'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!
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • 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.