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Scottish PSC Letter:

To: Ginnie Atkinson
Managing Director
Edinburgh International Film Festival

While people in Gaza are still living in the rubble of their homes, and Gaza victims of Israel’s white phosphorous attacks are still in critical care, the Edinburgh International Film Festival has again accepted funding from the Israeli Embassy. This will shock many.

In 2006, a public outcry forced the EIFF to return Israel’s tainted money. On that occasion the EIFF stated publicly that its action was due to popular outrage at the massacres Israel had recently committed in Lebanon:

"This funding was secured some three months ago, well before the commencement of current hostilities in Lebanon. Of course we acknowledge that the situation has altered dramatically since then, and with this in mind, took the decision early yesterday to decline any funding from the Israelis."

Your decision to again associate the Israeli Government with the EIFF comes after the massacres of over 1400 people in Gaza, during which:

• The United Nations said the IDF intentionally burned its food stores in Gaza
• Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International accused the army of illegally using phosphorous bombs in densely populated areas
• The International Red Cross described the injured being denied medical attention and strikes on medical crews
• Israeli journalist Amira Hass wrote of the killing of people flying white flags, the annihilation of entire families
• British MP Gerald Kaufmann described Israel’s mass killing as ‘Nazi’
• The UN General Assembly President called for a world-wide boycott of ‘apartheid Israel’

Only a few days ago, on May 1st, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Palestine condemned ‘the recent wave of eviction orders and demolitions of Palestinian houses’. Israel’s ongoing crimes include the murder of unarmed protesters, the burning of olive groves and other farmland, the continued imposition of a brutal siege of Gaza, and the extension of its apartheid Wall, declared illegal by the International Court. It is unbearable that you should accept sponsorship from such a Government.

Israeli poet Aharon Shabtai:
“I do not believe that a State that maintains an occupation, committing on a daily basis crimes against civilians, deserves to be invited to any kind of cultural week. That is, it is anti-cultural; it is a barbarian act masked as culture in the most cynical way. It manifests support for Israel.”

We hope the EIFF will follow the example the Bloomsbury Theatre which recently cancelled a performance involving Israeli military personnel. We insist that the Edinburgh International Film Festival cancels its sponsorship by the Israeli Embassy immediately.

Failing this, we will
• organise pickets at EIFF events
• publicise the Festival’s links with the Israeli Embassy locally and internationally
• call for a boycott of the 2009 events to protest Israel’s massacres of the Palestinian people

Do not collude with murder and ethnic cleansing.

Mick Napier
Chair, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
 


Your Letters:

Supporters have copied Scottish PSC on their correspondence with EIFF - please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to send us your letters.

 

Dear Director of the Edinburgh Int. Film Festival (EIFF),

I am writing to express my profound disappointment on learning that the EIFF has accepted funding from the Government of the State of Israel through the Israeli Embassy.

I would like to make you aware that I view the Government of Israel as an apartheid government presiding and fortifying an apartheid state no less than the apartheid state that was the Republic of South Africa.

I am sure that you are aware that the Government of Israel recently took military action against the besieged population of Gaza and destroyed an already crumbling infrastructure that was barely surviving under total isolation and israeli control.

I urge you to return the funds the EIFF has received from the Government of Israel as the acceptance of these funds will be perceived as EIFF support for the Government of Israel and it's cultural, material and human destruction of the palestinian population in Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

By returning the israeli funds, the EIFF has the unique opportunity of giving the Government of Israel a strong and clear message that the EIFF will not be a partner of the israeli government's public relations endeavour to show itself as a participant in a pre-eminent scottish cultural event when it is denying basic human needs, dignity and cultural expression to the palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

You may be interested to learn that Jerusalem is designated '2009 Capital of Arab Culture' and in March the israeli police instrument of the Government of Israel forcibly stopped and cancelled any celebration marking and reflecting this event by palestinians in East Jerusalem and in Nazareth. Please see report link below.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/03/200932116227172756.html 

I trust that you will take the decision to return israeli government funding and deny the israeli government the opportunity to hide its cultural and human rights denial of palestinians behind a monetary donation to the Edinburgh Int. Film Festival. The EIFF can do without that kind of money or a resulting reputation of supporting the increasingly acknowledged and evident apartheid practioner State of Israel.

Please see below the position communication of the Scottish Branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Perhaps you'd like to make a donation.

