The organisers of the Edinburgh International Film Festival have cancelled an official Israeli Embassy sponsorship of their programme and returned the Israeli cheque following a huge public outcry over the involvement of the Israeli Embassy.
Writers, actors and members of the public inundated the organisers with mail and phone calls demanding the financial support from the Israeli Embassy be ended, warning that they would boycott Edinburgh’s flagship event if this were not done.
The Edinburgh Branches of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Stop the War Coalition had planned to picket all major Film Festival events and shame the organisers if the link with the Israeli Embassy had been maintained.
The Film Festival website carries the following information: “this funding was secured some three months ago, well before the commencement of current hostilities in Lebanon. Of course we acknowledge that the situation has altered dramatically since then, and with this in mind, took the decision early yesterday to decline any funding from the Israelis.”
Scottish PSC welcomes this late conversion of the EIFF organisers to opposition to human rights violations: âit is regrettable, however, that the EIFF allowed the link to be made in the first place. It is simply not good enough to respond to the most recent massacres in Qana. Israel, after all, has been violating Palestinian human rights for decades. Israeli killing in Palestine, and Lebanon, continued yesterday.â
The cultural boycott in Scotland is the third in a row in only two weeks. Earlier on the Locarno Film Festival (one of Europeâs most important film festivals) has returned the money granted by the Israeli Foreign ministry, refusing the sponsorship. A few days ago, the administrative council of the Greek Cinematography Center decided to boycott the Haifa film festival.