A fine day to be a Norwegian in US media: Named and Shamed in the New York Times

lifted from the New York Times 

I’m sure this type of media coverage has the film festival weeping with pride.

Watch how TPS now comes into action…. (TPS= Tuches Protection System)

 

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A scene from “The Other Dreamers,” a film about disabled children by Roy Zafrani of Tel Aviv.CreditRoy Zafrani/Magic Productions 

Israeli-Norwegian relations have hardly been a flash point in the troubled history of the Middle East. But a programming decision last week by a film festival in Oslo to reject a film simply for its Israeli-ness may have opened a new chapter in the boycott movement against Israel.

In an apologetic email received on Aug. 10, a filmmaker in Tel Aviv, Roy Zafrani, learned that his short documentary, “The Other Dreamers,” had been rejected by the Human Rights Human Wrongs festival, which focuses on political documentaries.

“We support the academic and cultural boycott of Israel,” wrote Ketil Magnussen, founder of the festival’s parent organization, the Oslo Documentary Cinema. He added that unless Mr. Zafrani’s films were about the “illegal occupation,” the blockade of Gaza, or discrimination against Palestinians, they would not be shown.

“I’m sorry,” he wrote. “Please let me know if you have documentary films that are dealing directly with the occupation.”

Mr. Zafrani, whose film has played dozens of festivals in the United States and abroad and deals with the lives of disabled children at a center near Tel Aviv, said he put news of the rejection, and its reasoning, on his Facebook page without identifying the festival or Mr. Magnussen.

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Roy Zafrani CreditGadi 

“Many people wrote me saying, ‘Let’s send emails, let’s shame him,’ ” he said in an interview. “But I don’t want to hurt anyone, and I don’t think it’s just this guy. I think the larger issue is that there is a boycott — which I can understand and not understand; I’m not political. But I think we should suspend it for some things. Arts. And sports: I just saw an Israeli guy who competed in the disabled Olympics against an Iranian guy, and they were hugging. You don’t see this in any other place.”

Mr. Magnussen did not respond to phone messages and emails, but over the weekend he said on Facebook that he signed a petition supporting the boycott three years ago; is opposed to Israeli policies toward Palestinians; and that although his decision was not about an individual filmmaker or film, the aims of the boycott are sound.

Yet he may have slightly misinterpreted the boycott’s mission: According to Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian activist and a founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (or, B.D.S.) movement, the cultural and academic part of the campaign calls for “boycotts against Israeli institutions that are complicit in Israel’s violations of international law, not against individuals.”

Mr. Barghouti said by email that although he wasn’t familiar with Mr. Magnussen’s reasoning, the cultural boycott guidelines “unambiguously” state that “mere affiliation of Israeli cultural workers to an Israeli cultural institution is therefore not grounds for applying the boycott.” He added, “If, however, an individual is representing the State of Israel or a complicit Israeli institution, or is commissioned/recruited to participate in Israel’s efforts to ‘rebrand’ itself, then her/his activities are subject to the institutional boycott the B.D.S. movement is calling for.”

Mr. Zafrani said he paid for his film himself and enlisted volunteer labor, some from the parents of his subjects.

The boycott movement seems both erratic and widespread: The Times of Israel reported on Sunday that the ex-Hasidic rapper Matisyahu was dropped by a Spanish music festival for refusing to sign an endorsement of a Palestinian state, prompting protests from Jewish groups. Among film festivals, particularly documentary festivals like Human Rights Human Wrongs, policies vary.

“For me, it’s out of the question to boycott Israeli films,” said Ally Derks, director of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, which as far back as 1992 was programming dual Israeli-Palestinian retrospectives. (At the Toronto International Film Festival last year, controversy arose after inclusion of Suha Arraf’s “Villa Touma,” which she designated as “Palestinian” despite having received financial support from Israel.)

Before Mr. Zafrani revealed which festival had rejected his film, some people had assumed it was the Tromso International Film Festival in Norway, said its director, Martha Otte, and “an Israeli citizen posted something very rude and threatening on our website,” now removed.

Ms. Otte, though, said her festival supported the boycott and “has screened films by Israeli filmmakers when they are not financially supported by the Israeli government.”

