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The New Arab Staff

Four filmmakers, judges withdraw from Israeli documentary festival after BDS campaign

BDS accused the festival of 'art-washing' Israel's ongoing occupation of Palestinian land [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 September, 2020

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Four participants of Docaviv 2020 have withdrawn themselves and their entries after a campaign by BDS.
Four participants pulled out of a Tel Aviv documentary film festival, citing its ties to the Israeli government, the most withdrawals seen by any year since the event began.

Jury member Cíntia Gil, Danish director Eva Marie Rødbro, as well as a director and an international guest who chose to remain anonymous withdrew themselves and their entries from Docaviv after being individually contacted by the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

The festival, which took place earlier in September, was targeted by a BDS campaign due to its sponsorship ties to Israel's ministry of culture and Sports, and the ongoing occupation of Palestinian territory.

Alia Malak, of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, thanked the participants who withdrew, saying Docaviv 2020 was complicit in
"art-washing Israel's brutal regime of apartheid, occupation and settler-colonialism".

"Docaviv has never taken a stance in favour of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, as stipulated in international law… support for the peaceful BDS movement continues to grow among artists and diverse communities worldwide," Malak added.

"We urge all international film and TV workers to join them."

Established in 1998, the Docaviv festival has become one of Israel's leading international film events  but in recent years it has faced a slew of criticism and boycotts.

Read also: BDS calls to boycott campaign by Arab-Israeli vlogger Nas Daily citing 'normalisation agenda'

In 2014,
 US activist Grace Lee Boggs protested when American Revolutionary, a biopic on her life, was entered into the festival. Actor and activist Danny Glover, who also appeared in the film, also slammed its inclusion.

BDS, which comprises dozens of Palestinian civil society groups, was established in 2005 as a means to promote various boycotts against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law and provides basic human rights for Palestinians.

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