Facebook share Share on TwitterRSS feed

Innovative Minds © 2014. All Rights Reserved. www.inminds.co.uk

[Boycott - Cultural]

French theatres cancels Israeli film in protest of flotilla raid


Steven Erlanger, The New York Times
12 June 2010

A small cinema chain has set off a sharp debate in France about the deadly Israeli raid on a Turkish ship trying to break the blockade of Gaza, and whether some French are overreacting to the episode.



French cinema chain Utopia, with around 40 cinemas,
has cancelled all screening of an Israeli film and
replaced it with a film on Rachel Corrie to protest
against Israeli attack on aid flotilla.

In what was described as a protest against Israeli actions, the Utopia chain canceled all screenings of an Israeli comedy, “Five Hours from Paris,” scheduled to open this month. Instead, it decided to show a French documentary about Rachel Corrie, a young American who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer while she protested the destruction of Palestinian housing in Gaza in 2003.

For Anne-Marie Faucon, the co-founder of Utopia, a chain of art cinemas in five cities, the ban was a gesture of disapproval for Israel’s use of violence and the blockade of Gaza. “It was a protest of our whole company,” she said in an interview. “We show many Israeli films, we organize a lot of debates on what happens in the world, but this time we reacted very strongly and in a very emotional way.”

But for others, including Richard Prasquier, the president of a major French Jewish organization, the ban was another sign of the growing “delegitimization of Israel” among the intellectual classes in France.

“It’s totally scandalous,” Mr. Prasquier said in an interview. “This cultural boycott is ridiculous, but it defines the way some people think in our country — in black and white, and they are always on the white side, and the black is always the most powerful and wealthiest and somehow Israel is always there.”



Israeli film 'Five Hours from Paris' cancelled

For increasing numbers of people in Western Europe, he said, the facts about Israel and its actions are irrelevant. “You can have the facts and nothing changes,” said Mr. Prasquier, who is president of CRIF — the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France. He noted that even the French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, condemned the Israeli assault on the ship on May 31 almost immediately after it happened, and before the facts were clear.

Mr. Kouchner has since called for an international investigation and the involvement of the European Union to check cargoes heading for Gaza.

Mr. Prasquier commented, “A military war and a war of images has become a kind of war of law and war of words, including boycotts, and this leads to a kind of delegitimization of Israel.”

The reaction to the ban on the film was quick and fierce, with some in support and some warning about utopianism and the dangers to free speech. “We had tremendous reactions, very different, very enthusiastic,” Ms. Faucon said. “We were encouraged, people said we had done well and that we were brave, while others insulted us and said we were anti-Semites.”

And why this innocuous Israeli comedy? “Because it was there,” she said. “We replaced it by ‘Rachel,’ ” a documentary made by Simone Bitton, a Moroccan-born, French-Israeli director who emigrated to Israel with her family as a child, served in the Israeli Army, became a pacifist and mostly lives in France. She also made a 2004 documentary, “Wall,” about the Israeli security barrier that cuts inside the occupied West Bank.



Rachel, a film on the murder of Rachel Corrie
by an Israel army bulldozer demolishing
Palestinian homes.

The ban was widely criticized by the French press, including the Catholic daily newspaper La Croix, which reminded readers that the Israeli cinema, “during these last years, offers the international public films of great quality, without compromise, and very critical” of Israeli policy and society, while the government of Israel continues to provide financing.

Le Monde called the boycott censorship and part of a dangerous trend, as various French cultural festivals consider banning Israeli performers and Western performers choose to boycott Israel. “The flotilla assault is hard to defend, but the boycott is an unacceptable answer,” the paper editorialized. “It is counterproductive. It helps to weaken Israeli voices and eyes who are the most uncompromising about their government. If there is one country in which artists explore with talent and lucidity their state, their society, their leaders and their politics, it is Israel.”

