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« Mail & Guardian Interviews Finkelstein | Main | Joel Pollak to Run for Congress »

September 03, 2009


Anon i mouse

Subject: Zakie Acmat at it again - Israel Bashing - lets get this movie to our counties asap!!!

Sign protest letter below to protest Israel promotion at the Toronto International Film FestivalShare
Yesterday at 1:43pm
Dear Friends

If you work in the film, culture and media arts and human rights communities please sign this letter to protest the promotion and branding of Israel at the Toronto International Festival. Iconic Canadian film-maker has withdrawn his short film on the repression of gay people in Sarajevo.

The protest letter was drafted by Israeli film-maker Udi Aloni with Canadians. It has been signed by Sophie Fiennes, Danny Glover, Jane Fonda, Elia Suleiman and Naomi Klein.


Zackie Achmat

Please consider signing the following letter and/or circulate widely.
To sign, write to [email protected]

As members of the Canadian and international film, culture and media arts communities, we are deeply disturbed by the Toronto International Film Festival’s decision to host a celebratory spotlight on Tel Aviv. We protest that TIFF, whether intentionally or not, has become complicit in the Israeli propaganda machine.

In 2008, the Israeli government and Canadian partners Sidney Greenberg of Astral Media, David Asper of Canwest Global Communications and Joel Reitman of MIJO Corporation launched “Brand Israel,” a million dollar media and advertising campaign aimed at changing Canadian perceptions of Israel. Brand Israel would take the focus off Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and its aggressive wars, and refocus it on achievements in medicine, science and culture. An article in Canadian Jewish News quotes Israeli consul general Amir Gissin as saying that Toronto would be the test city for a promotion that could then be deployed around the world. According to Gissin, the culmination of the campaign would be a major Israeli presence at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. (Andy Levy-Alzenkopf, “Brand Israel set to launch in GTA,” Canadian Jewish News, August 28, 2008.)

In 2009, TIFF announced that it would inaugurate its new City to City program with a focus on Tel Aviv. According to program notes by Festival co-director and City to City programmer Cameron Bailey, “The ten films in this year’s City to City programme will showcase the complex currents running through today’s Tel Aviv. Celebrating its 100th birthday in 2009, Tel Aviv is a young, dynamic city that, like Toronto, celebrates its diversity.”

The emphasis on 'diversity' in City to City is empty given the absence of Palestinian filmmakers in the program. Furthermore, what this description does not say is that Tel Aviv is built on destroyed Palestinian villages, and that the city of Jaffa, Palestine’s main cultural hub until 1948, was annexed to Tel Aviv after the mass exiling of the Palestinian population. This program ignores the suffering of thousands of former residents and descendants of the Tel Aviv/Jaffa area who currently live in refugee camps in the Occupied Territories or who have been dispersed to other countries, including Canada. Looking at modern, sophisticated Tel Aviv without also considering the city’s past and the realities of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza strip, would be like rhapsodizing about the beauty and elegant lifestyles in white-only Cape Town or Johannesburg during apartheid without acknowledging the corresponding black townships of Khayelitsha and Soweto.

We do not protest the individual Israeli filmmakers included in City to City, nor do we in any way suggest that Israeli films should be unwelcome at TIFF. However, especially in the wake of this year’s brutal assault on Gaza, we object to the use of such an important international festival in staging a propaganda campaign on behalf of what South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and UN General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann have all characterized as an apartheid regime.

This letter was drafted by the following ad hoc committee:
Udi Aloni, filmmaker, Israel; Elle Flanders, filmmaker, Canada; Richard Fung, video artist, Canada; John Greyson, filmmaker, Canada; Naomi Klein, writer and filmmaker, Canada; Mazen Masri, lawyer and academic, Canada; David Wall, composer and musician, Canada; Kathy Wazana, filmmaker, Canada; Cynthia Wright, writer and academic, Canada; b h Yael, film and video artist, Canada

It has been endorsed by the following:


So why can't Zachie send an email to whomsoevere he wants? You Jews want to control everything.

by the way, i hope to be able to visit these Jews in prison in SA!


You've got it wrong Fex, we Jews do in fact control everything.

Ergo your hope is in vain.


Despite many shortcomings, the NPA are not stupid or blind to the potential Muslim fallout of this case. Hence they appropriately ignored the initial request at prosecution by Zakie Acmat and the PSM a few months ago.
As Dugard himself admits, even proving that South Africans IDF soldiers were in the vicinity of the fighting will be hard enough o prove.
On the other hand, if the NPA does begin investigations into the activities of South Africans participating in armed conflict in contravention of SA law and its status within the ICC, it, (the NPA investigation) will also focus on South African who volunteered and took part in violent military activities in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. The names and involvement of South African who participate in these areas is well documented and easier to prove.
The number of South Africans implicated and the Muslim recruitment network for such activities is something both the SA government and the Muslim community want to keep quiet.


