It is not often we hear of bosses voluntarily sharing profits, so it was with some delight we heard the good news that the Chief Executive, Nurit Shani, of Lev Cinemas and Films in Israel will use the profits from our film “Looking for Eric” to benefit Israeli film makers. We hope this new found determination to redistribute wealth will be matched by her wisdom in choosing to support those film-makers most starved of resources. Logically, that would mean those brave free spirits in the Israeli artistic community who decide to respect the cultural boycott and refuse to accept any funds from the Israeli State. Who knows, but perhaps some time in the future Nurit Shani’s vision will help kick start projects about those courageous Isreali soldiers who formed the group “Breaking the Silence” and spoke out against the “reckless and gratuitous use of white phosphorous” in civilian areas in Gaza, and were appalled by the use of Palestinians as human shields? Perhaps too we will be fortunate to watch films about those young men and women in Israeli prisons who refuse to join the Israeli army because of the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands. And why not include Palestinian film makers or is Israel really an apartheid State?
I’m very satisfied that the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement conducts itself with the utmost ethical consistency and respect to international law (if it didn’t, I wouldn’t advocate it). It’s true that it’s following the South African model, but at the same time it’s setting an example of its own. As a young activist, it’s a pleasure learning from its outspoken leaders. In my involvement in the movement, every step presents us with an ethical challenge. Avoiding the pitfall of a sweeping, uncommunicative action, the Global BDS movement, led by the Palestinian people, is employing guidelines of a “smart boycott”, differentiating institutions from individuals and Zionists from Jews. It’s never simple and dedicated research and much debate goes into every initiative. As a student of the boycott tactic, it’s just as important for me to learn what not to do, and examples are ample.
The boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel continues to gain leverage every day as more people become aware of Israel’s atrocities. Many argue that the BDS movement must penetrate every aspect of society for it to be fully effective at encouraging people to demand that Israel halt its policies of ethnic cleansing and apartheid against Palestinians. The Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) has accordingly agreed to return funds provided by the Israeli Embassy to finance the visit of Israeli filmmaker Tali Shalom-Ezer. While Ginnie Atkinson from the EIFF continues to insist that the decision was not politically motivated, she prefaces her explanation for the move by stating that: