Nathan Schmidt / Bethlehem
Israel’s embassy in France have announced that they will not be attending the Israeli Film Festival which be showing the film Foxtrot opening night.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry accused the Israel Film Festival organisers of not heading the Ministry’s advice and a ‘more suitable’ film for the event ‘which will include an audience of Jewish donors’.
‘Foxtrot’, directed by Samuel Moaz, depicts the cover up of the death of Palestinian teenagers by the Israeli army.
In an interview with left-wing paper Haaretz on Monday, festival director Helene Schoumann defended the decision to play the film, stating, ‘I really love the movie. I don’t see anything against Israel whatever … So I won’t cancel it. Of course not.’
In an interview with Variety Magazine, Moaz defended his film, saying ‘every humanistic society should strive to be better, to improve itself. And the basic and necessary condition for improvement is the ability to accept self-criticism.’
Moaz’s previous work includes ‘Lebanon’, a 2006 film depicting the 1982 Lebanon War. The film critical of the war and the damning effects of conscription. It Leone d’Oro at the Venice Film Festival.
Last year, ‘Foxtrot’ was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the 2017 Venice Film Festival and was nominated to the short list for the 90th Academy Awards.
Israel’s cultural minister, Miri Regev, has targeted the film in several statements and interviews in which she claims ‘Foxtrot’ was “boosting BDS and Israel’s enemies” and showed “Israeli army soldiers in a deceptive manner as murderers and harms the good name of the Israel Defence Forces.’
BDS organisations have widely mocked the boycott.
‘Boycott the Israeli film festival in Paris? Israel’s doing it,’ said EuroPalestine, a European based organisation supporting BDS.
Regev said she would take steps to prevent the Israeli governmet from supporting the Paris festival.
‘Foxtrot’ and Samuel Moaz’s former works have been accused of fitting into the category of ‘Shooting and Crying’, an Israeli fictional canon in which the depravity of occupation and Israeli’s military endeavours are criticised morally yet fail to address systematic issues or drum up meaningful change.