‘They threatened us’: Award-winning ‘Gaza’ filmmakers faced censorship from Jewish groups

‘They threatened us’: Award-winning ‘Gaza’ filmmakers faced censorship from Jewish groups
The director of a Goya Award-winning documentary ‘Gaza: A look into the eyes of barbarism’ says members of the Jewish community repeatedly used threats to get screenings scrapped in a bid to suppress the film.

“Israel uses its Jewish organizations which tried to censor our film… they tried to do it at various festivals and sometimes they succeeded, even when the film was already on the shortlist. We received many threats,” director Julio Perez told RT.

“We started planning to make this film after the last Israeli army invasion when lots of people in Gaza were killed.”

The film faced adversity from the beginning and the production crew had to beguile Israeli authorities just to gain access, under the pretense that they were conducting research into Gaza’s agricultural industry.

“That’s how we got there, but that wasn’t easy at all,” Perez explained. “The thing is, there’s a total legitimization of Israel’s actions and Israeli apartheid.”

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The initial proposal to screen the documentary film came from a local BDS group (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) which promotes non-violent resistance towards the state of Israel on behalf of Palestinians.

The film discusses, “The violation of human rights that they [the people of Gaza] suffer daily and the reality of the postwar blockade through which the population of the Gaza Strip attempts to survive” according to the blurb on Spain’s Goya Awards nominations page.

A recent episode saw a screening scheduled to take place in Madrid this Friday shelved following pressure from Jewish groups.

“They gave us serious motivation not to [screen it],” local priest Javier Baeza, of the San Carlos Borromeo community, told La Sexta. “They warned me very seriously: If I didn’t do it, they told me I would face the relevant canonical punishment.”

While admitting that he had not, in fact, seen the film for himself, Baeza told the newspaper that, having been nominated for the Goya prize, he couldn’t imagine that the documentary would be a “hymn in favor of violence extol anti-democratic sentiments.”

He added that “people from the Academy of Cinema” had told him that the film is “quite objective, not remotely vengeful.”

“It seems unlikely to us that the Academy would nominate something histrionic in nature.”

The local BDS chapter managed to find a secular alternative which couldn’t be pressured out of screening the film on Wednesday evening.

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