Al Sadma (The Shock), by Lebanese film director Ziad Douairi, was shot almost entirely in Tel Aviv, “Israel,” using an Israel crew, and features an Israeli actress. These three unfortunate incidents violate the Lebanese Boycott law of 1955, which prohibits "cooperation with Israeli organizations or businesses whether inside or outside Israel", and led the Minister of Interior to ban the film from Lebanese movie theaters.
When asked in Al-Hayat why he chose to shoot the movie in Tel Aviv, Douairi claimed that he could not find any other city that resembled it (!). As to why he chose an Israeli actress to play the role of a Palestinian suicide bomber, he alleged he could not find any other suitable actress to play the "nudity scenes". Presumably, Palestinians’ refusal to play nudity scenes justifies, in his eyes, breaching boycott laws, as well as the parameters adopted by the majority of Palestinian civil society organizations since 2005.
In the same interview he proclaims that his one-year stay in Israel revealed to him that the Israelis’ "abnormal conduct” and “acts of violence” derive “not only from hatred and discrimination, but also from fear”. However, he did not investigate the real causes behind Israelis’ “fear,” i.e. their OWN practice of “fear,” hatred,” occupation, and discrimination against Palestinians and Arabs, all of which led to one inevitable reaction: Armed and civil esistance.
In an interview conducted by Times of Israel, he announced his desire to participate in Jerusalem Film Festival (the festival was indeed held in occupied Jerusalem in July 2013 with Douairi only participating through Skype in fear of being “punished” by Lebanese authorities). It is worth mentioning that thousands of internationally renowned artists, scientists, and intellectuals, currently boycott any activity, be it cultural or academic, that is taking place in Israel; Dustan Hoffman and Meg Ryan in particular did not participate in the Jerusalem Film Festival that took place in June 2010 following the Freedom Fleet (Flotilla???) massacre.
In an interview with BBC, Douairi further alleged that watching the movie would be the only factor to determine whether it serves normalization with Israel or not. However, the principle of boycott itself, as well as the guidelines that were provided by the Palestine civil society organizations, should be the basis of any decision, not the movie’s content; even if the latter do ates indeed “serve the cause” (an argument that actual viewers like film critic Pierre Abi Saab challenges with regards to Douairi’s film) but contradicts Palestinian consensus as well as BDS guidelines and the Lebanese Boycott law, then that “service” may actually become a disservice. Incidentally, those guidelines may be summarized in the following statement: BDS calls on the international community and people of conscience to boycott Israel, divest from it, and impose sanctions on it so long as it continues to 1) occupy the West Bank And the Gaza Strip; 2) practice racial discrimination against the Palestinians inside 1948 “Israel”; and 3) reject the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.
The international awards that Douairi’s film received cannot whitewash its attempt to normarlize Israeli practices and crimes. Even Qatar, one of the film’s major sponsors and a leading “moderate” Arab country, chose to ban the film from the Doha Film Festival in fear of being accused of promoting normalization with Israel!
In short, theCampaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel in Lebanon condemns shooting the movie in the Israeli usurping entity, as well as using Israeli team and actors, and calls on all Lebanese and Arab artists to boycott all kind of collaboration with the Israelis. Art cannot be, and has never been, separated from politics; any attempt at creating such a separation serves as a tool to whitewash oppression.
Beirut, December 2013
Campaign to Boycott Supporters of "Israel" in Lebanon
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