Los Angeles — David Siegel needed all his diplomatic skills to make lemonade out of the lemons handed to him by the Oscar-nominated documentaries ‘The Gatekeepers” and “5 Broken Cameras.”
The Israeli Consul General in Los Angeles acknowledged that both films criticize the government’s policies toward the Palestinians, but asserted that they underscore Israel’s diversity of opinion and freedom of expression.
“We can be proud of the open democratic political discourse we have in Israel,” Siegel said.
‘5 Broken Cameras’ tells the story of a West Bank village’s life under Israeli occupation. “The Gatekeepers” includes startling criticism of Israel’s policies by a string of highly placed security insiders.
Despite his effort to put a positive spin on the movies’ Oscars nods, Siegel did lash out at Guy Davidi, co-creator of “5 Broken Cameras” for backing an international boycott on Israel in order to force it to end the occupation.
“This is a cynical PR maneuver aimed at promoting the movie’s chances to win an Oscar,” said David Siegel, Israel’s Consul General in Los Angeles. In a Thursday interview Siegel went on to ask whether Davidi’s call for a boycott “would also include the Israeli funds that provided support to his movie.”
The creators of “5 Broken Cameras,” Davidi, who is an Israeli, and Palestinian filmmaker Emad Burnat, made clear from the outset they do not view their movie as representing Israel and would refuse any attempt by Israeli government officials to embrace their success.
This made life somewhat easier for Siegel. Utilizing trademark diplomatic language, he said that since the producers do not want to be associated with Israel, there is no need for the Israeli government to accept the film as representing Israel.