Protests in New Zealand by pro-Palestinian activists over Ben-Gurion screening

May 28, 2018 by Keren Cook
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Pro-Palestinian activists in Wellington and Auckland have demonstrated threats and actions to sabotage the screening of a new film about Israel’s founder and first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.

Yariv Mozer

The Wellington protest group confirmed they would sing and play Palestinian songs in protest against Doc Edge’s showing of Ben Gurion, Epilogue,prior to the film’s screening.

Peace Action Wellington activists purchased tickets to the screening of the film in Wellington and then detonated stink bombs and shouted anti-Israel slogans, forcing the invited audience to leave the hall, Hadashot News reported last week.

Peace Action Wellington spokesperson Emma Cullen says: “I think it’s time for Doc Edge to cut ties with the Israeli Government if they don’t want to have any problems.”

Doc Edge addressed Peace Wellington’s concerns in a written statement last week.

Doc Edge board of directors chair Glen Johnstone said: “Doc Edge itself receives no funding from any foreign government representatives to pay for screening or exhibition fees for any films,” Johnstone confirmed.

“Further, in the tradition of independent film festivals, Doc Edge believes its audiences are mature and sophisticated enough to choose what they wish to watch,” the statement read.

Johnstone also shared the film had screened around the world, including festivals in the United States, Australia, Canada, Paris, Madrid and Athens – notably locations that represent a diverse group of people who also had the choice, access and the opportunity to view the new documentary.

Auckland faced similar pressure. Auckland Peace Action said “we will not be silenced” with the group returning for further protests at the Auckland screening.  The protest group held a “Die in” forming a human blockade and chained a bleeping back box to a seat, according to Newsroom, a New Zealand-based news and current affairs site

The film has been targeted as “state-sponsored propaganda” according to Peace Action Wellington and the group spoke out and against the Israeli embassy that had paid for director Yariv Mozer to fly to New Zealand.

Mozer is an Israeli film director, and no stranger to controversy.  He says: “The whole reason we are doing these films is so people can get a better understanding and see different points of view – if the boycott movement shuts artists down or makes us silent – it stops dialogue.”

The film’s narrative is based on six hours of interview footage from 1968 and was discovered in a Jerusalem archive and showcases Ben-Gurion, aged 86, living in the Negev and sharing his views about making peace with Arab nations.

Director Mozer, invites and challenges protesters to watch the film saying they would be “surprised” and also says those who call for a cultural boycott of Israel are “ignorant” and worked against the changes for peace.

Comments

One Response to “Protests in New Zealand by pro-Palestinian activists over Ben-Gurion screening”
  1. Lynne Newington says:

    I wonder where all the venom will go when the political ball changes hands and the voices of the Palestinians secretly desiring a peace in their land will finally win through.

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