Thank you for your attention

Xxxxxx Xxxxxx
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
(Details withheld)


Dear Sir/Madam, Having studied and lived in Palestine and Israel, I am shocked that your organisation should dream of accepting financial support from the Apartheid State of Israel !Lebanon/Gaza show the world the true nature of the State Ilan Pappe's book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, leaves one in no doubt as to what is the real nature of the Israel's policy. We were all against apartheid in South Africa; now our energies must support a Palestinian State, and allow the four million plus Refugees return to their Homeland! Have courage to be on the side of Justice!!!! Yours faithfully

Xxxxxx Xxxxxx
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
(Details withheld)


Dear Edinburgh Film Festival,

It is with shock and shame that I hear that you are prepared to accept funding from the Israeli Embassy.

I visited the West Bank with my daughter last October; let me tell you that the scale of the injustice and brutality inflicted on Palestinian civilians on a daily basis shocked me to the core.

Since I came back to Scotland, Israel has unleashed yet another slaughter on Palestinian civilians, this time in Gaza. You must surely be aware that over 1,300 civilians died in the carnage; illegal weapons were used by Israel; the Israeli army attacked UN facilities, including schools; they also attacked ambulances.

Please justify to me how you can honorably accept funding from a government that flagrantly flouts international law on a casual, routine basis.

Either that, or my preferred option: tell me that you have decided to return the funding, informing the Israeli Embassy that you will have no dealings with them until they end the brutal siege of Gaza, recognise the Palestinians' right to a nation and withdraw from the vast tracts of Palestinian land which they illegally occupy,

yours very sincerely

Xxxxxx Xxxxxx
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
(Details withheld)


I find it abhorrent that the film fest are prepared to accept blood money from the israeli embassy.
Perhaps those organising the festival can hold their noses, but Israeli bombardments causing palestinian civilian deaths, their continued occupation, their demolition of palestinian homes, and their illegal settlements, portray them as a PARIAH state.
Please reconsider, and hand back their blood money. Discourage their abhorrent policies. Show a film, or documentary showing the palestinain/israeli conflict as it is. Not that spun so cynically by the israeli state.

You can do better

Xxxxxx Xxxxxx
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
(Details withheld)


Dear Ms Atkinson,

Israeli Funding

The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign tell me that you are accepting funding from Israel.

After the Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006 your organisation decided send back funding from Israeli sources.

Please do not be forced by public outrage to send money back this time. Do it on your own initiative and raise the profile of your international event. What Israel did in Gaza was cynical and horrific and you must not be associated with Israeli Government funding. You do not need the adverse publicity of a campaign against you by those who find Israel’s actions repugnant.

I urge you to think carefully about this matter.

Yours sincerely

Xxxxxx Xxxxxx
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
(Details withheld)


I am aghast to hear that the EIFF has again agreed to accept funding from racist Israeli sources and I know many Israelis who are equally horrified by the fascist activities of the Israeli government, the new Nazis.
Let me say that my comments in no way impinge on any of the contributors to your programme, but they would all be tainted if your event accepts any contributions from such a pariah administration.
The list of antagonists to the activities of Israel is too long to repeat but let's not forget the considered opinions of such intellects as Avi Shlaim, Norman Finkelstein, Noam Chomsky and the statements of conscience by Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela and many , many others; do not forget the factual reports of the Red Cross, Amnesty International, B'Tselem and the recent UN report showing the outrageous activity of the IDF in Gaza, the unbelievable ferocity of their actions and the continuing misery they have forced on innocent people. The Israeli government are blatantly recreating all the menace and cruelty of the Nazis who so similarly treated the Jews.
Israel is the major cause of unrest in the Middle East and, until it learns to live in peace with its neighbours, a menace to us all.
They must not be allowed to garner support anywhere and I am amazed that the EIFF in Scotland, the land of birth of my own grandsons, would countenance such a thing. How can people who do such awful things, attack civilians with phosphorus, attack kill and maim indiscriminately, be called 'cultured' or even developed?
You must send them a message.

Xxxxxx Xxxxxx
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
(Details withheld)


Dear Sirs,

As an Edinburgh resident and a film-goer, I am disappointed to learn that the Edinburgh International Film Festival has accepted funding from the Israeli Embassy. Despite the fact that there are some great films showing, I will not be able to take part in a Festival which in effect condones the war crimes committed in Gaza. In fact, I feel obliged to make some protest against this situation, which will at least involve discouraging my friends from attending and may extend to picketing venues.

