‘5 Broken Cameras’ co-director’s boycott call angers Israeli consul, who brags on the doc

on 14 Comments

On MSNBC yesterday, Emad Burnat told Andrea Mitchell that “5 Broken Cameras,” the Oscar-nominated documentary that he co-directed, is a Palestinian movie. The Forward says the Israeli consulate is bragging on the film, which demonstrates the cruelty of the occupation, as proving Israel’s diversity of opinion; though Burnat’s Israeli co-director has endorsed boycott:

Despite his effort to put a positive spin on the movies’ Oscars nods, [Israeli Consul General in L.A. David] Siegel did lash out at Guy Davidi, co-creator of “5 Broken Cameras” for backing an international boycott on Israel in order to force it to end the occupation.

“This is a cynical PR maneuver aimed at promoting the movie’s chances to win an Oscar,” said David Siegel, Israel’s Consul General in Los Angeles. In a Thursday interview Siegel went on to ask whether Davidi’s call for a boycott “would also include the Israeli funds that provided support to his movie.”

The creators of “5 Broken Cameras,” Davidi, who is an Israeli, and Palestinian filmmaker Emad Burnat, made clear from the outset they do not view their movie as representing Israel and would refuse any attempt by Israeli government officials to embrace their success.

Is boycott really so hip that it would please the Academy? I doubt that. But things are changing fast!

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Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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14 Responses

  1. W.Jones
    February 23, 2013, 1:01 pm

    Dear Phil,

    Asa Winstanely of the Globe and Mail reports that the Israeli co-director, Guy Davidi, told her the Israeli National News story made up quotes by him and never interviewed him. The INN story says:

    Director of Oscar-nominated anti-Israel film says the film is only “technically” Israeli

    “It’s a joint Israel-Palestinian movie,” he added.

    “I don’t remember seeing movies about the lives and struggles of Palestinians”


    • W.Jones
      February 23, 2013, 1:17 pm

      Winstanely reports that in fact, Davidi had said on his facebook page: “it’s first and foremost also a Palestinian film,” as well as an Israeli film.

  2. piotr
    February 23, 2013, 2:47 pm

    There was a discussion if Israel has admirable diversity of opinion etc.

    The fact that the movie was at last in part financed by Israeli Film Fund and thus by the ministry of Sports and Culture is admirable.

    Can one call for sanctioning the admirable? I think that sanctions are ultimately a political tool to change behavior that we find detestable, and if this behavior coincides with admirable behavior that does not constitute a free pass. Otherwise a Nobel Prize Winner in Medicine would be entitled to rape some teenage girls etc.

    • pabelmont
      February 23, 2013, 4:31 pm

      BDS is confusing. The purpose, as I see it, maybe not the way others see it, is to educate the world about Israeli crimes and H/R outrages, to educate Israelis generally about the same things, to put pressure on ALL ISRAEL through all paths of pressure — economic, cultural, sport, diplomatic (if we ever put the “S” into “BDS”), etc., and the pressure will likely hurt all Israelis even those who agree with the goals of BDS.

      Praising a man for his medical discoveries is not to praise him for making lampshades or raping teenage girls. A nobel prize in medicine is certainly not likely to be construed as condoning those things. It might even be refused or withdrawn in such circumstances.

      The old prize, “First Prize for Victims” once given to Jews generally and misappropriated by Zionists as a badge for their enterprise should be withdrawn and, maybe, now awarded to the Palesetinians for putting up with Zionism for 66 years.

      • JennieS
        February 23, 2013, 11:06 pm

        As I see it the purpose of the BDS movement is to
        1) draw attention, both inside Israel and in the wider world, to Israel;i abuses of Palestinians
        2) as the boycotts (hopefully) take hold among the public start to affect the economics of companies selling Israeli products or undertaking contracts in Israeli and especially the occuipied territories, which will then
        3) (again hopefully) lead to affected companies putting pressure on their home countries’ governments to stop their support of Israel’s behaviour.

