Israel protests UN screening of 'anti-Israel' film
(Video) Israeli delegation to United Nations demands to cancel screening of Julian Schnabel's film 'Miral,' which shows IDF soldiers brutally attacking Palestinians. 'We respect film creators' freedom of expression, but in this case there is a clear political agenda,' says delegation member Haim Waxman
VIDEO - Israel is fuming over a decision to screen Julian Schnabel's latest film "Miral" at the United Nations General Assembly.
The movie, which is based on a book written by Palestinian Journalist Rula Jebreal, depicts the life of a girl who grows up in an east Jerusalem orphanage.
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General Assembly President Joseph Deiss personally approved the screening, despite the opposition of other elements within the international organization.
The Israeli delegation to the UN protested the move, calling the movie "anti-Israel," and demanded to cancel the screening.
Israeli sources said it was the first time the General Assembly hall was being used to screen a premiere of a commercial film. They also criticized the decision to promote the movie by inviting representatives of UN delegations and holding a panel after the movie.
The panel is scheduled to include Jebreal, who wrote the script, and Jewish director Schnabel, who was also invited to attend the movie premiere in Israel –
but did not even offer to send a representative on his behalf.
The movie's opening scene depicts a procession of Palestinian orphans from Dir Yassin, and tells the Palestinian narrative through the life in an orphanage located in east Jerusalem.
The film, which features actors Freida Pinto, Hiam Abbass, Vanessa Redgrave and Makram Khoury, shows IDF soldiers brutally attacking the Palestinians.
Watch the trailer of the film 'Miral'
In a letter sent to the United Nations, the Israeli delegation claimed that Israel produces movies that are even "harsher" and more critical than "Miral", but screens them in commercial cinemas, and not at the UN General Assembly.
"The problem is not screening the movie, it's that the General Assembly's president decided to show a movie with a political nature. This is unprecedented," Israel's Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Haim Waxman told Ynet.
"During our efforts to prevent the screening, we asked what other political movies have been screened at the General Assembly hall, but UN elements had no answer to this question," added Waxman.
"We explained that this decision undermines the credibility of the UN and the GA president in particular. He can no longer be regarded as someone who acts impartially and without prejudice," he said.
The deputy permanent representative noted that even without screening the movie, the UN is "obsessively preoccupied with the conflict, and 20% of its discussions revolve around this issue.
"We respect the film creators' freedom of expression, but in this case there is a clear attempt to advance a political agenda," Waxman noted.