I think you probably realise that many in your prospective audience regard Israel's actions as deeply immoral and, frustrated by government inaction, are prepared to take action themselves to condemn and boycott organisations that support this apartheid regime. By associating yourself with a government which includes the openly racist Avigdor Lieberman you are tarnishing the reputation of the festival and the City of Edinburgh. I suggest you rectify the situation as quickly as possible, before your audience turns against you.

Moreover, I object to my taxes being used to fund a festival that endorses racism and the murder of innocents, and I will not support future funding from either the Council or the Government.

Xxxxxx Xxxxxx
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
(Details withheld)


Dear EIFF organisers,
It has been brought to my attention that the Edinburgh International Film Festival has recently accepted a sum of money from the Israeli Embassy as event sponsorship.

I write to protest against that.
The policy of the Israeli state to illegally occupy the Palestinian Territories brings hardship, suffering and, all too often, death to innocent people.
The matter is a controversial one, however, each person and each organisation has a choice to make.!

Israel's actions during the recent war on Gaza caused the deaths of over 1400 people.

Israeli actions in that attack were condemned by the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, International Crisis Group and many political leaders across Europe and the world.

The International Red Cross described the injured being denied medical attention and strikes on medical crews.

The widely respected British MP Sir Gerald Kaufmann - himself Jewish - has called for sanctions against Israel.

The Scottish Trades Union Congress recently agreed a policy of boycott, divestment and sanctions against the Israeli State.

As with apartheid South Africa, people throughout the world - including here in Scotland - are uniting to boycott the Israeli State in an attempt to pressure them into a political compromise.

It is in this context that the EIFF has accepted money from the Israeli Embassy.

The EIFF has in the past recognised its mistake in doing so. In reference to funding accepted in 2006 following Israeli military action on Lebanon the EIFF said:

"This funding was secured some three months ago, well before the commencement of current hostilities in Lebanon. Of course we acknowledge that the situation has altered dramatically since then, and with this in mind, took the decision early yesterday to decline any funding from the Israelis."

In 2009 the situation has deteriorated further still. Gaza is a virtual prison. Israeli human rights organisation B'tselem (www.btselem.org)record daily abuses in the occupied West Bank. Innocent people are dying.

Recognise your mistake; hand the money back to the Israeli Embassy.

If not I will boycott the film festival and will take part in planned peaceful protest against the EIFF.

Yours Hopefully

Xxxxxx Xxxxxx
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
(Details withheld)


Good morning (13th May 2009)
I understand that the Edinburgh Film Festival currently receives funding from Israeli government sources.
In view of Israel's long standing attitude and approach to the the rights and claims of the Palestinian people and the refusal of the Israeli government to follow up on the international outrage to its approach to the problem by adhering to UN demands in relation to the situation, I ask you to reconsider this relationship.
The international film industry has a long, well established reputation for highlighting injustice.
So it must be unacceptable to take funding from a source built on injustice.
This is especially so in that on past record, your relationship with Israel will be used by that government to claim moral and political acceptability.
Yours Faithfully

Xxxxxx Xxxxxx
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
(Details withheld)


Hi there,

I really don't have the time to write long winded emails, but I have taken the time out of my immensely busy schedule as a musician to protest against your acceptance of Israeli funds.

By accepting money from a brutal organisation which prevents people from living a quality, peaceful life, and also has no problem with bombing schools and hospitals with cluster bombs and other illegal weapons, you are actually putting your stamp of approval on that sort of behaviour.

I have been a huge fan of what the Edinburgh Festival and the Edinburgh Film Festival do, but with this recent development in mind I will not be attending this year.

The Science Museum in London made the same error a few months ago by hirring exhibition space to the Zionist Council of Great Britain, a racist organisation which has no place in British culture. Unfortunately it looks like the Edinburgh Film Festival have made the same shocking mistake.

Best to you

Xxxxxx Xxxxxx
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
(Details withheld)


Dear Film Festival Organisers

I am distressed to learn today that the EIFF has agreed to accept funding from the Israeli Embassy. Assuming my informant has understood this correctly, I very much hope that you will reconsider this decision, as you did in 2006, following Israel’s outrageous actions in Lebanon.

We all know that the situation in the Middle East is complex and that, in the current phase of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, displaced when the modern state of Israel was established, wrongs have been committed on both sides. It is clear to any impartial observer, however, that Israel’s response to the Gaza situation has been totally disproportionate and that they have shelled and bombed without regard to the lives of the helpless and innocent, trapped in that overcrowded and deprived strip of land. It is also clear that Israel, confident of support in the US and its western allies, believes it can defy the United Nations, the rules of just war and internationally agreed human rights conventions.