        When (if) the movement gains sufficient support it will adversly affect alll Israelis, regardless of their political opnions, and Palestinians as well. In that sense BDS is something of a blunt instrument but it is still preferable IMOH to another violent uprising by Palestinians which have generally tended to elicit sympathy for Israelis.

  3. justicewillprevail
    February 23, 2013, 3:53 pm

    So keen to take credit for something they cannot stop, you wonder if these knaves and fools have actually watched it, or if so, have understood a single thing about its contents. Gideon Levy was in no doubt about its message:

    “This documentary should make every decent Israeli ashamed of being an Israeli. It should be shown in civics classes and heritage classes. The Israelis should know, at long last, what is being done in their name every day and every night in this ostensible time of no terror. ….

    This documentary proves that, for the locals, the reality of the occupation is that there is no such thing as nonviolent struggle. For the information of those who preach nonviolence (from the Palestinians ): The Israel Defense Forces soldiers and the Border Police will ensure that it becomes violent. …Anyone who watches this film understands that it is very difficult to face the wall, the settlement project and the soldiers – all of which scream “violence” – and remain nonviolent. Nearly impossible….
    Anyone who behaves this way in his dark backyard cannot boast about what happens in his enlightened show window, with all that high tech and democracy. Anyone who knows what is happening in Bil’in and the other villages understands that a state that behaves in this way cannot be considered democratic or enlightened.”

    And so on.

    That the consul can try and take credit for this film, while blithely ignoring and NOT taking credit for the inhuman actions and attitudes of his soldiers and his settlers tells you a lot about the twisted psyche of Israel, which is so much in denial of the crimes it commits against a poor, defenceless people, that when it sees them, it shrugs and carries on, entirely unmoved, uninterested and secretly approving of the violent ethnic cleansing they commit. Depraved people.

  4. MLE
    February 23, 2013, 4:25 pm

    I think its really unlikely that “Five Broken Cameras” is going to win. I think it’s great and groundbreaking that it was nominated but thinking about the politics of what goes into the voting process and the fact that the voters make up the older generations of Hollywood elite, I’m just going to say they’re not going to let it win.

    I watched how to survive a plague and it was really good too. It’s hard to remember when AIDS was a literal death sentence because i was so young when it happened and the debate over bringing drugs to the market quicker or taking the time to make sure they really work well is interesting (coming from the daughter of a research statistician for “Big Pharm”). Still liked five broken cameras better but it was interesting.

    Also, they really just need to make these movies more available to the public. I want to see gatekeepers but its only playing in New York and I can’t go see it. Can filmmakers self publish to amazon or iTunes or google so the public can see their work instead of limiting it to the theater circuit?

    • Cliff
      February 23, 2013, 6:04 pm

      How To Survive A Plague is going to win. It’s within that comfortable/ok-to-be-progressive-on-this-issue sphere known as gay rights.

      So all the PEPs will come out to support the movie. All the apolitical types will. And surely all the Zionists will.

      It’s just too much for the Hollywood machine to allow a Palestinian to give a speech to millions of Americans should he win.

      The spotlight is unbearable enough. So much so that the absurdists in the Israeli politic are spinning the film as ‘Israeli’.

      This movie is just a good first step. Israel thrives when no one is paying attention. That is when it builds the Jewish colonies and kills Palestinians at whim. No one cares unless it’s a chunk of casualties at a time. But the killing is on-going, slowly and the ethnic cleansing is on-going, slowly.

      That’s how Israel plays the game. It doesn’t need a solution or peace because it has effective peace and effective victory. It just needs to stall and refuse compromise (because the Palestinians have nothing to barter or intimidate or pressure).

      That is why you have Palestinian terrorism. That is the only pressure Palestinians could use for so long.

      Now Palestinians are using non-violence because it’s bringing attention to the conflict and it’s a rallying cry and it’s effective to an extent.

