The Beirut Film Festival is facing a boycott campaign following the participation of an Israeli film.
The Lebanese Boycott Israel Campaign has called for a boycott of the festival because Personal Affairs, a film directed by Maha Haj of Nazareth, Israel, has been included in the program.
The leaders of the campaign have said they were taken aback when they discovered the film was listed as Israeli in the Cannes Festival database, as well as on the website Boutique.com. They said they decided to go ahead with the campaign even though the director is a “1948 Palestinian,” a term used to describe Israel’s Palestinian community, because it is featured as an Israeli production.
They referred to her quote on the Israeli news site Ynet, where she said: “I’m Palestinian and my movie is Israeli. It’s been funded by Israeli film funds and I see no problem with it.”
The campaign also disapproved of “the attempts to embellish the situation and to avoid hurting the feelings of Arabs in Israel by labeling it an Israeli-Palestinian production, but by doing that they made things worse. We don’t recognize anything called Israel-Palestine, and neither do millions of Arabs. According to the overwhelming majority of Arabs, including the Lebanese people and the Lebanese state, it’s an illegal entity that occupies 78 percent of historical Palestine. Adding the word “Palestine” to Israel does not absolve the organizers of legitimizing the appropriation of 78 percent of Israel.”
They said that boycotting the film does not mean that “we have forgotten our people in occupied Palestine of 1948 [Israeli Arabs] who constitute, for us, a bulwark in our fight against Zionism. On the contrary, we strive to cooperate with our brethren there provided they do not label themselves as Israelis and refrain from cooperating with producers, directors, funders and actors. We hope the organizers cancel its participation in a festival that takes place in Beirut, the capital of the national resistance to the Israeli enemy.”