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September 1, 2013 6:07 pm

Filmmaker, Banned From Dubai Film Conference for Being Israeli, Hopes Movie Will Still be Shown

avatar by Zach Pontz

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Dubai. Photo: wiki commons.

The status of a ban on an Israeli filmmaker from attending an awards ceremony in Dubai has not changed but the filmmaker says he hopes a “satisfactory resolution” has been met.

“I hope that this affair is finally coming to a satisfactory resolution. Meaning that our film ‘Israel: A Home Movie’ will be shown during the conference in Dubai.  This for me was the most important element,” The filmmaker, Arik Bernstein, told The Algemeiner in an email.

Bernstein is being feted for his work at the International Federation of Television Archives (IFTA) annual conference, being held in Dubai. The city is located in The United Arab Emirates, which has no diplomatic relations with Israel and routinely bars Israelis from entering the country.

The President of IFTA, Jan Müller,  confirmed to The Algemeiner in an email that Bernstein would indeed not be attending the conference, but rejected any responsibility for his ban.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Bernstein, holding an Israeli passport, is not allowed to enter Dubai, due to political reasons. Neither IFTA, nor me as chairman and any other member of this federation of television archives. (sic) And neither the host of this conference, television company MBC, can be hold responsible for this sad issue,” he wrote.

“IFTA still accepts the entry of Mr. Bernstein, and still accepts his great work as a nomination at the award ceremony,” he wrote, adding that “since Mr. Bernstein will not be able to join the world conference, IFTA has offered him to celebrate his nomination and possible win during the world conference in 2014. There IFTA will celebrate his work.”

Anonymous blogger Elder of Ziyon, who first reported on the story last week, took exception to IFTA’s denial of responsibility, however, and responded to a public statement released by Müller that cited IFTA’s independence from religious or political affiliation.

“The only way to change Dubai’s behavior is to shame them, publicly, into doing the right thing. History shows that Dubai would have given in rather than face the possibility of being publicly outed as not quite as modern as it pretends to be in its travel ads,” the blogger writes. “FIAT/IFTA instead is quietly allowing Dubai to dictate how they run their own conference. And the excuse they are using is ‘independence!'”

This is not the first time an Israeli ban from Dubai has made waves. In 2009, after international pressure, Israeli tennis player Andy Ram was allowed to compete there after several players in the tournament he was to participate in protested his exclusion.

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  • Plain Talk

    This of course is another outcome of our ridiculous continuation of expanding settlements in the disputed territories.
    Why does no one seem to care how harmful this policy is to Israel’s image around the world.
    Please don’t reply to my post telling me its legal, I KNOW THAT IT MIGHT BE LEGAL! Just because something is legal does not mean it is not the stupidest thing to do in a given situation.

    • ricardo

      The trouble with absolutes is that they are SO relative. The settlements have serious issues, for sure. But they also have some very powerful, positive policy implications. Were the world not so antisemitic, the settlements would be yet another prod to the Arabs to start considering a real peace with Israel before she builds communities over much of the territory that the Palis would conceivably govern, were they not determined to recapture everything. That fact alone makes your allegation of stupidity short-sighted & pretty inaccurate. There are additional factors, though, which merit consideration. Perhaps the most important is the fact that this is, as you allude to, LEGAL. For the world to claim otherwise is mere NAZI posturing disguised as liberal concerns. The Arabs are building even more feverishly in the disputed territories, yet nobody even mentions that. And given that both sides have legitimate claims there until such time as peace is negotiated, it is clearly bias which makes Israeli building contentious while Arab building is not merely ignored – it’s encouraged, subsidized by foreign funding.
      So, no, it is hardly as you characterize it. How to de-fang the antisemites is more the issue than how to appease them.

    • Jack

      This has nothing to do with settlements. It has everything to do with Jews in charge of a tiny bit of land in the Middle East, an anathema to Arab Muslims.

    • Sadie

      @Plain Talk. Are you serious – Judea and Samaria have nothing to do with it. The actual State of Israel has everything to do with Dubai’s rejection.

  • BH in Iowa

    The sooner the desert reclaims that place the better.

  • Lyrrem

    Dubai, Egypt, Iran, Syria, Gaza, and more – all of them apartheid territories – with no apologies to anyone. Worse than S.A. ever was. But the world turns a blind eye, which they did not do with S.A. That country was put under the ban. Why not these?

  • E Pluribus Beagle

    Here’s what you do. Everyone who WAS allowed to go and did go…you spit on them boycott all their garbage forever. Pile up a gigantic mountain of film stock and set fire to it in front of their embassy in Washington DC.

    • Plain Talk

      Did you think that up yourself or did you read some neo-Nazi manual?
      Seriously, set fire to other films! Pathetic!

  • Benji


  • Who should we email to draw attention to on this unfairness

    • ricardo

      You really think anyone cares? There’s nobody to contact. Antisemitism is the mother’s milk of Western “civilization”, such as it is. Even many Jews have no problem in sharing such horrific values with their noble Christian neighbors. Surprisingly enough, some observant Christians have finally overcome the official antisemitism of the Church & recent offspring churchettes which was the heartily indoctrinated, violence-inducing, official hostility of the past couple of millenia. So perhaps this new twist of some Christians gives a bit of hope that someday we may live among honest, caring, fair human beings. But we aren’t there yet, not by a long shot.