      If Palestinians didn’t have BDS they’d have nothing else but the usual pattern of violence and quiet desperation and violence and quiet desperation.

  5. DICKERSON3870
    February 23, 2013, 5:30 pm

    RE: “Is boycott really so hip that it would please the Academy? I doubt that. But things are changing fast!” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Perhaps things are not really changing so fast. Accoring to Guy Davidi, industry insiders have warned him that pressure has been exerted on the Academy to stop either 5 Broken Cameras or The Gatekeepers from winning the Oscar® for Best Documentary.

    SEE: “Pictures speak volumes in Oscar-nominated Israeli films”, By Jonathan Cook, Israeli Occupation Archive, 2/20/13

    [EXCERPT] Israelis have been revelling in the prospect of an Oscar night triumph next week, with two Israeli-financed films among the five in the running for Best Documentary. But the country’s right-wing government is reported to be quietly fuming that the films, both of which portray Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories in a critical light, have garnered so much attention following their nominations.
    Guy Davidi, the Israeli co-director of 5 Broken Cameras, one of the finalists, says industry insiders had warned him that pressure was being exerted on the Academy to stop the films winning the award.
    “Many people in Hollywood are working very hard to make sure that neither film wins,” he says. “From Israel’s point of view, an Oscar would be a public relations disaster and mean more people get to see our films.”

    Davidi’s film is a searing account by the Palestinian filmmaker Emad Burnat of a six-year period in his West Bank village during which the residents non-violently protested an Israeli wall that cut off their farmland.
    Israeli soldiers are shown beating, tear-gassing and shooting the villagers and solidarity activists. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.jonathan-cook.net/2013-02-20/pictures-speak-volumes-in-oscar-nominated-israeli-films/

  6. joer
    February 23, 2013, 5:47 pm

    So they take everything away from a man, and then say he should be grateful since he managed to document the crime in action.

    About BDS, I think it should be married to a goal or else it will be open to the charge that its motivation is an irrational hatred of Israel. And without claiming to speak for Palestinians, I believe that cause should be: The right of return with equal rights. Only mentioning the occupation has gotten somewhat lame over time.

    How’s this for a slogan: BDS for Equal Rights. A lot of people will be for it before they even realize it has anything to do with Israel.

  7. Ismail
    February 23, 2013, 6:19 pm

    Don’t know about iTunes or Amazon or Google, but Five Broken Cameras is available for streaming on Netflix. If you’re not a member, they offer a free trial period.

  8. justicewillprevail
    February 23, 2013, 6:20 pm

    And in Furkan Dogan’s case, they didn’t just break the camera, they murdered the cameraman. I don’t see the Israeli consul bragging about how that makes Israel a ‘tolerant’ society.

  9. LisaAK
    February 24, 2013, 11:27 am

    “5 Broken Cameras” was nominated in the Best Documentary category. If it was nominated in the category of Best Foreign Film, there can be a national “claim” to the film. However, there is no national identity in the Best Documentary category. This film is a Palestinian story, told by a Palestinian. He joined with his friend, an Israeli filmmaker, to make it into a documentary. It was produced by a French company. And both filmmakers have said it is a Palestinian film.

    That being said, I love the controversy because it will likely inspire more people to see the film. And if there is a rumor of a BDS boycott, all the better: then the very people who need to see it most will see it just to spite BDS! (technically, however, it doesn’t meet the requirements for BDS – SHHH, don’t tell).

    Finally, if it wins – awesome! But, just by being nominated, the subject of the film will be announced, it will no-doubt be mentioned that it is was a joint effort by a Palestinian and an Israeli filmmaker, and they will show a clip from the film. That will give it worldwide exposure, and lead to more people seeing what I think is the best film about the Occupation thus far.

    • Citizen
      February 24, 2013, 1:49 pm

      The odds are very heavily against subject film winning. Like 2% chance at most, given the trajectory Hollywood has made in last 30 years.

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