Doc Edge film interrupted in Wellington
Palestinians massacred in Gaza while Doc Edge film interrupted in Wellington
15 May 2018
Today marks 70 years since the newly-formed state of Israel ‘ethnically cleansed’ Palestinian people and stole their lands. Yesterday in Palestine, tens of thousands of Palestinian people marked this anniversary. More than 55, including children, were killed while peacefully protesting.
Last night in Wellington, Peace Action Wellington held a protest at a Documentary Edge screening of Ben Gurion: Epilogue. This film received Israeli government funding for its production, as well as sponsorship from the NZ Israeli Embassy for the filmmaker to travel here. The filmmaker is not therefore an ‘independent’ filmmaker but a state-sponsored one. This is in clear breach of the Palestinian-led cultural boycott, which is similar to the boycott of South African apartheid.
“Doc Edge screening the film on this date, with Israeli government funding, ignores the 70 years of oppression and apartheid that the Palestinian people have been subjected to,” said Peace Action Wellington spokesperson, Alex Davis.
One protester talked about the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and ongoing land theft as they introduced the film before it started. Cinema staff grabbed the protester and dragged them from the cinema. After the film started protesters disrupted the screening with noise and talked about the atrocities Israel is committing against the Palestinian people. One protester was assaulted by two cinema-goers who jumped on her and hit her in the head as she was filming. Other patrons intervened to prevent the assault.
“People keep talking about us censoring this film. But there are two issues here: first, screening the film on this date is a political move, and Palestinians are being killed right now because of the ongoing project of ethnic cleansing that started 70 years ago; and second, the government funding breaks the boycott of Israel. We wouldn’t have had a problem with the movie if it hadn’t been on this date and hadn’t had Israeli government funding. The funding generally means that artists sign an agreement to represent the Israeli Government and everything that comes with that - apartheid, oppression and the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. We think it’s time for Doc Edge to cut all ties with the Israeli government.”, said Davis.
“People didn’t like being made to feel uncomfortable when there were protests against South African apartheid either. But now people look back and are proud that New Zealand took a stance. We want Aotearoa to stand against apartheid once again”, Davis said.
“We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people on this, the 70th year since al-Nakba, the Catastrophe. We stand alongside Palestinians by continuing to demand the end to oppression, the blockade of Gaza and apartheid, as well as their right of return to their lands. We choose to do this through respecting the non-violent call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. At least 55 Palestinians were killed yesterday in Gaza - that’s what’s important here.”, said Davis.
Ben Gurion was the first Prime Minister of the new state of Israel,which was built on the razed villages and mass graves of the Palestinians. He was known for his strident support for the Israeli state at the expense of the Palestinian people of the land, and in 1948, just after the initial ethnic cleansing, wrote “We must do everything to ensure they (the Palestinians) never do return.”