Boycott efforts against Israeli film at Locarno Film Fest by Israelis

Those claims were made a day before by PACBI, which called for a boycott of all films funded by the foundation.

 BDS ACTIVISTS in action (photo credit: GALI TIBBON / AFP)
BDS ACTIVISTS in action
(photo credit: GALI TIBBON / AFP)

A campaign against the screening of the world premiere of an Israeli film at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland has received the support of a group of Israeli filmmakers and artists.

My Neighbor Adolf, a tragicomedy from Russian-born Israeli director Leon Prudovsky (Five Hours From Paris), was scheduled for a screening in Locarno on Thursday, the second day of the festival. However, the group wrote a letter demanding that the screening be canceled because of support for the film from the Rabinovich Foundation’s Israel Cinema Project, Israel’s largest film fund.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the group of artists includes Oscar-nominated director Guy Davidi (Five Broken Cameras), documentary filmmaker Dror Dayan, filmmaker Avi Hershkovitz, artist and musician Liad Hussein Kantorowicz, conductor and violinist Jonathan Ofir, musician and writer Michal Sapir and filmmaker Eyal Sivan. They are claiming that the foundation had attached “racist and explicitly political strings” to its funding.

Those claims, made by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), the cultural arm of the BDS movement, called for a boycott of all films funded by the foundation

PACBI asserted on Wednesday that the Rabinovich Foundation contractually obligates producers to agree that their films do not include any statement or message that denies the “existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.” Those values, it says, contradict the reporting of human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem, which have all described Israel as deploying an “apartheid” system against Palestinians.

 ISRAELI TOURISTS encounter a BDS stand at Dam Square in Amsterdam. (credit: HADAS PARUSH/FLASH90) ISRAELI TOURISTS encounter a BDS stand at Dam Square in Amsterdam. (credit: HADAS PARUSH/FLASH90)

The Israeli artists' statement

“This regime of oppression [Israel] was founded through the violent displacement and dispossession of most of the Indigenous Palestinian population,” the Israeli artists wrote in their statement. “That the Israeli state, its complicit institutions and influential lobby groups would want us as Jewish Israelis to remain silent on this systematic ethnic cleansing is not surprising. But storytellers accepting such censorial and unethical conditions for their film projects is an undeniable form of complicity in covering up this ongoing Nakba that Palestinians face.”

The Rabinovich Foundation told The Hollywood Reporter that the excerpts of its contract cited by PACBI were not new, and had been added not by the foundation itself but by Israeli law legislated in 2011.

"This regime of oppression [Israel] was founded through the violent displacement and dispossession of most of the indigenous Palestinian population. That the Israeli state, its complicit institutions and influential lobby groups would want us as Jewish Israelis to remain silent on this systematic ethnic cleansing is not surprising."

Israeli artists

“This Israeli law obliges all institutions funded by the State of Israel (film funds, theaters, dance groups etc.),” it stated. “Like all Israeli film funds, the Rabinovich Foundation is funded by the Israel Culture and Sport Ministry, and like all Israeli film funds, the foundation is obliged by this law.”

My Neighbor Adolf stars David Hayman (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Sid and Nancy) as a Holocaust survivor living in Colombia in 1960, in the period just after Nazi Adolf Eichmann was caught by Mossad agents in Argentina. When a mysterious old German (Udo Kier) moves in next door, he begins to suspect his new neighbor is Adolf Hitler. But to find the evidence, he will first have to get closer to his neighbor, so close that there is a danger the two could become friends.