Two more directors have joined the growing boycott of TLVFest – the Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival.
This brings to 11 the number of artists who have pulled out of the festival, part of a growing wave of international support for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) in the wake of Israel’s massacres of unarmed Palestinians during Great March of Return rallies in Gaza.
Canadian Marc-Antoine Lemire pulled his short movie Pre-Drink, which won the Toronto International Film Festival Award for Best Canadian Short Film.
“We have recently become aware of Israel’s pinkwashing strategy, and wish to express our refusal to contribute to it, in addition to our support for the LGBTQ+ community,” Lemire wrote. “Following a protest movement of several filmmakers and artists in disagreement with Israel’s policies towards Palestine, we have decided to take a stand in favor of this movement. Especially with the recent events, we refuse the instrumentalization of our movie.”
French filmmaker Antoine Héraly canceled a planned personal appearance at the festival for the screening of his movie Furniture Porn Project.
“Having had an intense week of reflection and reading, as well as discussions with organizations and a wide spectrum of intellectuals, I have come to the conclusion that, should I physically attend the screening to introduce Furniture Porn Project, my conscience would be absent from the theater,” Héraly wrote to the festival organizers.
“Had I had a longer period of time in which to get my ideas together, I would have asked you to withdraw my film from the festival, with which I cannot identify, as it is publicly funded and therefore a part of the Israeli politics of ‘pinkwashing,’” Héraly added.
He noted that the festival had in any case proceeded with screening films of other filmmakers who had asked for them to be withdrawn, something Héraly called “unacceptable.”
TLVFest is a cornerstone of Israel’s pinkwashing campaign. Pinkwashing is the public relations strategy that deploys Israel’s supposed enlightenment toward LGBTQ issues to deflect criticism from its human rights abuses and appeal particularly to Western liberal audiences.
It often involves gross exaggerations of Israel’s progressive policies, accompanied by outright lies about Palestinians.
Pro-Israel governments that have pointedly failed to condemn or act to stop Israel’s deliberate killings of unarmed Palestinians in Gaza, including children, medics and journalists, have become particularly enthusiastic pinkwashers.