Newspaper columnist Katie Hopkins arrives dressed in a wedding dress at the Conservative Party's conference in Manchester, Britain October 2, 2017.
(photo credit: PHIL NOBLE/REUTERS)
The premiere of a controversial documentary film from British far-right activist and media provocateur Katie Hopkins was held in Jerusalem Tuesday evening after multiple cancellations and venue changes.
Hopkins – who is regularly labeled an Islamophobe and a racist – arrived in Israel earlier this week to screen the premiere of her film, Homelands, at an event Monday evening in Ra’anana. But that event was canceled, as were two other potential locations, before Hopkins said she finally found a fourth venue.
“Super excited to be here in the heart of Jerusalem,” Hopkins said in a video posted to Twitter on Tuesday evening.
“Despite the best efforts of the very small minded Left... to shut us down – we’ve moved venues three times – still, we have prevailed. Looking forward to welcoming our audience tonight.”
The Uri Zvi Greenberg Legacy House, a cultural institution located on Jaffa Road in Jerusalem, tweeted on Tuesday evening that it hosted the event after a request from Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum.
"We believe in an open political discourse with real freedom of speech, and that means listening to everyone," the venue tweeted.
After being challenged on the decision by Tal Ofer of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Hassan-Nahoum defended her involvement.
"I believe in freedom of speech," she wrote to Ofer. The deputy mayor later said that "there was no hate speech in the movie that was shown so I would suggest you see it before passing judgement."
In a trailer for the film posted on Facebook, Hopkins said the documentary is about “a silent retreat of Jews and Christians from Western Europe” due to the rise of Muslim immigration.
The event was initially scheduled to be held at the Yad Lebanim Cultural Center in Ra’anana on Monday evening, in the presence of Hopkins and producer Janice Atkinson – an independent member of European Parliament who was banned from the far-right UKIP after a racist outburst. But the Ra’anana Municipality confirmed on Twitter over the weekend that “the event will not be taking place in Ra’anana.”
The event was then purportedly rescheduled for Mishkenot Sha’ananim in the capital. But on Tuesday, a representative for the venue said that there was no screening planned there for that evening. The representative declined to comment when asked if the film screening had at one point been scheduled there. According to Haaretz
, the event was then potentially slated for the Begin Center in Jerusalem, before that venue also backed out.
Attempts to reach representatives of Hopkins and Atkinson on Tuesday were unsuccessful.
“Homelands was supposed to do its premiere in Ra’anana,” Hopkins said in an interview on i24 on Monday. She blamed Channel 13 reporter Nadav Eyal for getting the event shut down: “He tried to get it closed down, and what are we doing in return? We’re having it in the heart of Jerusalem, and it will be twice as big as it was before.”
Eyal wrote on Twitter that the organizers are lying about his involvement in the cancellation: “She is a marginal figure, and she can appear freely in Israel - but not in a public location that is in memory of the fallen.”
Parts of the film Homelands were shot in Israel, and it was produced in participation with the Europe of Nations and Freedom faction, a right-wing populist group in the European Parliament that includes Atkinson.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews told The Jewish Chronicle on Tuesday that “the vast majority of our community will remember Jewish history, and be clear that [those on] the far Right are no friends of ours.”
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