Tel Aviv Cinematheque to host anti-Israel events

Two leading organizations of Israel’s radical left will mark International Human Rights Day at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Two leading organizations of Israel’s radical left will mark International Human Rights Day on December 10 at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque with actors reading testimonies from Arab terrorists and the screening of a movie blaming Israel for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

In honor of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, MachsomWatch will feature actors Sara Vino-Ela and Gavri Banai reading testimonies of security prisoners, followed by the play “The Last Arab,” Arutz 7 reported. According to the Cinematheque website, however, details of the MachsomWatch program will be announced on the day of the show.

MachsomWatch describes itself as a volunteer organization of peace activists who oppose Israel’s “occupation” in the West Bank – Judea and Samaria – and its purported denial of Palestinian human rights. The NGO demands the removal of army checkpoints, claiming they “severely restrict Palestinian daily life.”

NGO Monitor, a watchdog that analyzes and reports on the output of the international NGO community from a pro-Israel perspective, has documented MachsomWatch’s harassment of IDF soldiers at checkpoints that are manned to prevent the infiltration of terrorists into Israel. MachsomWatch reports, photos and videos use “emotive and politically charged language that contributes to the demonization of Israel,” while calling upon other countries to “stop investing in the Israeli occupation,” NGO Monitor notes.

Another showing that evening at the Cinematheque will be b’Tselem’s “A View on Gaza,” which includes clips that “illustrate the terrible distress” of Palestinians in the Hamas-ruled enclave, such as a lack of clean water and electricity and high unemployment. There will also be live audience participation in a video call with an Arab b’Tselem activist in the Strip.

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B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, has spent the last 29 years trying to end the “occupation,” saying it is the only way to ensure “human rights, democracy, liberty and equality to all people, Palestinian and Israeli alike.”

In October, Hagai El-Ad, its executive director, harshly denounced Israel at the UN Security Council, charging that Israel’s killing of Palestinian terrorists, demolition of their homes and arrest of terror suspects was deliberate government policy carried out to “split up an entire people.” He also called the terrorist-run Gaza Strip “an open-air prison.”

Nakba Film Fest in Tel Aviv

The Tel Aviv Cinematheque, which receives government funding, has supported anti-Israeli cultural events several times in recent years. In 2013, 2014 and 2017, for example, it held a Nakba film festival. Nakba is the Arab word for ‘catastrophe,’ referring to the establishment of the Jewish state.

In 2016, it hosted an event that lauded conscientious objectors who were jailed because they refused to serve in an “army of occupation,” as they called the IDF. The program was part of an annual Nakba Day event at the venue organized by the Festival for Solidarity with Cinema, Activism and Human Rights.

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Four years ago, Limor Livnat, then-minister of culture, aimed to cut state funding for the Cinematheque, which was then NIS 1.8 million. She based her request on the budget law that stated that government-supported institutions could not hold events that deny Israel’s right to exist, such as commemoration of the country’s Independence Day as a day of mourning.

The more-recent anti-Israel cultural evenings were blasted by current Minister of Sports and Culture Miri Regev. Last year, she asked the finance ministry to fine the Tel Aviv art-house. “While is Israel is celebrating 70 years, the Cinematheque State is trying to remember and sanctify the Nakba. Not on my watch,” she stated.

Cultural Loyalty Bill passes 3rd reading

This year, Regev proposed the Cultural Loyalty Bill, which would give the culture minister, rather than the finance minister, power to withhold public funding for cultural organizations “that are working against the principles of the state.” The bill, which passed its second and third reading Tuesday afternoon, has aroused controversy as opposition lawmakers castigated it as promoting government censorship.

“There is no culture if the government controls it,” said opposition leader Tzipi Livni during the debate over the law. “Instead of culture, we’ll get propaganda.”

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In a TV interview Tuesday morning, Regev reiterated her stand. “It’s a correct law,” she insisted. “There’s no reason that public funding should fund incitement against the State of Israel and delegitimization of officers and soldiers of the IDF.”