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.
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“People should be happy that we opened a positive discussion on the issue of the occupation, but instead they are depicting us as enemies of the country,” he said.

His message, even when voiced in Hollywood standing next to glittery human-size Oscar statues, is not easy for Israeli ears. Davidi, speaking before a reception hosted by the Academy, expressed his hope that the international community use an “iron fist” against Israel in order to force it to end the conflict.

“I am saying it from a place of love,” he said. “But from my point of view it can even include boycotting Israel.”

No wonder that Israeli officials were nowhere to be found around the delegation of documentary producers that descended on Los Angeles.

In previous years, when Israeli films were nominated in the foreign language movie category, Israel’s consulate general organized receptions and Oscar viewing parties. Now there is no contact with the makers of 5 Broken Cameras.

While creators of 5 Broken Cameras were quick to declare they did not come to the Oscars to represent Israel, producers of the other movie from Israel nominated for best documentary film argue their film is as Israeli as it gets.

“It is an Israeli movie, in which six former heads of Israel’s security service talk about the problem of Israelis and Palestinians. It is an Israeli movie whether you like it or not,” said Dror Moreh, director of The Gatekeepers.

The movie is based on interviews with Israel’s former chiefs of the Shin Bet, all stating the need to end the occupation for the sake of Israel’s future. “Even though the prime minister’s spokesman said the prime minister does not want to watch the movie, I hope the public in Israel chooses to go and see it,” Moreh added.

The Israeli consulate hosted an event for the makers of The Gatekeepers.

And while the two movies’ clear message calling for a change in Israeli policy faced difficulties at home, Hollywood was much more welcoming.


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