The B.D.S. movement, which began in 2005 and seeks an end to what it deems “apartheid” Israeli policies, has manifested itself in boycotts of Sabra hummus and of SodaStream home carbonation systems manufactured in the occupied West Bank. The cultural/academic campaign, though, sometimes puts potential supporters in conflict because it seems directed against natural allies.

The Oslo case “clearly shows why the academic/cultural boycott of Israel is so misguided,” said Maurice Samuels, a professor of French at Yale and director of the university’s Program for the Study of Antisemitism. “It targets the very people who are most likely to oppose Israel’s policies on the West Bank. This filmmaker is being singled out because of the actions of his government, not because of any view he holds or action he personally has taken. Imagine the consequences if all Americans were held responsible for the bad things our government does.”

Mr. Barghouti said that even though individuals like Mr. Zafrani were not boycott targets, Israeli cultural institutions were “part and parcel of the ideological and institutional scaffolding of Israel’s regime of occupation.”

“In apartheid South Africa as well as in most situations of severe injustice, art and culture have been used to cover up or whitewash gross violations of human rights,” he added. “The claim that cultural institutions that engage in such propaganda should be ‘exempt’ from accountability measures simply because of the abstract assumption that ‘art and culture are above politics’ is absurd.”

12 comments for “A fine day to be a Norwegian in US media: Named and Shamed in the New York Times

  1. Herbie
    August 20, 2015 at 4:42 am

    When Presid­­­­­ent Barack Obama warned of “international fallout” if Israel fails to embrace the latest U.S. Middle East peace proposal, Newsmax asked noted author and Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz to comment on the growing talk of a European boycott against Israel.

    Why are so many of the grandchildren of Nazis and Nazi collaborators who brought us the Holocaust once again declaring war on the Jews?
    Why have we seen such an increase in anti-Semitism and irrationally virulent anti-Zionism in western Europe?

    To answer these questions, a myth must first be exposed. That myth is the one perpetrated by the French, the Dutch, the Norwegians, the Swiss, the Belgians, the Austrians, and many other western Europeans: namely that the Holocaust was solely the work of German Nazis aided perhaps by some Polish, Ukrainian, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Estonian collaborators.

    False.

    The Holocaust was perpetrated by Europeans : by Nazi sympathizers and collaborators among the French, Dutch, Norwegians, Swiss, Belgians, Austrians and other Europeans, both Western and Eastern.

    If the French government had not deported to the death camps more Jews than their German occupiers asked for; if so many Dutch and Belgian citizens and government officials had not cooperated in the roundup of Jews; if so many Norwegians had not supported Quisling; if Swiss government officials and bankers had not exploited Jews; if Austria had not been more Nazi than the Nazis, the Holocaust would not have had so many Jewish victims.

    In light of the widespread European complicity in the destruction of European Jewry, the pervasive anti-Semitism and irrationally hateful anti-Zionism that has recently surfaced throughout western Europe toward Israel should surprise no one.

    “Oh no,” we hear from European apologists. “This is different. We dont hate the Jews. We only hate their nation-state. Moreover, the Nazis were right-wing. Were left-wing, so we cant be anti-Semites.”

    Nonsense.

    The hard left has a history of anti-Semitism as deep and enduring as the hard right. The line from Voltaire to Karl Marx, to Levrenti Beria, to Robert Faurisson, to todays hard-left Israel bashers is as straight as the line from Wilhelm Mars to the persecutors of Alfred Dreyfus to Hitler.

    The Jews of Europe have always been crushed between the Black and the Red – victims of extremism whether it be the ultra-nationalism of Khmelnitsky to the ultra-anti-Semitism of Stalin.

    “But some of the most strident anti-Zionists are Jews, such as Norman Finkelstein and even Israelis such as Gilad Atzmon. Surely they can ’ t be anti-Semites ? ”

    Why not? Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas collaborated with the Gestapo. Atzmon, a hard leftist, describes himself as a proud self-hating Jew and admits that his ideas derive from a notorious anti-Semite.

    He denies that the Holocaust is historically proved but he believes that Jews may well have killed Christian children to use their blood to bake Passover matzah. And he thinks it’s “rational” to burn down synagogues.

