Twenty Palestine solidarity activists briefly interrupted the screening of The Invisible Men at the Roxie Theater on Saturday night to protest the San Francisco LGBT International Film Festival’s relationship with the Israeli government. KC Price, Executive Director of Frameline, which presents the annual festival, was introducing the film when the group “mic-checked” him and presented Frameline with an award for being the “Grand Pinkwasher of 2012.”
The award consisted of a giant pink sponge and a scroll, which read:
‘In recognition of Frameline’s unwavering support of the Israeli government
Its leadership in silencing queers who want their film festival to stand up for the human rights of Palestinians
“Its willingness to ignore the international outcry against Israel’s attacks on Lebanon, Gaza and the international freedom flotilla
Its craven pursuit of funding from corporate raiders and terrorist governments
And its steadfast defiance of the demand by Palestinian queers to stop partnering with the Israeli Consulate
Friends of Israel Apartheid hereby honors FRAMELINE as
GRAND PINKWASHER 2012
And proudly presents you with the
FIRST ANNUAL PINK SPONGE AWARD’
Reaction from the audience was mixed. Some people erupted in applause when the protesters revealed their “Stop Pinkwashing Israeli Apartheid” t-shirts, and there was a hearty round of applause when they finished reading the scroll. An equally loud chorus of boos followed.
Price and the other Frameline officials present were quiet during the reading of the scroll, but then ushers stepped in to hustle the protesters out of the theater. Filmmaker Yariv Mozer, whose appearance at the festival was funded by the Israeli consulate, followed the protesters out to argue about the value of the cultural boycott. One activist asked how he felt about the call of Palestinian queer organizations for Frameline to end its relationship with the consulate.
“I disagree with it,” he responded. “I am sponsored by the Israeli government. I could not make films without the Israeli government….I am helping Palestinians, risking jail to help them….Israel is not some perfect pink society; we have homophobia too….But what’s happening with Israelis is that they still live in a society which is somehow more liberal and democratic than what is happening in the West Bank and Gaza. These regimes that are controlling the West Bank and Gaza are very primitive.”