17:03, May 30 139 0

2017-05-30 17:03:06


Why queer filmmakers are boycotting Israel’s LGBT film festival

TLVFest, Tel Aviv’s International LGBT Film Festival, is suddenly a lot less international, with four guests backing out just two days until the opening.

They’re choosing to support an anti-Israel group that is a key organizer of what is called the BDS movement: an effort to boycott the Jewish State’s cultural events and tourism, calls for divestment of monies that support its government and sanctions against Israel by nations and organizations around the world.

“It’s very harmful,” said Yair Hochner, director of the festival.

“We work hard to promote messages that the government doesn’t promote, and then they come and tell you you’re part of the policy of oppression. We’re trying to do exactly the opposite. This decision was made by the guests, we’re continuing as usual.”

This arm of the BDS movement, Pinkwatching Israel, has called on guests to not attend the festival in posts on its Facebook page, claiming participation contributes to a continued normalization of the occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The group aims to draw attention to “pinkwashing,” which the Jewish newspaper Haaretz described as “displaying openness toward the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community for the purpose of concealing more serious injustices.”

Those who have reportedly backed out include South African director John Trengrove; Canadian-Pakistani screenwriter and actor Fawzia Mirza, whose film “Signature Move” will be shown at the festival; Nadia Ibrahim, a Palestinian living in Denmark who was to serve as a member of the festival jury and appear on a panel; and Swiss actor Jasna Fritzi Bauer. Writer, director and actor Helene Hegemann said she would not be coming due to a scheduling conflict.

Trengrove’s film, The Wounded, is still scheduled to open the festival Thursday. Ironically, Trengrove is in Israel on the festival’s dime, but is refusing to even attend the screening.

Adding injury to the insult, the wave of cancellations is also hitting the festival in the pocketbook, since some of the guests were supposed to conduct closed artist workshops. Commercial sponsors reportedly are dropping out as a result of the cancellations.

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