Ramallah bans film because director visited Israel

Ramallah cancels screening of Lebanese film after activists call for boycott over the director's "normalization" with Israel.

Elad Benari,

Ziad Doueiri
Ziad Doueiri

The Palestinian Arab city of Ramallah on Sunday cancelled the planned screening of a Lebanese film after activists called for a boycott over the director's "normalization" with Israel, AFP reports.

"The Insult", which deals with the Lebanese civil war, was scheduled to be screened Monday in the city as part of the "Days of Cinema" festival.

However, Ramallah's municipality decided on Sunday to cancel the showing at a city-run facility after pressure from Palestinian Arab activists who accused French-Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri of promoting "normalization" with Israel.

Doueiri's 2012 film "The Attack", about an Israeli surgeon of Arab origin whose wife carries out a suicide attack, was partly filmed in Israel.

Lebanon banned “The Attack” in 2013 because it was partly shot in Tel Aviv using Israeli actors. Doueiri later said the Arab League had also taken steps to prevent the film from being shown.

Last month, Lebanese authorities detained Doueiri for questioning upon his arrival in the country due to his filming “The Attack” in Israel.

Lebanon submitted "The Insult" as its official entry for the Oscars, in the foreign film category.

In Ramallah, reported AFP, activists had planned a protest against the screening and launched a social media campaign urging Palestinians to boycott it.

The anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement had accused Doueiri of "defending normalization" with Israel and called for the screening to be cancelled.

Ramallah municipality director general Ahmad Abu Laban told AFP the screening was cancelled over "our responsibility to keep the peace".

He cited "safety concerns" and claimed the decision did not imply that the municipality was bowing to pressure from activists.