    Finkelstein believes in an international Jewish conspiracy that includes Steven Spielberg, Leon Uris, Eli Wiesel, and Andrew Lloyd Webber!

    “But Israel is doing bad things to the Palestinians,” the European apologists insist, “and we are sensitive to the plight of the underdog.”

    No, you ’ re not! Where are your demonstrations on behalf of the oppressed Tibetans, Georgians, Syrians, Armenians, Kurds, or even Ukrainians? Where are your BDS movements against the Chinese, the Russians, the Cubans, the Turks, or the Assad regime?

    Only the Palestinians, only Israel? Why? Not because the Palestinians are more oppressed than these and other groups.

    Only because their alleged oppressors are Jews and the nation-state of the Jews. Would there be demonstrations and BDS campaigns on behalf of the Palestinians if they were oppressed by Jordan or Egypt ?

    Oh, wait! The Palestinians were oppressed by Egypt and Jordan. Gaza was an open-air prison between 1948 and 1967, when Egypt was the occupying power. And remember Black September, when Jordan killed more Palestinians than Israel did in a century? I don’t remember any demonstration or BDS campaigns — because there werent any.

    When Arabs occupy or kill Arabs, Europeans go ho-hum. But when Israel opens a soda factory in Maale Adumim, which even the Palestinian leadership acknowledges will remain part of Israel in any peace deal, Oxfam parts ways with Scarlett Johansson for advertising a soda company that employs hundreds of Palestinians

    Keep in mind that Oxfam has provided “aid and material support” to two anti-Israel terrorist groups, according to the Tel Aviv-based Israeli Law Group.

    The hypocrisy of so many hard-left western Europeans would be staggering if it were not so predictable based on the sordid history of Western Europe ’ s treatment of the Jews.

    Even England , which was on the right side of the war against Nazism, has a long history of anti-Semitism, beginning with the expulsion of the Jews in 1290 to the notorious White Paper of 1939, which prevented the Jews of Europe fr om seeking asylum from the Nazis in British-mandated Palestine. And Ireland, which vacillated in the war against Hitler, boasts some of the most virulent anti-Israel rhetoric.

    The simple reality is that one cannot understand the current western European left-wing war against the nation-state of the Jewish people without first acknowledging the long-term European war against the Jewish people themselves.

    Theodore Herzl understood the pervasiveness and irrationality of European anti-Semitism, which led him to the conclusion that the only solution to Europe ’ s Jewish problem was for European Jews to leave that bastion of Jew hatred and return to their original homeland, which is now the state of Israel .

    None of this is to deny Israel ’ s imperfections or the criticism it justly deserves for some of its policies. But these imperfections and deserved criticism cannot even begin to explain, must less justify, the disproportionate hatred directed against the only nation-state of the Jewish people and the disproportionate silence regarding the far greater imperfections and deserved criticism of other nations and groups including the Palestinians.

    Nor is this to deny that many western European individuals and some western European countries have refused to succumb to the hatred against the Jews or their state. The Czech Republic comes to mind. But far too many western Europeans are as irrational in their hatred toward Israel as their forbearers were in their hatred toward their Jewish neighbours.

    As author Amos Oz once aptly observed: the walls of his grandparents’ Europe were covered with graffiti saying, “Jews, go to Palestine .” Now they say, “Jews, get out of Palestine ” ? by which is meant Israel.

    Who do these western European bigots think theyre fooling? Only fools who want to be fooled in the interest of denying that they are manifesting new variations on their grandparents’ old biases.

    Any objective person with an open mind, open eyes, and an open heart must see the double standard being applied to the nation-state of the Jewish people. Many doing so are the grandchildren of those who lethally applied a double standard to the Jews of Europe in the 1930s and 1940s.
    For shame!

  2. motti
    August 21, 2015 at 4:09 am

    Herbie, you hit again the nail on the head!

    Prior to the Nazi German invasion of the Soviet Union of the Socialist Republic, the Nazis were leftwing, not right. The National Socialist Workers party of Germany was against all other parties, even the Communists. But really, apart from a possible difference regarding the Jews, even though many of these extremeleft Jews detested their fellow Jews, the fine line between communist and socialist is declining even more today. Regardless of what they are called, these parties want the state to run everything, and I mean everything.

