Criticism of Israel sparks anti-Semitism debate at Berlin film festival

German newspapers highlighted a speech by American filmmaker Ben Russell on Saturday Collectively won a prize at the festival. She appeared on stage wearing the traditional Palestinian scarf, the kafiyeh, and condemned the “genocide” in Gaza. In an interview, Russell said the news media's reaction was “surprising in its intensity and jaw-dropping in its one-sidedness.”

A serious backlash is also underway in Israel, Abraham said. He delayed his flight to Jerusalem after receiving more than 100 death threats on social media and fearing for his safety.

Abraham said he could not understand why the German and Israeli media characterized his views as anti-Semitic. On stage, he called for an end to “apartheid” between Israeli and Palestinian citizens, but justified his use of the term by saying that Israelis and Palestinians do not have the same rights, including voting or traveling freely.

“If everything is anti-Semitic, the word loses its meaning,” Abraham said.

Because of the Holocaust, German authorities have long felt a special responsibility to Israel. In 2019, lawmakers passed a resolution urging local governments to deny funding to any group or person that “radically advocates” boycotting Israel, officially designated as anti-Semitism.

Since then, arts administrators have canceled museum exhibitions, concerts and lectures or pulled artists from shows if they have signed open letters supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement known as BDS.

In a highly polarized situation after the October 7 Hamas terror attacks and Israel's military operations in Gaza, many artists have complained that the criteria for closing exhibitions and events has broadened. Or genocide.

See also  GOP leader McCarthy is fighting a historic battle for his political future

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *