Jane Fonda, whose area of expertise is unknown, has signed a letter criticizing the Toronto Film Festival for presenting a number of films from Tel Aviv, as part of its 'City to City' program.
I have to wonder why she was involved - repetitious exercise videos make one an intellectual or filmmaker?
Some 50 intellectuals and filmmakers, including Briton Ken Loach, have accused the Toronto film festival of "complicity with the Israeli propaganda machine" over its spotlight this year of Tel Aviv. The Toronto International Film Festival chose this year to present 10 films on the Jewish metropolis by local filmmakers for its "City to City" programme, which each year focuses its lens on a different city.
Seriously, what is she? Is she now claiming the status of intellectual?
"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. "
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.
Very well. Even assuming that today's Tel Aviv incorporates areas which were villages in the past, and acknowledging that Jaffa is now part of the Tel Aviv conglomeratus, what exactly are you saying?
Are you saying that the only cities worthy of consideration are those with no past?
By that measure, not only would not a single city in the Americas be worthy of consideration, but likewise not a single European city, and certainly no city anywhere in the Mid-East. All are built, like Troy, on the remains of previous settlements. All have, even today, resentful enemies who lament their cause.
Even Toronto, per Wikipedia, "when Europeans first arrived at the site of present-day Toronto, the vicinity was inhabited by the Huron tribes, who by then had displaced the Iroquois tribes that had occupied the region for centuries before c. 1500" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto).
New York was New Amsterdam, and before that it belonged to native Americans. London was a Celtic city. Istanbul belongs to the Greeks, why is it now filled with Turks who refuse to move? Paris was Gaulish - who are those people speaking a Latin-based creole plus Arabic who brutally occupy it now? Alexandria was Greek, Cairo was once a Goptic center - now both groups are minorities there.
Not to belabor the point, but all cities have a past that includes displacement and migration. That is the nature of cities and states.
An awareness of history, and a minimal degree of cultural literacy, would have told you so.
The purpose of a film festival is to highlight the creativity of the film makers. Not to make political points and enforce ideological rigidity. For that you really need to go to the former Soviet Union, or today's North Korea.
The letter was drafted by the following bunch of hypocrites:
Udi Aloni, Elle Flanders, Richard Fung, John Greyson, Naomi Klein, Kathy Wazana, Cynthia Wright, B. H. Yael.
It is endorsed by the following bunch of opportunists:
Juliano Mer Khamis
Bonnie Sherr Klein
Shai Carmeli Pollak
Ian Iqbal Rashid
B. Ruby Rich
I would encourage you to boycott them, but for the majority it is very unclear what they have ever accomplished, and in any case many of them do not seem to have risen above turgid and jejeune mediocrity in whatever field they claim for themselves.