I believe cultural activities can form a bridge between peoples who are disunited in other ways. I am an admirer, for example, of Daniel Barenboim’s work in using music as a bridge between these two peoples. It is naive, however, to think that we can entirely divorce the cultural from the political. Those of us who care for the rule of law and for upholding human rights need to stand together at this time to condemn Israel’s recent and current policies towards the Palestinian people. One way in which we can and must do this is to refuse to accept their sponsorship until their policy changes.

I hope you will urgently reconsider your acceptance of this money and the credence your acceptance gives to a discredited regime..

Yours sincerely

Xxxxxx Xxxxxx
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
(Details withheld)


Hi guys,
I'm writing to request you refuse funding from the Israeli Embassy for the film festival.
It really doesn't seem right, given the atrocities Israel has committed and is inflicting on Gazan Palestineans.
I imagine it really isn't the image you want to portray, either; friends of such a murderous regime.
I am sure you are all decent people, with a political conscience, and I suppose you just need lots of people like me to contact you and object, and then you will have a decent reason to refuse the money.
So here I am. I object. Please don't take the money.
Regards

Xxxxxx Xxxxxx
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
(Details withheld)


Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing to protest in the strongest possible terms at your decision to accept funding from the Israeli government. This apartheid regime should be ostracised from the community of civilised nations, and deserves unmitigated condemnation for the war crimes they committed in their recent Gaza campaign, and the crimes that they continue to commit daily against the besieged Palestinians.

My appeal to you is that you should return those funds to that government and most importantly inform them of your reasons for doing so.

Thanking you

Xxxxxx Xxxxxx
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
(Details withheld)


Dear Sirs

I am concerned that the Edinburgh International Film Festival is receiving funding from the Israeli Embassy. Israel, earlier this year, was responsible for a massacre in Gaza claiming the lives of over 1400 people.

I urge you not to accept the money from the embassy as it is a ploy: a bribe to give the Israeli government an air of respectability in the aftermath of their bloody attack.

Regards
 

Xxxxxx Xxxxxx
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
(Details withheld)


To Whom It May Concern

I am concerned to learn that the International Film Festival has accepted funding from the Israeli Embassy. As the mother of Scottish-Palestinian children, I find it wholly unacceptable that a Scottish institution with as strong a reputation as the Film Festival, should consider accepting money from a State that has committed genocide on the Palestinian people.

Make no mistake, accepting this tainted donation means you are actively supporting an apartheid system that killed more than 400 bairns just a matter of months ago. Have you forgotten the images of babies with limbs blown off, or the mothers shot whilst waving white flags and shepherding their children to safety? Gazans are still living in devastation, with white phosphorus remnants still burning their skin, still living on international handouts and still with no homes, trapped in the concentration camp that is Gaza and still with no hope for the future!

I absolutely oppose you accepting this donation. Do what is right; send it back, with the strong message that the arts community in Scotland stands with the oppressed people of Palestine, and stands against the annihilation of the Palestinian cultural heritage and people by the Israeli State.

I look forward to your reconsidering this ill-thought out donation, and holding your head high against this disgraceful attempt by Israel to gain public acceptance in spite of their heinous war crimes.

Yours
 

Xxxxxx Xxxxxx
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
(Details withheld)


Dear Ms. Atkinson

I am told that EIFF has accepted funding from the Israeli Embassy. If this is true, I respectfully request that you return the funding to the Israeli Embassy. Acceptance of such funding is tantamount to acceptance of Israel's policies and actions with respect to the Palestinian people.

By now it is apparent that these policies and actions constitute oppression similar to, and in some cases worse than, that practiced in apartheid South Africa. Israel’s ongoing crimes include the murder of unarmed protesters, the burning of olive groves and other farmland, the continued imposition of a brutal siege of Gaza, and the extension of its apartheid Wall, declared illegal by the International Court. It is unbearable that EIFF should accept sponsorship from such a regime.

Your link with the Israeli Embassy, if maintained, will bring discredit on the Festival, the City of Edinburgh, and on Scotland. I normally participate in several events during the Film Festival, but I will not participate this year unless the Israeli government money is returned. I will support the planned protests and call for a boycott of EIFF if the link is not repudiated.

