PACBI Statement

Open Letter to the Producers and Directors of After the Silence: Boycott the Haifa International Film Festival!

October 19, 2011

October 19, 2011

Occupied Ramallah

After a series of private exchanges with the producers of the film normal">After the Silence, we at the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) are publicly calling on all those involved with the film to withdraw its screening and their personal participation in the Haifa International Film Festival (HIFF).

As an extravaganza put on by the Israeli cultural and political establishment, this festival in Haifa has become an annual occasion for whitewashing Israeli crimes and trying to place Israel on the cultural map along with other “civilized” countries.  On 30 September 2011, PACBI issued a clear and concise reading of the festival and urged all conscientious artists involved to boycott it. [1] Enjoying sponsorship from various organs of the official Israeli establishment, this festival is clearly an elaborate, well-funded, and well supported attempt on the part of Israeli officialdom to whitewash the draconian, colonial, and apartheid crimes against Palestine and Palestinians.

As we have previously shown, HIFF is sponsored by an Israeli government ministry, the Haifa Municipality, and several Israeli banks and companies that are deeply implicated in Israel’s violations of international law and human rights. [2] The façade of cultural openness and modernity is one that is easily exposed through this closer look at the festival. As such, HIFF is clearly a boycottable event and screening their film therefore violates the boycott, not to mention that it would be a blatant act of normalization in the case of the film’s Palestinian contributors.

Already, and as a response to our call and a sustained campaign by supporters in the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) and other groups in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, John Michael McDonagh, director of the film “Guard” has canceled his planned appearance at the Haifa International Film Festival. [3] This brave stand is in line with the precedent set by internationally acclaimed filmmaker Ken Loach who declared in 2006 that he supported the call by Palestinian film-makers, artists and others to boycott state sponsored Israeli cultural institutions, and urged others to join their campaign. [4]

We particularly appeal to Marcus Vetter, Fakhri Hamad, mso-fareast-language:ZH-CN">Jule Ott, Steffi Burger,
Manal Abdallah
mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-language:ZH-CN">, and the co-producers Filmperspektive, Bukera Pictures, NDR and WDR to withdraw their film. Allowing it to be screened at the HIFF and subsequently manipulated by this key institution of the Israeli state does a great disservice to our growing international movement. With this kind of growing international support, their participation in this festival can only be read as a direct violation of the boycott, and will be used by the Israeli hasbara industry to further provide cover for their continuous occupation, colonialism and apartheid against the Palestinian people. 

We must remind them that the content of the film is irrelevant to whether this festival should be boycotted or not, as our guidelines concern the festival and not the film.  Specifically, clause 3 in the PACBI guidelines for cultural boycott applies to them, and states that an event is boycottable if it “is partially or fully sponsored or funded by an official Israeli body or a complicit institution.” [5]  

We urge them, once again, to heed our simple and clear message of BDS, and to stand with us in this moral, peaceful and effective form of resistance as we struggle for our freedom, justice and equality.












October 19, 2011


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