Activists Confront at Tel Aviv U

Nationalists at Tel Aviv U. protested the screening of the film “Jenin, Jenin” which a court said contains slander. Arabs sang anti-Israel songs.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu and Yoni Kempinski, | updated: 15:14

Students Protest at TAU
Students Protest at TAU
Israel news photo: Yoni Kempinski

The Israeli anthem was sung repeatedly this Wednesday evening at the Tel Aviv University as members of the Im Tirtzu Zionist student movement came to protest the screening of the anti-Zionist film “Jenin, Jenin." Arutz Sheva TV was on the scene and spoke with activist Dr. Lior Nissim who explained the intention of the protest and his feelings as an IDF commander in the reserves. Arab activists who attended the screening refused to be interviewed by Arutz Sheva.

Earlier today the nationalist students at the Tel Aviv University made a last-ditch appeal to officials to ban the screening of the film. The Im Tirtzu (If You Will It) movement called on university officials to withdraw its permission to show the movie that they said slanders the IDF.

The film by Mohammed Bakri has been highly acclaimed by anti-Zionists and includes interviews with Arabs charging the Israeli army with war crimes in the counterterrorist operation in Jenin in 2002.

Soldiers sued
A district court ruled that the film does indeed constitute libel but did not grant the plaintiffs compensation because of a legal technicality, stating that the plaintiffs did not have standing in the case as a group. Menachem Mazuz, who this month left his post as Attorney-General, said he will join the plaintiffs in their appeal to the High Court. 

Soldiers and family members of those who were killed in the operation had requested Mazuz to indict Bakri for false claims in the movie, but the outgoing Attorney General said that doing so might be self-defeating. He explained that an indictment would open Israel to accusations of violating freedom of speech and might renew interest in the movie.

He told families of soldiers who gave up their lives in the counterterrorist Operation Defensive Shield that an argument could be made to the court that the libelous statements were against a defined and small group of soldiers and not the entire army.

An international effort against Israel
Im Tirtzu said on Wednesday that the film is a part of an international attempt to “de-legitimize the right of Israel to exist. The group accused the university of aiding and abetting the anti-Israeli campaign by allowing the film to be shown.

"It is sad and embarrassing to see the University of Tel Aviv, a public and government-funded institution, choose to lend a hand to distributing lies and blood libels against soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces,” Im Tirtzu said.

The group charged that permitting the screening of “Jenin, Jenin" is in effect “cooperating and helping to publicize libel against soldiers.”