Eying 'Historic' Oscars Win, Palestinian Gets Cold Shoulder From Israeli Officials

No Receptions This Year for Film That Critiques Jewish State

The Envelope, Please: Director Emad Burnat, right, says it would be a historic day for Palestinians if ‘5 Broken Cameras,’ the film he made with Guy Davidi, wins an Oscar for best documentary.
academy awards
The Envelope, Please: Director Emad Burnat, right, says it would be a historic day for Palestinians if ‘5 Broken Cameras,’ the film he made with Guy Davidi, wins an Oscar for best documentary.

By Nathan Guttman

Published February 21, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

By the time Emad Burnat arrived at the reception for Oscar nominated documentary filmmakers, he’d been more than 24 hours on the road. His journey started off at him home village of Bilin in the West Bank, took him through roadblocks on the way to Jericho, hours of waiting at the border crossing to Jordan and from there a long flight to Los Angeles.

Burnat, who with Guy Davidi created ‘5 Broken Cameras,’ a documentary about life in a village next to the Israeli separation wall, is used to questioning and delays when travelling. But he did not expect another ordeal when entering the United States.

The filmmaker, on his way to attend the Oscar ceremony, was taken aside and questioned by immigration officers, who would not allow him to enter the United States without proving he was indeed an Oscar nominee. It took text messages to Michael Moore, who called top officials at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and friends at the State Department, to allow Burnat in.

“In other countries they have government representatives wait for the filmmakers at the airport with flowers,” Moore told reporters Wednesday night, “what are we afraid of?”

Burnat, however, did not allow the incident to dampen his enthusiasm.

“It was important for me to get here,” he said, “because this is the first Palestinian film that is nominated for an Oscar.” And if ‘5 Broken Cameras’ wins, Burnat said that would be “a historic day for the Palestinian people. We don’t have a state, but it will be a historic day.”

The question of whether Burnat and Davidi’s film is Israeli or Palestinian remains open, and its producers seem tired of discussing the issue.

Davidi, a Jewish Israeli who joined forces with Burnat’s attempt to document life under occupation, said he was taken aback by the criticism against the film in Israel.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.