    I remind all of my questionning now for many years; What is the difference between the extreme right wing National Socialist Workers Party, i.e. the Nazis and the extreme (and not so extreme these days) left wing International Socialist (Workers Party) the Socialists? Only the term “Inter.” Period.

    Many years ago in my younger days, I worked on 3 kibbutzim in Israel, with the last one actually asking me to become a meber. Apparently, I was very popular. This was during the Cold War with the Fascist State of the Soviet Union arming, training and politically anti Zionist (not much has changed since) and I was actually shocked to see various Soviet magazines praising the Communist state. Even before and after the Yom Kippur, this charade continued.

    Martin Luther King was recognised by stating that to be anti-Zionist is to be anti-Semitic, which is a nice way of expressing Jew hatred! To deny the Jewish people of their historic homeland is to deny the Jewish people their heritage and their place in the world. That is being anti-Jewish. No other country faces this crap and it is the Kurds which should have been granted all this sympathy and help.

    The Kurds were also promised a homeland but of course Britain and France ensured that did not happen, along with Britain ensuring its place at Suez by doing all it could to stop Jewish immigration while allowing Arabs from all over direct entry into the mandate and allowed them to carry weapons, and not the Jews.

    When I am asked about my feelings abouit the Holocause (Shoah) my usual response is that all of Europe was directly resposible for the torture and slaughter of 6 million Jews aided and abetted indireclty by many other countries including the USA, the British Commonwealth and let us not forget the Vatican, the Church generally, with its historic dream of a Jew-free world with a history of violence, torture, humiliating and exclusion of Jews. Not for nothing is the Church today at the top of the BSD movement. Further more, I point out that the 6 million Jews Europe hated so much have now been replaced by 20 million Muslims and still growing. now that should make Europeans happy. Jews have won the Nobel prize, inventions etc way beyong their numbers. What achievements can the Muslims claim for their recent actions. apart from the slaughter of hundreds of thousands?

    Todays BDS is only a carry on from the 60’s to the 70’s when the official headquarters for the Boycott of Israel was run in that wonderful paradise of a country called Syria. How bloody ironic to excuse the pun!

    Herbie you disagreed with me when I again have called for Israel to cancel its diplomatic relations with Norway (and other Zionist/Jew hating countries), I also want to see all further Jewish/Christian relations put on hold while the World Council of Churches (WCC) continues it crusade against the Jewish state of Israel.

    Greece is calling upon the British government to return statues that are presently on show in the British Museum. Well, what is good for the goose is good enough for the gander. Israel should demand from the Vatican the return of all items stolen from the sacking of Jerusalem by the Romans. Sadly, Isarel is always too nice about such things, which is why she is seen as a an easy prey.

  3. Herbie
    August 21, 2015 at 12:46 pm
  4. Herbie
    August 22, 2015 at 8:58 am

    I don’t disagree with a lot of what you said. However, I do think that cutting off relations is not a good idea. I think it has to be reserved for the most egregious things. Otherwise Israel becomes isolated which is not a good thing. I think pressing an issue and dialogue are critial

  5. motti
    August 24, 2015 at 2:14 am

    Unfortuately Herbire, Israel is fairly isolated now, thanks to the $billions that Saudi Arabia is contributing to its embassies throughout the world to delegitimise Isarel and demonise the Jews. It look as if though that modern democratic monarchy has seen its investment to be successful. Although many countries support the PA, none moree so thasn Norway in western Europe. Norway is conducting a peaceful war against Israel in support of the Jew haters who like nothing more than slaughtering Jews. Israel does not need phoney friends and could save money by pulling out of Norway totally. This will satisfy the Norwegian establishment as well. So what could be better? Better the few friends who are geniuine than two faced countries like Norway.

    I looked up Norad to see how much Norwegian taxpayers have paid the the Palestine authority. In 2014 the amount was over Nkr 740 million. I know Norway is a very tich country due to its oil, however, it can be ascertained that thatnks to the Oslo Accordfs, the PLO became the PA and no government wishes to allow itself to be funding Arab terrorism.

