Israeli film festival goes ahead in Barcelona despite anti-Israel threats

The Seret Film Festival, an international event that showcases Israeli films, has managed to go ahead in Barcelona, despite facing a harassment campaign from anti-Israel groups. The festival, which started on Thursday and will end on Sunday, had to change its venue at the last minute, after the original theater, Cinemes Girona, cancelled the event due to threats from the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. The festival organizers announced the new venue, which is being kept secret, only to the ticket holders, and vowed to continue the event despite the intimidation attempts.

The festival organizers, Odelia Haroush, Patty Hochmann and Noa Hadad, issued a statement on Instagram, explaining the reason for the venue change and expressing their determination to defend artistic freedom. They said that they were forced to change the location of the festival because of threats from anti-Israeli organizations, who cannot accept that artistic freedom is more important than politics. They also said that no one can and should silence freedom of expression, art and cinema, and that they were grateful for the support and solidarity they received from the public and the media.

A reaction from the BDS movement

The BDS movement, which advocates for boycotting Israel over its policies toward the Palestinians, claimed victory for the cancellation of the event at Cinemes Girona, and called for a cultural boycott of Israel. The movement said that the theater had decided to respect the call for a cultural boycott of Israel, after receiving hundreds of messages from activists and citizens, who denounced the festival as a propaganda tool for the Israeli government. The movement also said that the festival was an attempt to whitewash Israel’s crimes and violations of human rights, and that it was incompatible with Barcelona’s commitment to peace and justice.

A response from the Israeli embassy in Spain

The Israeli embassy in Spain condemned the harassment campaign against the festival, and praised the festival organizers for their courage and resilience. The embassy said that the festival was a cultural and artistic event, that aimed to promote dialogue and understanding between different cultures and peoples, and that it had nothing to do with politics or propaganda. The embassy also said that the BDS movement was a radical and extremist group, that sought to delegitimize and demonize Israel, and that it violated the principles of democracy and freedom of expression.

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