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Jewish filmmaker in fear of his life from ‘Israeli mob’ for calling out Israeli apartheid 

February 29, 2024 at 11:32 am

Israeli director Yuval Abraham speaks on stage after having received the Berlinale documentary award for ‘No Other Land’ during the awards ceremony of the 74th Berlinale International Film Festival, in Berlin on 24 February, 2024 [JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images]

Israeli filmmaker Yuval Abraham is now fearing for his life after calling for equality between Jews and Palestinians during his award acceptance speech on Saturday at the Berlinale, one of the world’s most prestigious film festivals. Abraham, 29, was presented with the Berlinale’s best documentary award for No Other Land, which charts the eradication of Palestinian villages in Masafer Yatta in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Abraham received the award with his Palestinian co-director Basel Adra.

During his speech, Abraham decried Israel’s illegal occupation as a “situation of apartheid” and called for a ceasefire in Gaza. Israeli Ambassador to Germany Ron Prosor was quick to condemn the speech as anti-Semitic “under the guise of art.” Meanwhile, Berlin officials opened a clearly biased investigation into whether Abraham’s remarks reflected a wide range of views. Further fanning hostility, Israel’s Channel 11 also branded the ceasefire appeal as “anti-Semitic speech.”

The filmmaker has accused his critics of incitement after receiving death threats from an “Israeli mob”, and is now fearing for his life. “A right-wing Israeli mob came to my family’s home yesterday to search for me, threatening close family members who fled to another town in the middle of the night,” said Abraham on X. “I am still getting death threats and had to cancel my flight home.” He changed his plans during a stop-off in Greece, when he learned of the ferocity of the backlash in Israel.

He condemned the “appalling misuse” of the term anti-Semitism by Germans, not only to silence Palestinian critics of Israel, but also to silence Israelis like him who support a ceasefire that will end the killing in Gaza. Abraham called the weaponisation of the word against Jews “particularly outraging” given that some of his family members perished in German Nazi concentration camps.

“As my grandmother was born in a concentration camp in Libya and most of my grandfather’s family was murdered by Germans in the Holocaust, I find it particularly outraging that German politicians in 2024 have the audacity to weaponise this term against me in a way that endangered my family,” said Abraham. “But above all else, this behaviour puts Palestinian co-director Basel Adra’s life in danger, who lives under a military occupation surrounded by violent settlements in Masafer Yatta. He is in far greater danger than I am.”

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