Gay Film Fest Bans Flag Ads After Israel Flap

A gay film festival in Vancouver banned “overt expressions of nationalism” after organizers came under fire over an advertisement featuring an Israeli flag.

The advertisement in last year’s guidebook for the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, placed by the local gay Jewish group Yad b’Yad, featured a gay pride flag alongside an Israeli flag. That led to accusations of “pink washing,” the supposed tactic of using Israel’s support for gay rights to divert attention from its treatment of the Palestinians.

Following the ad’s publication, two directors withdrew their films from the festival and the festival donated the ad revenue to a third party, the Canadian Jewish News reported.

“We now have stronger policies that will enable us to make sure all our partnerships reflect our values and allow us to focus on bringing people together through film,”Shana Myara, the festival’s director of programming, told the newspaper.

Jonathan Lerner, spokesman for Yad b’Yad, told the CJN that the festival’s revised policies are a form of censorship.

“The VQFF has proactively and very publicly weighed into the Arab-Israeli conflict,” Lerner said. “Its specific policies are aimed at silencing proud supporters of the LGBTQ community and of Israel, all while remaining silent on the plight of gays and lesbians in places such as Iran, Syria, China and even the Palestinian Authority. One can only judge the VQFF by its very public actions and obvious inactions.”

Lerner also said that under the revised policies, Israeli films could only be included in the festival if they sought to create “critical dialogues about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Israeli occupation,” the Shalom Life news website reported.

The festival will run from Aug. 13 to Aug. 23.

Author

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires 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 and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. 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 Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Gay Film Fest Bans Flag Ads After Israel Flap

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close