Media Release: Sunday 9th August 2015, No Embargo
Pro-Palestine campaigners say recent revelations of Hilary Clinton’s attempt to overturn the Edinburgh International Film Festival’s (EIFF) rejection of Israeli Government funding is evidence that "boycott works".
The Scotsman wrote on Saturday’s front page that the effects of the May 2009 boycott "went right to the upper echelons of the American political system".
Recently-revealed emails show the former US Secretary of State attempted to pressure the UK and Scottish Governments after the EIFF returned funding from the Embassy of Israel just a few months after Israel’s attacks on Gaza that had killed 1400 Palestinians.
After acclaimed filmmaker Ken Loach joined forces with the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), the EIFF agreed to sever its links with the Israeli state. Rather than accept sponsorship from the Israeli Embassy to fund an Israeli filmmaker’s travel to the opening of her film, the EIFF agreed to pay for her trip.
Writing to the Israeli film-maker at the time, Loach said, "To be crystal clear: as a film maker you will receive a warm welcome in Edinburgh. You are not censored or rejected. The opposition was to the Festival’s taking money from the Israeli state."
Campaigners say that "a key aspect of the boycott is to make the Israeli state aware that there is a price to pay for its crimes against the Palestinians and to bring an end to the complicity of states such as the UK in those crimes."
SPSC Chair, Sofiah MacLeod, continued, "Clinton’s emails demonstrate that the boycott, divestment and sancations campaign (BDS) is working. Not only did Israel suffer a PR humiliation back in 2009 when its sponsorship money was publicly returned, but it now learns that, in spite of the efforts of the second-most powerful official in the US, neither the UK nor the Scottish governments were willing or able to intervene on Israel’s behalf.
"Last summer over 2000 Palestinian men, women and children were killed and thousands maimed and made homeless as a result of another Israeli atrocity, and every day Israel continues its abuses of Palestinian rights. While Clinton's failure to stop BDS is undoubtedly a morale boost for the Palestinians and all those who act in solidarity with their struggle for justice, we ask more Scots to join us as we redouble our efforts. Israel should expect BDS actions around the world to escalate until Israel meets its obligation to recognise the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law."