LGBTQ+ filmmakers to boycott Israel's queer film festival
Over 130 figures in the film industry have chosen to boycott Israel’s upcoming LGBTQ+ film festival in solidarity with Palestinians.
According to Hollywood Reporter, a number of grassroots LGBTQ+ organisations in the occupied territories partnered with the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and the non-violent Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) committee to organise a boycott of the Israeli government-sponsored festival.
The signatories say LGBTQ+ liberation "is intimately connected to the liberation of all oppressed peoples and communities".
They reiterated their commitment "not to submit films or otherwise participate in TLVFest or other events partially or fully sponsored by complicit Israeli institutions until Israel complies with international law and respects Palestinian human rights".
The PACBI said the boycott marks a "new, proactive stand by queer film artists in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice, and dignity".
Out of the signatories, at least a hundred of them are openly a part of the queer community.
Israel's 2020 TLVFest will take place between 4 and 13 June.
Campaigners say there has been a longstanding attempt for people in the film industry to participate in TLVFest, but it remains problematic due to its partnership with Israel's ministry of culture.
Read also: Supporting LGBTQ+ Palestinians shouldn't mean pinkwashing the occupation
Because of this, they accuse Israel of tokenising the LGBTQ+ community to whitewash oppression of Palestinians, an act that is commonly referred to as pinkwashing.
Palestinians have for decades urged boycott as a tool of protest. Activists have organised under the umbrella known as the BDS committee.
BDS is comprised of over 170 Palestinian civil society organisations, unions, and cultural and rights groups - including all major political parties, trade and academic unions - issued its official call for boycott in 2005.
Read also: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel: What is BDS and why should you care?
The non-violent BDS movement says it is inspired by the campaign that targeted South Africa's apartheid regime and is seeking to put an end to Israel's brutal occupation of the West Bank.
Israel sees the movement as a strategic threat and accuses it of anti-Semitism - a claim activists firmly deny, calling it an attempt to discredit them.
But BDS, which adheres to peaceful resistance, aims to pressure Israel to adhere to international law and human rights by lobbying various states, institutions and personas to understand its oppression of Palestinians and take action as a result.
The peaceful movement operates by pressuring corporations, artists and academic institutions to sever ties with Israel with supporters saying activities are aimed at promoting a Palestinian statehood.