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May 22, 2015 6:48 pm

Protest Breaks Out During Mohammed Bakri Film Screening in Israel

avatar by David Daoud

Protesters bring Israeli flags to the screening of Mohammed Bakri's film Zahra. Photo: Screenshot.

A fracas erupted during the screening of Israeli-Arab filmmaker Mohammad Bakri’s 2009 documentary Zahra at the Carmiel municipality auditorium in Israel on Thursday night, Israel’s Channel 2 reported. Viewers said the movie amounted to a “provocation.”

Bakri’s controversial documentary deals with the issue of the “Nakba,” Arabic for catastrophe — a common reference among Palestinian Arabs to the founding of the modern state of Israel.

Zahra tells the story of Bakri’s aunt, who was displaced from her village during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948.

The dissenters were mainly right-wing and opposition activists in the city council, who objected to the movie’s screening.

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The activists sang the Israeli national anthem before and during the film’s screening, and walked out of the auditorium wrapped in Israeli flags after the screening of the film ended.

Members of Shatil, the organization which sponsored the film’s viewing, tried to calm the activists by saying the event was designed to serve as a “confidence-building measure” between Jews and Arabs.

However, the protesters refused to be placated and and expressed anger at the film’s comparison between the “Nakba” and the Holocaust.

Bakri himself has not responded to discontent over his film, but has said that he was not looking to make a movie that made people happy.

Bakri has reportedly received death-threats over plans to screen the movie on Friday as well.

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