March 3, 2020 / 1:39 PM / a month ago

LGBT+ artists boycott Israeli film festival

LONDON, March 3 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - More than 130 gay and trans filmmakers have pledged to boycott an LGBT+ film festival in Tel Aviv, the latest move in a bitter row between Israel and international pro-Palestinian activists.

Turner Prize-winning British artist Charlotte Prodger and French film director Alain Guiraudie are among those boycotting the Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival, which is funded by Israel’s ministry of culture and opens on Wednesday.

“Our liberation is intimately connected to the liberation of all oppressed peoples and communities,” Queer Cinema for Palestine, a group of pro-Palestinian filmmakers behind the boycott campaign, said on its website.

“We stand in solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom, justice, and dignity.”

Itai Pinkas, a Tel Aviv city council member responsible for LGBT+ issues, said the boycott was misplaced.

“This is harming a pure cultural event that is really nothing to do with whatever wrong the state may be doing,” Pinkas told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Israeli policy can be, and sometimes should be, criticised but I don’t see how this is criticising ... governmental policy.”

Israel - seen as the most liberal country in the Middle East for LGBT+ rights - is often hit by boycotts over its policies towards Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

While no finalists or broadcasters heeded a call to pull out of the Israeli-hosted 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, Iceland’s entry and pop star Madonna both displayed Palestinian flags during their performances. (Reporting by Rachel Savage @rachelmsavage; Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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