Movie deemed ‘anti-Israel’ pulled from film festival

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – A controversial French-Canadian film was withdrawn from the Israeli Film Festival in Australia.

Inch’allah was being screened at the annual Israeli Film Festival Aug. 18 when a patron complained to Albert Dadon, the chair of the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange, which presents the festival.


David Schulberg said the film was “anti-Israel” and was not even a bona fide Israeli film because it was filmed in Jordan and written and directed by Canadian filmmaker Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalett, who in 2010 signed a petition endorsing the campaign to boycott Israel.

Dadon agreed, telling Fairfax Media its inclusion was “an error.” He said that it also “represents an ideology we obviously can’t endorse. It justifies suicide bombing. It might have been OK to be in another festival, but certainly not in ours.”

Inch’allah follows a Canadian doctor working in a clinic in a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank, where she treats pregnant women and faces daily checkpoints to return to her apartment in Jerusalem. It won the Critics’ Award at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Dadon wrote Tuesday on J-Wire, a local Jewish news website: “If this was an Italian film festival that was promoting a Korean film because an actor was eating pasta in Italy, would it qualify to be in the festival?

“Why would it be any different here? It’s a Canadian movie with French money filmed in Jordan. Our Israeli Film Festival is here to promote Israeli films. Anything else is pure fantasy.”

The film was screened several times before it was pulled. The festival is in its 10th year.