Utopia relented after an Israeli-Dutch director, Ludi Boeken, told the company he was withdrawing his film, “Saviors in the Night,” from its cinemas “in solidarity with the censored.” Mr. Boeken said that Israeli filmmakers and Israeli state financing for them were “under constant attack from the Israeli right.”

Finally on Thursday, the culture minister of France, Frédéric Mitterrand, wrote Ms. Faucon a belated but stinging letter, speaking of “my incomprehension and my disapproval” of the cancellation and noting that the chain received government subsidies to encourage diversity of programming. Mr. Mitterrand said that cinema “plays an essential role in invigorating democratic debate and that is why respect for the freedom of expression of artists cannot be limited, and the opinions that you assert must not stand in its way.”

Ms. Faucon answered Mr. Mitterrand and said that the protest “was a symbolic and limited gesture” and that Utopia had always planned to release the Israeli comedy at some point. She called “Rachel” “a film that corresponds perfectly to this mission of participating in democratic debate.”

Mr. Prasquier said that the French government was sensitive to manifestations of anti-Semitism and to the difficulty of separating them from criticism of Israel. “But there are trends in the society that are very unpleasant,” he said. He noted that during anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian demonstrations last week, tear gas was used and “the slogans were extremely harsh.”

Unfortunately, he said, they no longer shock. “We are getting used to them as a society, and this is very bad.”


* Original article title: 'French Protest of Israeli Raid Reaches Wide Audience'


Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/13/world/europe/13france.html


Related Articles


Also Of Interest

Page URL: http://inminds.com/article.php?id=10423
Support Us
If you agree with our work then please support us.

