Israeli Filmmaker Slams German Politicians Branding Speech Antisemitic


No Other Land co-director Yuval Abraham has hit out at German politicians and the Israeli media for branding his award-winning acceptance speech at the Berlin Film Festival on Saturday as “antisemitic.”

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Abraham, part of a collective of four Israeli and Palestinian filmmakers that took home the prize for best documentary at the Berlinale for No Other Land, said he had received death threats and had to cancel his flight back to Israel.

“This happened after Israeli media and German politicians absurdly labeled my Berlinale award speech – where I called for equality between Israelis and Palestinians, a ceasefire and an end to apartheid – as ‘antisemitic’,” Abraham said on social media platform.

“The appalling misuse of this word by Germans, not only to silence Palestinian critics of Israel, but also to silence Israelis like me who support a ceasefire that will end the killing in Gaza and allow the release of the Israeli hostages – empties the word antisemitism of meaning and thus endangers Jews all over the world,” he added.

As the Berlinale this year was overshadowed by political events, including the Israeli-Gaza conflict and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, festival organizers faced a backlash from the local media and German politicians over the awards ceremony on the weekend, where winning filmmakers made statements in support of Palestinians when accepting their trophies.

“The sometimes one-sided and activist statements made by award winners were an expression of individual personal opinions. They in no way reflect the festival’s position,” the Berlinale said in a statement.

No Other Look chronicles the Israeli government’s attempts to expel Palestinians in Masafer Yatta, a rural village in the occupied West Bank. The documentary appeared in Berlin’s Panorama sidebar section, where it won the audience award for best documentary.

Fellow director Basel Adra, who is Palestinian, and Abraham at the Berlinale closing ceremony called on the “powerful people in this room” to call for a ceasefire in Gaza and to “stop the occupation” of the West Bank by Israel.

The complete X post by Yuval Abraham follows:

“A right-wing Israeli mob came to my family’s home yesterday to search for me, threatening close family members who fled to another town in the middle of the night. I am still getting death threats and had to cancel my flight home. This happened after Israeli media and German politicians absurdly labeled my Berlinale award speech – where I called for equality between Israelis and Palestinians, a ceasefire and an end to apartheid – as ‘antisemitic’. The appalling misuse of this word by Germans, not only to silence Palestinian critics of Israel, but also to silence Israelis like me who support a ceasefire that will end the killing in Gaza and allow the release of the Israeli hostages – empties the word antisemitism of meaning and thus endangers Jews all over the world. As my grandmother was born in a concentration camp in Libya and most of my grandfather’s family was murdered by Germans in the holocaust, I find it particularly outraging that German politicians in 2024 have the audacity to weaponize this term against me in a way that endangered my family. But above all else, this behavior puts Palestinian co-director Basel Adra’s life in danger, who lives under a military occupation surrounded by violent settlements in Masafer Yatta. He is in far greater danger than I am. I’m happy our award winning film, No Other Land, is sparking an important international debate on this issue – and I hope that millions of people watch it when it comes out this year. Sparking a conversation is why we made it. You can have harsh criticism of what me and Basel said on stage without demonizing us. If this is what you’re doing with your guilt for the holocaust – I don’t want your guilt.





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