the
municipality’s policy. In light of that, the representatives announced
cancelation of the film scheduled for this evening,” according to a municipal
source.
Haya
Noah, director of the Negev Coexistence Forum, told Haaretz that the film is
about a method of treating trauma. “If Arabs and Jews can’t talk about that,
what will they let us talk about? I think that the municipality is afraid,
we’ve reached a situation where there’s a lot of fear; it’s hard to know what
the next step will be. I’m disappointed at this conduct, I didn’t think that
the mayor of Be’er Sheva would allow such a thing to happen.”

‘No
problem’ with the film
Benny
Cohen, director of the Sderot Cinematheque, told Haaretz that the screening was
canceled due to pressure from Mayor Davidi.
“Right-wing
activists raised an outcry against the film, and we decided to postpone it so
that the administrative staff at the cinematheque could watch the film and
decide – but I saw the film and there’s no problem with it. It’s a film that
just talks about treating trauma,” Cohen said. “The right-wing
activists were afraid that the movie criticizes Israel Defense Force soldiers and
Israel, but there’s no problem with it.”
According
to Sderot’s mayor, “This is an anti-Zionist and anti-Israeli film, biased and
one-sided, and therefore it won’t be screened in the Sderot Cinematheque.”
Davidi
added: “You need a lot of chutzpah and cynicism to bring this kind of film to a
Qassam-besieged city like Sderot, and to crudely trample on the feelings of its
residents … I won’t lend a hand to that. To this day our children suffer from
anxiety and receive therapy. Hamas has been firing at Sderot for years. It did
so both before and after Operation Protective Edge. Nobody will tell us who the
good guys and the bad guys are in this story.”

 

 

 

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