Filmmakers Boycott Tel Aviv LGBT Film Festival over Pinkwashing

A total of 9 artists and filmmakers joined BDS call to boycott Tel Aviv LGBT International Film Festival (Photo: via Twitter)

A total of nine artists and filmmakers have joined the BDS movements call to boycott the Tel Aviv LGBT International Film Festival (TLVFest), running from May 31 to June 9.

The move also follows calls from the Pinkwatching Israel, which defines itself as “a global movement against Israeli pinkwashing and for BDS,” for groups to refuse to participate in the festival, in line with the academic and cultural boycott on Israel.

Israel uses “Pinkwashing” as a strategy to show itself as an LGBTQI friendly country, reinforce the “only democracy in the Middle East” narrative and divert attention from its massive violation of human rights against the Palestinian population, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.

The first wave of cancellations was spearheaded by Brazil’s activist Linn da Quebrada, one of the country’s most prominent voices of the working class black LGBT community.

Da Quebrada said:

“Knowing that in Israel there are also people who suffer from oppression over their bodies and desires, I decided to cancel my participation, joining the cultural boycott that has grown in the last few months around the world, as a form of protest against Israel and its genocidal policies over Palestinians.”

At the same time, directors Claudia Priscilla and Kiko Goifman withdrew their documentary film.

Decidimos BOICOTAR o TLVFest, por profunda discordância com a POLÍTICA GENOCIDA do Governo de Israel. Cancelamos a…

Gepostet von Kiko Goifman am Donnerstag, 24. Mai 2018

Also, the Pakistani Aks International Minorities Festival decided to withdraw its short film program and participation in the festival.

“Aks has long promoted human rights and stands in solidarity with activists from Palestine, particularly queer Palestinian activists, to oppose the violation of Palestinian civil rights by the Israeli government.”

Following calls from French and Palestinian queer activists, the French director Sylvain Coisne called off his participation from the festival and issued a statement on Facebook explaining his reasons.

He said:

“I decided to remove my short film ‘Dylan Dylan’ from the TLVFest screenings, in support of the public call of LGBT for Palestine movement. I want to stand by fellow filmmakers who publicly criticize Israel’s violent politics through the boycott of state-funded events. Financing LGBT festivals is important but not to use it as a tool for the ‘Brand Israel’ strategy of pinkwashing.”

However, his short-film still appears on the schedule, as the festival organizers said that tickets had already been sold and that the screening would go on against his will. Other filmmakers are facing a similar position as the festival has refused to remove their films from the schedule.

In response to the waves of cancellations, the festival director Yair Hochner said that “whoever canceled, canceled. As far as we are concerned the festival will continue normally,” suggesting that programmed films would screen anyway.

Hind Awwad, from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), said that many directors were not aware their films were screened at the pinkwashing festival due to “contractual agreements with distributors who place the movies in international festivals without necessarily checking with filmmakers.”

(TeleSur, PC, Social Media)

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