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Death Threats and Cancelled Flight Amid Controversy

Israeli journalist and film director Yuval Abraham has revealed that he has been receiving death threats following his Berlin International Film Festival acceptance speech, in which he called for a ceasefire in Gaza and condemned the “situation of apartheid.” As a result, Abraham decided to cancel his flight home from the festival.

The controversy stemmed from his speech on Saturday when he and Palestinian co-director Basel Adra received the Best Documentary award for their film, “No Other Land.” The documentary covers evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank by Israeli authorities.

Family Targeted by Right-Wing Mob

In a social media post on Tuesday, Abraham claimed that a group of right-wing Israelis went to his family’s home to search for him, resulting in family members fleeing to another town in the middle of the night. He said the incident was sparked by media outlets and German politicians labeling his speech — during which he advocated for equality between Israelis and Palestinians, a ceasefire, and an end to apartheid — as “antisemitic.”

Award Speech Leads to Widespread Criticism

During the acceptance speech, Adra, who is based in the West Bank, remarked how difficult it is for him to celebrate while tens of thousands of Palestinians are being massacred by Israel in Gaza. Speaking alongside Adra, Abraham underlined the disparity between himself and his co-director, despite them living just “30 minutes from one another.” In his speech, Abraham pointed out: “I am living under civilian law and Basel is under military law. We need to call for a political solution to end the occupation.”

Unacceptable Relativization, Says Berlin’s Mayor

Berlin’s mayor Kai Wegner condemned the speech as an “unacceptable relativization” and requested that the film festival’s management take steps to prevent similar incidents in the future. Moreover, Israel’s ambassador to Germany, Ron Prosor, described the remarks as being part of a “blatant antisemitic and anti-Israel discourse.”

Fighting Misuse of Antisemitism Label for Silencing Critics

Abraham criticized what he perceives as an “appalling misuse” of the term antisemitism, arguing that it serves not only to silence Palestinian critics but also Israelis like himself who support a ceasefire to put an end to the ongoing violence in Gaza.

“No Other Land”: Shedding Light on Plight of Palestinians

  • The documentary presents evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank by Israeli authorities.
  • Abraham and Adra received the Best Documentary award at the Berlin International Film Festival for their work on the film.
  • Addressing the audience, Adra said it is difficult to celebrate when his people are being massacred in Gaza.
  • Abraham emphasizes disparities between him and Adra, despite living just 30 minutes away from each other.

Summary

Following his acceptance speech at the Berlin International Film Festival, in which he called out the situation of apartheid and demanded a ceasefire in Gaza, Israeli filmmaker Yuval Abraham has faced backlash in the form of death threats and attacks against his family. Both the media and politicians have accused Abraham of promoting antisemitism through his comments, but the director argued that this misuse of the term is aimed at silencing both Palestinian and Israeli critics who are calling for an end to violence and an equitable solution.

Festival Management Under Pressure to Prevent Similar Incidents

After Abraham’s controversial speech, Berlin’s mayor Kai Wegner urged festival management to ensure that such incidents do not happen again. The debate surrounding Abe’s remarks and subsequent backlash highlights the ongoing struggles and tensions in the region and raises questions about freedom of speech within the film industry and beyond.

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