Arabs riot on 'Nakba Day' (file)
Arabs riot on 'Nakba Day' (file)Flash 90

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) has petitioned the Attorney General to order Haifa's mayor to rent out municipal halls for the Zochrot organization's film festival. 

Zochrot, an ultra leftist NGO which has previously accused Israel of ethnic cleansing, hosts "48 mm - The International Film Festival on Nakba and Return" annually. 

ACRI, which represents Zochrot, claims that all of the NGO's attempts to rent municipal halls for screening the festival were either turned down or completely ignored. 

"We highly doubt that the decision to cancel the event to be held in conjunction with the Haifa Cinematheque was lawful...there is no doubt that municipal institutions' refusal to rent their halls to Zochrot is in stark contrast to justice," ACRI argued.

According to ACRI, the "censorship" of so-called "controversial" works of art is a growing phenomenon. 

"This case joins the Culture Minister's threats to cut support to cultural institutions such as the Al Midan Theater and the Jerusalem Film Festival due to the play 'A Parallel Time' and the screening of a documentary about Yigal Amir, as well as the Education Minister's outspoken interference in removing 'A Parallel Time' from the Culture Basket."

The play in question depicts the life story of terrorist Walid Daka, who participated in the abduction, torture and murder of IDF soldier Moshe Tamam in 1984. 

ACRI asserted that "all of these decisions came to censor political and artistic expression, which in the eyes of authorities are controversial, and limit discourse in the public sphere, which should be open, poignant and challenging."

"The danger to freedom of expression that each of these decisions pose is severe," ACRI attorney Dan Yakir added. 

"Therefore, we request that you clarify to the Haifa Municipality that cultural institutions may not prevent Zochrot from renting out their halls," ACRI signed its petition.