Edinburgh International Film Festival accepts funding from Israel

Dear Supporter of Palestinian rights

The Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) has again accepted funding from the Israeli Embassy, while people in Gaza are still living in the rubble of their homes, and Gaza victims of Israel’s white phosphorous attacks are still in critical care.

In 2006, a public outcry forced the EIFF to return Israel’s tainted money. On that occasion the EIFF stated publicly that its action was due to popular outrage at the massacres Israel had recently committed in Lebanon:

This funding was secured some three months ago, well before the commencement of current hostilities in Lebanon. Of course we acknowledge that the situation has altered dramatically since then, and with this in mind, took the decision early yesterday to decline any funding from the Israelis.

The Director’s decision to again associate the Israeli Government with the EIFF comes after the massacres of over 1400 people in Gaza, during which:

  • The United Nations said the IDF intentionally burned its food stores in Gaza
  • Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International accused the army of illegally using phosphorous bombs in densely populated areas
  • The International Red Cross described the injured being denied medical attention and strikes on medical crews
  • Israeli journalist Amira Hass wrote of the killing of people flying white flags and the annihilation of entire families
  • British MP Gerald Kaufmann described Israel’s mass killing as ‘Nazi’
  • The UN General Assembly President called for a world-wide boycott of ‘apartheid Israel’

Only a few days ago, on May 1st, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Palestine condemned ‘the recent wave of eviction orders and demolitions of Palestinian houses’. Israel’s ongoing crimes include the murder of unarmed protesters, the burning of olive groves and other farmland, the continued imposition of a brutal siege of Gaza, and the extension of its apartheid Wall, declared illegal by the International Court. It is unbearable that EIFF should accept sponsorship from such a Government.
Faced with such awful crimes, Israeli poet Aharon Shabtai had no choice:

I do not believe that a State that maintains an occupation, committing on a daily basis crimes against civilians, deserves to be invited to any kind of cultural week. That is, it is anti-cultural; it is a barbarian act masked as culture in the most cynical way. It manifests support for Israel.

We hope the EIFF will follow the example the Bloomsbury Theatre which recently cancelled a performance involving Israeli military personnel. Failing this, we will:

  • organise pickets at EIFF events
  • publicise the Festival’s links with the Israeli Embassy locally and internationally
  • call for a boycott of the 2009 events to protest Israel’s massacres of the Palestinian people

Please protest to the EIFF personally, stating that

  • you view the link with the Israeli Embassy as collusion in Israel’s recent and ongoing crimes
  • such a link brings discredit on the Festival, the City and Scotland
  • you will not participate in any of the events unless the Israeli Government money is returned
  • you support the planned protest and calls for a boycott if the link with the Israeli Embassy is maintained
  • you are not taking issue with any films being shown; it is opposition to accepting funding from a murderous regime

SPSC would appreciate being cc’d on any correspondence – please send to secretary@scottishpsc.org.uk

Contact the EIFF:

Edinburgh International Film Festival
88 Lothian Road
Edinburgh EH3 9BZ
Tel: 00 44 (0)131 228 4051
Fax: 00 44 (0)131 229 5501


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1 Response to Edinburgh International Film Festival accepts funding from Israel

  1. Pingback: EIFF return funding! « Tayside for Justice in Palestine

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