'Jews of Egypt' Rides Bumpy Road to Premiere

After Ban, Authorities Allow Screening of Controversial Film

Back Down: After Egypt tried to ban ‘Jews of Egypt,’ filmmaker Amir Ramses planned to sue — and project the film on the side of the country’s internal spy agency. That turned out to be unnecessary when authorities backed down and allowed screenings to go ahead.
courtesy of jews of egypt
Back Down: After Egypt tried to ban ‘Jews of Egypt,’ filmmaker Amir Ramses planned to sue — and project the film on the side of the country’s internal spy agency. That turned out to be unnecessary when authorities backed down and allowed screenings to go ahead.

By Aaron Ross

Published March 28, 2013, issue of April 05, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 3)

“It’s even beyond censorship this time,” said Ramses. “What used to happen during the ex-regime was that… they would never officially say to you that the film was banned by national security and definitely not after you got the permit. They would do this in secret even before they give you the permit.”

As a self-described secular advocate of religious tolerance, Ramses is alarmed by the current government’s course. He says the Brotherhood has not reconciled itself to divergent points of view from other Muslims, let alone from those of other faiths.

“How are you treating diversity in Egypt already?” Ramses said. “How are you handling even Muslims who think differently than the regime? You can’t even start talking about the Jews until you talk about Muslims who don’t share your convictions in the first place.”

Morsi and other prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been harshly condemned for comments they have made about Jews and Israel. In a video that surfaced in January of a speech from 2010, Morsi called on Egyptians to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred for them: for Zionists, for Jews.” He went on to describe Zionists as “these bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.”

Amid a firestorm of criticism from Western governments, Morsi did walk back his remarks, insisting that they had been taken out of context.

Yet Ramses hesitated to pin blame for his film’s travails on Morsi or the Brotherhood, given the apparent role of Egypt’s national security agency in its censorship. Indeed, Morsi’s own relationship with Egypt’s military and security forces remains extremely tense.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a far-fetched possibility,” Ramses said when asked about Morsi’s responsibility. “But I wouldn’t say it’s 100%.”

Whoever bore that responsibility, Ramses credited the government’s about-face on his film to “media pressure” generated by the vocal protests he and his colleagues raised. Thanks to that response, he said, “I have an official document stating that I can screen it for 10 years.”

Contact Aaron Ross at feedback@forward.com


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 much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • 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.