In early March, [Michelle J. Kinnican] wrote in the Palestine Chronicle, “Ajami is an Israeli film that is in contention for an Academy Award this Sunday for Best Foreign Language Film. Whether it wins the Oscar or not, it has already gained a lot of international attention and accolades and it will probably be in American theaters soon.” Well, thanks to Landmark Theatres the film is now playing at the Seven Gables Theater in Seattle, the Chez Artiste in Denver and the Plaza Frontenac Cinema in St. Louis.
Here’s part of what Palestinian attorney and human rights activist Raja Shehadeh said to the BBC about the film: “[The world of Ajami is] a city of drive-by shootings, drugs, and racketeering, where men, young and old, are shot or stabbed to death on the slightest provocation and shady sheikhs in Arab dress sort out the blood money in what is supposed to pass as tribal justice. … the unrelieved blood-letting … leaves us in no doubt that the Jewish citizens of Israel exist in a jungle infested by bloodthirsty, uncivilized Arabs who live inside and outside its borders exactly as Israeli propagandists claim.”
In advance of the Oscar ceremony the film’s Palestinian co-writer/director/editor, Scandar Copti, created a stir by saying, “”I am not Israel’s national team and do not represent her.” Yet, he had already taken money from the Israeli government and much damage to Palestinians has already been done. Here’s how a couple of Zionists saw the controversy:
Consul General of Israel Jacob Dayan: “Tomorrow no one will remember what [Copti] said …They’ll remember that this is an Israeli movie and that it will help make Israel a little stronger by reinforcing the relationship between Israel and Hollywood.”
Israeli-American choreographer Barak Marshall: “The film represents Israel exactly … It touches on almost all of the issues we face in Israeli society and it shows how broad the public debate is; that someone who is from Israel can negate his very connection to the state shows how wonderfully strong and alive our political culture is.”
The public screenings of Ajami present Palestine solidarity activists with an opportunity to educate film-goers:
If You’re Going to Watch an Israeli Film/Ajami Please Consider …
how you may be helping undermine a global, nonviolent campaign for justice and peace.
Israel wants reel change, we want real change:
1. End the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Golan, and end the siege of Gaza.
2. Establish full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel.
3. Respect, protect, and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties.