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Controversy in Germany over criticism of Israel during the Berlinale awards gala

2024-02-26T19:14:18.549Z

Highlights: Controversy in Germany over criticism of Israel during the Berlinale awards gala. “The statements were alarmingly biased and characterized by deep hatred,” declared German Culture Minister Claudia Roth. Accusations of anti-Semitism come from almost the entire political spectrum in Germany. In 2022, the famous contemporary art exhibition Documenta was forced to cover a work by a group that had caused controversy for containing anti-Semitic images and images. The relativization of the Holocaust in general are closely monitored in Germany, where it is an issue with special connotations due to its 20 century history.


“The statements were alarmingly biased and characterized by deep hatred,” declared German Culture Minister Claudia Roth.


The Berlinale has become the center of strong criticism throughout Germany after several of the winners during the awards ceremony used their acceptance speeches to show their solidarity with Gaza and launch accusations against Israel, but without mentioning terrorism. of Hamas.

In this way, the Berlin International Film Festival, which began with controversy for having invited far-right politicians (whose invitations were subsequently revoked), also closes under harsh criticism.

Accusations of anti-Semitism come from almost the entire political spectrum in Germany, from the Greens, social democrats, conservatives or extreme right, and from the country's main media outlets, some of which, such as the newspaper

Süddeutsche Zeitung

,

did not hesitate to make headlines in Cover: “The Shame of Berlin.”

The center of the controversy is based on two speeches from Saturday's ceremony.

On the one hand, that of the American film director Ben Russel, co-director with Guillaume Cailleau of the film

Direct Action,

distinguished as best film in the

Encounters

section and with a special mention in the best documentary category, which he described as genocide. what was happening in Gaza dressed in the Palestinian headscarf.

And, on the other hand, the words of filmmakers Basel Adra and Yuvak Abraham, Palestinian and Israeli respectively and members of the collective of filmmakers who have directed

No Other Land

, winner of the Best Documentary award and which deals with settlement policy in the West Bank .

“We are here before you, we are both the same age, I am Israeli and Basel is Palestinian, and in two days we will return to a land where we are not equal,” Yuval Abraham said during the ceremony.

“I live in a civilian regime and Basel in a military regime.

We live 30 minutes from each other, but I have the right to vote and Basel does not.

I can move freely around the country, but Basel, like millions of Palestinians, is trapped in the West Bank.

This Apartheid situation between the two, this inequality has to end,” Abraham added that he has had to face death threats for his speech.

“It is very, very difficult for me to celebrate something while tens of thousands of my people are being murdered in Gaza right now,” Adra said on stage.

And he added: “As I am here in Berlin, I would like to ask Germany to do one thing: respect the calls of the UN and stop sending weapons to Israel.”

There were other requests for a ceasefire in words, posters hanging on the backs of guests at the ceremony and events, but it is these two interventions that have focused all the criticism.

On Sunday, those responsible for the contest assured that the words of the winners do not represent them, but that they respect them along with their freedom of expression, something that for many voices in Germany is not enough.

The rain of criticism grew in intensity until this Monday, when the German authorities announced an investigation into what happened at the ceremony.

“The statements during the Berlinale awards gala on Saturday night were alarmingly biased and characterized by deep hatred towards Israel,” declared Culture Minister Claudia Roth.

“It is not acceptable that, on a night like this, international filmmakers do not mention the brutal terrorist attack by Hamas against more than a thousand people who were living peacefully and celebrating at a festival and their cruel murder, nor say a word about the more than 130 hostages who are still held by Hamas,” he added.

Their position was supported by Germany's own chancellor, Olaf Scholz, who condemned the filmmakers' statements through a spokesperson.

“Scholz agrees that such a unilateral position cannot be allowed to be maintained,” said a spokeswoman for the German Government, who recalled the importance of remembering the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7.

This is not the first time that culture has become the center of criticism, nor will it surely be the last.

In 2022, the famous contemporary art exhibition

Documenta

was forced to cover a work by a group of Indonesian artists that had caused controversy for containing anti-Semitic images and opened a whole debate in the country about where the limit is between artistic freedom and freedom. political protest.

The relativization of the Holocaust and anti-Semitic attitudes in general are closely monitored in Germany, where it is an issue with special connotations due to its 20th century history.

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Source: elparis

All life articles on 2024-02-26

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