You must be aware that a growing number of organisations and businesses are refusing any links with the Israeli Government and businesses.

Bloomsbury theatre recently cancelled a performance which involved Israeli military personnel. It is time for EIFF stand up for what is right.

Respectfully yours
 

Xxxxxx Xxxxxx
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
(Details withheld)


Dear Director

I understand that the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) has again accepted funding from the Israeli Embassy, while people in Gaza are still living in the rubble of their homes, and Gaza victims of Israel’s white phosphorous attacks are still in critical care. This despite the fact that previous funding from the Israeli government in 2006 had to be returned after Israeli massacres in Lebanon.

Why are you so determined to be associated with the Israeli government? Nothing can justify the ongoing destruction of Palestinian lives, basic human rights homes, and property, while Gaza has been turned effectively into a concentration camp. Already one of the most crowded places on earth owing to the refugees who have fled there over the last 50 years, residents cannot leave and last winter over 1400 people were killed there by the Israeli army. The United Nations has said the IDF intentionally burned its food stores in Gaza. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International accused the army of illegally using phosphorous bombs in densely populated areas. The International Red Cross described the injured being denied medical attention and strikes on medical crews. Israeli journalist Amira Hass wrote of the killing of people flying white flags and the annihilation of entire families. I agree with British MP Gerald Kaufmann when he described Israel’s mass killing as ‘Nazi’. The UN General Assembly President has called for a world-wide boycott of ‘apartheid Israel’. I hope the EIFF will follow the example the Bloomsbury Theatre which recently cancelled a performance involving Israeli military personnel.

I wish to protest in the strongest possible terms that you are seriously damaging the reputation of the EIFF and bringing discredit on the Festival, the City and Scotland as a whole. To accept Israeli government money is to collude in its crimes.

I do not take issue with any films being shown, but I object very strongly to your accepting funding from a this racist and murderous regime and while you continue to do so wish to have nothing whatsoever to do with your event.

Xxxxxx Xxxxxx
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
(Details withheld)


Dear EIFF

It is with deep and profound sadness and anger that I have learned of your decision to accept sponsorship from the Israeli government this year.

Just a few short months after one of the most barbaric and wanton attacks on a civilian population was carried out on the world's largest open prison, otherwise known as Gaza, during which 1400 men, women, and children were slaughtered by the 4th largest and most powerful military in the world, it shames me to know that an event held in Scotland which describes itself as 'international' should accept funding from a state which denies the fundamental human rights of an entire people, the Palestinian people.

Would the EIFF have accepted sponsorship money from apartheid South Africa? Would it have accepted money from the Nazi government after it had destroyed the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943?

In accepting money from the apartheid state of Israel, described as such by the likes of ex-US president Jimmy Carter, former Archbishop Desmond Tutu, along with most recently the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), and not forgetting the millions across the world who came out and demonstrated against Israel's three week assault on Gaza back in January, the EIFF declares that it condones ethnic cleansing, apartheid, military occupation, and the indiscriminate slaughter of women and children.

In the 60 years of its existence the state of Israel has violated more UN resolutions than every other UN member state combined. It continues to expropriate Palestinian land, expand and build illegal settlements, destroy Palestinian homes, villages, and crops. In the West Bank over 500 Israeli military checkpoints have reduced the daily lives of the Palestinian people to a living hell, and within its dungeons the Israelis hold 10,000 Palestinian prisoners, many of those children under the age of 14 and the vast majority without charge or due process.

I was proud to have played a part in persuading the EIFF to return Israeli sponsorship money in 2006, and I fully intend to do my utmost, along with I am sure a legion of others who will be similarly outraged, to campaign to have the money returned again this year.

A peaceful picket of the EIFF will take place, along with determined and vigorous steps to ensure that the EIFF is boycotted by filmmakers and artists internationally.

But I urge you to think again. Before we are filmmakers, festival organisers, or artists, we are human beings and as such obligated to stand on the side of the oppressed, regardless of the God they worship, the colour of their skin, or their economic status. The humanity of the Palestinian people, the tears of the countless Palestinian children made orphans and refugees for the crime of being born Palestinian, the screams of Palestinian mothers in Gaza watching their children being incinerated, such crimes require that all good men and women join the great cause of universal human rights in opposition to the racism and exceptionalism which has lain at the root of every genocide throughout history.

Respectfully yours

Xxxxxx Xxxxxx
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
(Details withheld)

 

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