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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

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.

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“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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