UK film-makers and screenwriters have urged cinemas to boycott an Israeli film festival partly funded by the Israeli government.
In a letter published by the Guardian, the artists said they are “shocked and dismayed to see how many mainstream cinemas – among them Picturehouse and Everyman – are hosting this year’s Israeli film festival, Seret”.
Seret’s funders and supporters include the Israeli government and pro-Israel advocacy groups.
Signatories include directors Ken Loach, Mike Leigh and Roy Battersby, film writer and broadcaster Prof Ian Christie and director and producer Amir Amirani.
The letter highlights a recent United Nations commission into Israel’s repression of Palestinian protests in the occupied Gaza Strip, which concluded that Israeli soldiers’ actions could constitute “war crimes or crimes against humanity”.
The letter continues:
This UN report is the latest in 70 years of reports of mass expulsions, killings, house demolitions, detention without trial, torture, military occupation and military onslaught against the indigenous population, the Palestinians.
“But none of this appears to disturb the cinemas involved in the festival. One is even housing a fundraising screening for an organisation that sponsors non-Israelis to join the Israeli army.”
The authors conclude by stating: “We cannot understand why cultural institutions continue to behave as if Israel is an ordinary democracy. It is not. Palestinians deserve better than this. UK cinemas should not be hosting Seret.”