Monday, August 3, 2009

MIFF 2009: the politics of protest

There was some irony as Australians for Palestine distributed leaflets outside Yoav Shamir's documentary Defamation (Hahmatsa) last night. Their message, coming after Ken Loach's withdrawal of his film from the Melbourne International Film Festival 2009, was not to boycott the festival but to sign the following statement:

As long as Israel continues its apartheid policies and practices in defiance of international law and ignores US President Obama's call to freeze all settlement expansion in the occupied territories immediately, I strongly protest the normalising of relations with Israel through partnership arrangements.
Defamation is a passionate, personal piece of journalism that is also remarkably balanced. We hear the ideas, concerns and opinions of a wide range of people:
  • Yoav’s 92 year-old zionist grandmother who thinks that overseas Jews are more interested in money than religion;
  • African Americans who believe that there is some truth to the long discredited Protocols of Zion;
  • well-off secular American Jews who believe that Israel is an “insurance policy” against future genocide;
  • the bitter and extremely frank Professor Norman Finkelstein who sees conspiracies by pro-Zionists as the problem;
  • academics John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt whose book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy argues that "the lobby's impact has been unintentionally harmful to Israel as well";
  • a teacher and students during their Polish excursion.

A full review is at Cinema Takes:
Defamation: in search of anti-semitism

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