    Herbie, go to http://www.jewishvirtuallibrarry.org/jsource/Peace.ehrenfeld.html. The amount over the years paid to these murderous people has been enormous, even surpassing their own illegal methods of donations to their cause. Every year since 2006 the US Congress prohibits foreign aid to the PA until it stops terror and makes proper advancement towards peace. This has never happened. Presidents Bush (interests in Saudii Arabia) and Obama have continued to issue a waiver to bypass the restrictions.

    I have in the past mentioned on this site that in 1990 the CIA reported that the PLO had assets worth between $8-14 billion. No doubt this was sufficient to pay Arafat’s widow Suha an annual stipend of $16 million to keep quiet about her husbands death and to stay on the island of Malta. She has since mentioned arafat’s death, blaming Israel (untrue said the French physicists) and left the island to live in the most luxurious conditions on the French Riviera.

  6. Herbie
    August 24, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    As I aid, I don’t disagree with a lot of what you say. However, cutting off diplomatic relations silences Israel and really works to the advantage of the BDS movement. Norway’s record is terrible and they have a record of duplicity yet I do not agree that relations should be terminated. would you also have Israel refuse to export to Norway?

  7. motti
    August 25, 2015 at 9:33 am

    How much does Israel export ot Norway. Norway embargoes any military items and boycotts the same. I am unsure exactly what Norway exports to Israel. Hopefully, Norway will not be allowed to plunder the oil and gas off Israel’s coastline.

    Norway disallows Israel to direclty have a voice in the country, with the education, arts, divisions refusing to allow pro-Israel spokepeople from abroad. Thankfully the good people at MIFF, this site, Senter mot antiSemitisme have the courage to face the Norwegian leftwing Fascists and their Islamonazi allies. Norway has a shameful record with the Jews and Israel. yet supposedly is a free democratic country.
    Norway allows the most malicious statements from its own establishment without any condemnation for falsification and misleading of facts. Misinformation is a real Norwegian accomplishment, worthy of a gold medal.

    Norway would suffer greatly within the world of diplomacy if Israel was to cut ties, as it would prove that the country is unfit for service for which it claims to be almost its self governed right. One is inable to call Norway neutral in any way whatsoever.

  8. Herbie
    August 26, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    I understand your point and it is well stated. However, I disagree for the reasons I previously stated. i do not think Israel can afford to become isolated

  9. motti
    August 27, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    You might like to note the article by Dr Manfred Gerstenfeld under the Post Holocaust and anti-Semitism in the Jewish Center for Public Affairs
    jcpa.org/article/the-abuse-of-the-holocaust-memory–in-2011-2012/

  10. motti
    August 28, 2015 at 2:00 am

    Israel is fairly isoplated now. more than it used to be. This is due to many reasons and I suspect the islotaion will worsen till some point when people will see exactly what is happening in front of their eyes.

    If Israel is at war with Hamas and that country is allied with another (Norway), does one spend time on niceties? I think not! Likewise, I fully appreciate and agree with so much that you contribute. However, it might be my age, my having been in Israel during the war of attirion and later during the Yom Kippur War that I have no time for diplomatic niceties when our enemies can be so double faced.

    Norway has the image of a country being at war with the Nazis and only Quisling was a traitor. Well Norway’s history with its Jewish population is quite dismal and as in other European countries at the time of WW2 jt had many collaborators. They were never brought to justice! Why Jews still remain in Norway regardless of any reason is quite beyond me! Norway deserves what it wants and that is to be Jew-free. Ethnic cleansing of Jews in Europe and in Islamic lands is nothing new. It might be interesting to see whn that cleansing is self performed.

  11. Eric R.
    September 2, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    Herb,

    If I am not too late to this — I back Marty/Motti on this. Remember, Europe is under the delusion that it can influence the Mid-East peace process — influence it in such a way that it can create a second Holocaust and finish the work of its Lord and Savior, Adolf Hitler. If Israel continues to take this crap from the Europeans without retaliating in any way, Europe will not reform in the slightest and its pressure on Israel will only get worse.

    Norway makes an excellent target with which to set an example – it is not an EU member, it is not large, it has few Jews, and Israel has little trade with it. And the Norwegians are especially deluded, thanks to Oslo, into believing that they can actually create peace in the region.

    Severing diplomatic relations and expelling all their journalists and NGO workers will help cure them of that.

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