Give one time donation:
£

Setup monthly donation:
£
INMINDS Facebook Live Feed
Latest Video's
Latest News..
[all-by date]
[all-by category]
[all-by modify date]
INMINDS Twitter Feed
Boycott Israel Campaign
Featured Video's
You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video.
Why boycott Israel on Campus[1:50:05]
12 London universities discuss need for BDS on campuses. Speakers include Rafeef Ziadeh, Ilan Pappe, Karma Nabulsi & Mike Cushman
Love Letters to Gaza[31:08]
A unique theatrical event using personal messages of love, support and hope from people of all ages and all walks of life to the people of Gaza.
John Pilger[7:55]
journalist and documentary maker
Antiwar Mass Assembly 8 Oct 2011
Julian Assange[7:07]
founder of WikiLeaks
Antiwar Mass Assembly 8 Oct 2011
Lauren Booth, Sami Ramadani & Yvonne Ridley[6:28]
Reading the names of the dead
Antiwar Mass Assembly 8 Oct 2011
George Galloway[6:39]
Antiwar Mass Assembly 8 Oct 2011
Jemima Khan[8:42]
Antiwar Mass Assembly 8 Oct 2011
Why Boycott Marks & Spencer 2011?[23:29]
Demo outside M&S Oxford Street(24 Sept 2011)
Sean Clinton[4:59]
Israeli Blood Diamonds Campaign
Al Quds Day rally, Trafalgar Square (31 Aug 2011)
Lauren Booth[5:24]
Al Quds Day rally, Trafalgar Square (31 Aug 2011)
Lauren Booth - Prayer for Gaza[2:46]
Al Quds Day rally, Trafalgar Square (31 Aug 2011)
Benny Morris - Historian or Racist?[34:07]
Activists oppose visit of racist Israeli historian Benny Morris who justifies ethnic cleansing and genocide.
Is Israel applying apartheid?[2:12:56]
Speakers: Yael Kahn, Jody McIntyre and Ghada Karmi (5 May 2011)
Karen Mitchell[48:27]
Partner at Thompsons Solicitors
Life changing visit to Palestine in 2008 (21 Feb 2011)
Ramzy Baroud[1:59:32]
Editor-in-chief of the Palestine Chronicle
"My Father Was A Freedom Fighter - Gaza's Untold Story" (25 Mar 2011)
Women United in the Intifada[2:31:36]
Speakers: Lizzie Cocker, Ewa Jasiewcz, Alaa Kassim, Yvonney Ridley, Isis Amlak, Sukant Chandan, Ramzy Baroud (14 Mar 2011)
George Galloway[1:01:48]
Solidarity with the Middle-East Revolution, support the people - oppose US/UK intervention (SOAS, 11 Mar 2011)
Omar Barghouti[55:08]
BDS Movement co-founder
"Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions" book launch (7 Mar 2011)
Shir Hever[1:49:09]
Alternative Information Centre
The Political Economy of Israel's Occupation, Kings College London (17 Feb 2011)
Why academic boycott of Israel[1:29:37]
Speakers: Mohammed Abuabdou(PSCABI), Mike Cushman(BRICUP), Jodey McIntyre(activist) (8 Feb 2011)
Dashed Hopes - Gaza Blockade[1:23:08]
Mohammed-Ali Abu Najela (Oxfam), Andrea Becker (MAP), Ewa Jasiewicz (Free Gaza Movement) (1 Feb 2011)
Jordan Valley: Apartheid[1:17:12]
Sarah Cobham(Brighton Jordan Valley Solidarity), Chris Osmond (Corporate Watch) (House of Commons, 1 Feb 2011)
Dump Veolia Demo[7:00]
Protesting at settlement supporter Veolia's sponsership of exhibit at the Natural History Museum (23 Oct 2010)
Boycott Israeli Dates [1/2][9:11]
Are you financing Israels brutal occupation this Ramadan?
Boycott Israeli Dates [2/2][9:05]
Are you financing Israels brutal occupation this Ramadan?
Lee Jasper [1/2][10:13]
[4 of 8] Genocide Memorial Day 2010 Session One, 17-1-2010
Lee Jasper [2/2][9:51]
[5 of 8] Genocide Memorial Day 2010 Session One, 17-1-2010
One Oppressor One Bullet[8:11]
Imam Achmad Cassiem, veteran of the armed struggle against apartheid in South Africa, speaks at the StW rally (London, 19 Feb 2005)
Salwa Alenat [1/2][9:56]
KavLaOved (Workers Rights hotline)
[1 of 8] Israel's Occupation - Abuse of Palestinian Workers (LSE 19 Nov 2009)
Salwa Alenat [2/2][8:57]
KavLaOved (Workers Rights hotline)
[2 of 8] Israel's Occupation - Abuse of Palestinian Workers (LSE 19 Nov 2009)
For Anwar [1of2][10:01]
Carmel Agrexco Valentines Action 7 Feb 2009
For Anwar [2of2][9:56]
Carmel Agrexco Valentines Action 7 Feb 2009
big
[all videos (over 200)..]
Special Additions

Featured MP3 Podcast

"For most journalists, whether they realize it or not, are groomed to be tribunes of an ideology that regards itself as non-ideological, that presents itself as the natural center, the very fulcrum of modern life. This may very well be the most powerful and dangerous ideology we have ever known because it is open-ended. This is liberalism."
Campaigning Journalist and Film-maker
Socialism 2007 Conference, Chicago [43min / 21Mb]
[need flash]

[all podcasts..]
Newsletter
To subscribe
enter your email:

COPY VERIFICATION CODEcopy this code —>
Feedback
If you wish to comment on this page:

(all fields optional)



COPY VERIFICATION CODEcopy this code —>
The opinions expressed on this site, unless otherwise stated, are those of the authors.
All logos & trademarks are the property of their respective owners and their use is covered under 'fair use' policy.
Copyright © 1998-2012 Innovative Minds www.inminds.com All Rights Reserved.
The opinions expressed on this site, unless otherwise stated, are those of the authors.
All logos & trademarks are the property of their respective owners and their use is covered under 'fair use' policy.
Copyright © 1998-2012 Innovative Minds www.inminds.com All Rights Reserved.