I think Shaun is spot on here.

Religious Fundamentalist 1

Point 1
What I do find interesting about anon i mouse's post, although completely off topic and rather irrelevant to IAS at all, is that's it's a rerun of the identity politics of the Obama/Clinton face-off.

With O/C it was black vs feminist. With the email above it's gay vs anti-Israel. In the past, "cultural sensitivity" aka dhimmitude has typically won out over gay rights (not to mention women's rights) I wouldn't be surprised if the same plays out here.

Point 2
On a separate note, South Africans conscripted to the IDF might not be too stressed to lose their SA passport. After all, an Israeli passport is worth more in terms of mobility. Nifty afghany or pakistani passports are probably a little less "fungible" into Europe/US as one from Lenz. More specifically though, one might ask, having grown up in the Northern suburbs of JHB, would you be comfy in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv or equivalent without coming back to SA. Well, except for Kruger, probably yes.

On the other hand, assuming you grew up in Lenz, it can get mighty chilly in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, and I hear the mountain goats aren't that good at helping with the loneliness, syphillis aside. Who gets the worse deal?


Thank you RF1 for that image - I'll be vising my local hypnotherapist to erase that image from my mind.

Here's the question:
Given what both haun and RF1 have pointed out but also taking into account that becoming too vocal and aggressive has usually not ended well for any Jewsih community in the last 2 thousand years:

Would publically making a noise about the about mentioned SA Mujahedin be an effective way of getting the Muslim community to back down?

The natural politics seem to argue that they will surely back down, but then again, the Jewish peoples' interaction with her enemies tens to be almost supernatural.


Interesting points.

I think there may be a tacit understanding between the mainstream Muslim and Jewish communities in SA. Both know about the activities and allegiances of the other, but neither the Muslim, nor the Jewish community wish to draw to much attention to the negative perceptions and”defensive” arrangements that exist with their respective communities.
The same is true with regards to Jews serving in the IDF and Muslim volunteers in Islamic conflict zones.
I am reasonably sure that even an arch nemesis of Israel, Ronnie Kasrils, was aware that if any action was taken against SA citizen in Israel, it would naturally lead to similar actions against Muslims.
The problem arises when we have non aligned member of these communities who are driving the process.
Achmet is not affiliated with any of the mainstream Muslim leaders and as a result has no allegiances should his action backfire upon the South African Muslim community. This is also true with regards to Dugard and and Falk, neither of whom have any community affiliation in South Africa. They don’t care what happens to either the SA Jewish or Muslim communities. For all of the above mentioned, the most important issue in their mind is the short sighted demonization of Israel, consequences and local fall out in South Africa are irrelevant. Another question that needs to be addressed is how long it will take before a larger portion of the less affiliated members of the SA Jewish community become so disillusions that they too fall into this category.
In response to RF2 question I defer Isaiah (49:17)

the Hebrew prophet

Another Leftwing/Muslim cover up of the atrocities co
mitted by the butcher of Sudan Omar Bashir who with his Arab/Muslim Janjaweed militia ,systematically slaughtered millions of non -Muslims in Darfur .So a question to Zackie Achmat and his cronies; when is the butcher of Sudan going to appear before the war crimes tribunal in the Hague for crimes against humanity?

the Hebrew prophet

When will Zackie Achmat condemn the daily slaughter of Sunnis and Shiites of each other in Kabul,Kandah
ar,Konduz ,Kashmir ,Baghdad,Basra ,Falujah ,Mosul,Kir
kuk ,Islamabad ,Lahore ,Karachi ,the Swat valley etc?
The sheer hypocrisy knows no bounds .

the Hebrew prophet

When will Zackie Achmat speak out against dictatorial ,corrupt ,dysfunctional Muslim states like Afghanistan and Iran where despots rig elections ,where opposition demonstrations are brutally put down ,where dissent is not tolerated by self appointed egotistical gangsters?

the Hebrew prophet

When will Zackie Achmat condemn the opium cultivation by the Taliban in the Swat valley ,drug money to fuel the cold blooded killing machine which targets Afghan schoolkids on their way to school recruits demented female suicide bombers ,plants bombs at road side markets and stalls and other acts of barbarism?

the Hebrew prophet

Resolution 1701 calls for the disarming and withdrawal of Hezbollah from southern Lebanon ,so Zackie Achmat ,why hasn,t this UN resolution been carried out ?

the Hebrew prophet

When will the Sunni-Saudi Arabian culture of rabid
anti -semitism ,villification of Jews ,and lies and
distortions in their school curriculae get to Unicef
and be dealt with appropriately by the unbiased autorities ,if they can be found?

Charlie H. Ettinson

Just wondering if you've seen this:

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Mark, you can do most of the gravity tricks, albeit in a rather painful way via scripts, applying forces, changing animation states, etc. Completely agree that it's kludgy compared to Prey, however.

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