Open letter to Doc Edge Festival from filmmakers opposing apartheid funding

The open letter below was sent by Doc Edge filmmakers to the organisers of Doc Edge calling on them to drop their partnership with the embassy of apartheid Israel.

Tēnā koutou,

As filmmakers and participants in DocEdge Film Festival, we are deeply concerned by the festival’s continued acceptance of funding and official support from the Israeli Embassy. It is an offensive and unacceptable affiliation which we do not endorse.

Numerous human rights organisations conclude Israel’s systemic policies, practices, and human rights violations meet the legal definition of apartheid. In just over the last month alone Israel announced the ethnic cleansing of over 1000 more Palestinians, greenlit plans to build almost 4500 more homes in illegal Israeli settlements, and murdered Palestinian Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in cold blood before attacking pallbearers and mourners at her funeral. By affiliating with Israel DocEdge are legitimizing an abhorrent and racist apartheid regime which attacks and persecutes the very storytellers they claim to support. It is a blatant contrast to the spirit of a festival.

DocEdge have stated they’re “apolitical” and aim to “facilitate dialogue,” but they’ve actively chosen to accept funding from the apartheid Israeli government and avoided engaging those who’ve expressed concern over the funding since as early as 2018. Unflinching affiliation with an apartheid government discredits any notion of being apolitical. This is not an issue of ‘censorship’ or ‘pressure groups’, it is an issue of Israel using culture and art as a form of propaganda, curating an image of sophistication and philanthropy to whitewash its abhorrent crimes and justify apartheid.

Our concern is not fearing Israeli influence in the festival selection, rather, the credibility and legitimisation that Israel gains from DocEdge’s endorsement and platform. Our call isn’t to take ‘sides’ or censor films, it is to recognise human rights and to keep our cultural spaces free from the harm and normalisation of racism and colonisation.

Inspired by the international movement that contributed to ending apartheid in South Africa, it is critical to mobilise non-violent pressure on Israel to end its apartheid, persecution, and illegal occupation against Palestinians, making the ‘status quo’ inconvenient enough for Israel to care, and change.

It is in firm solidarity with the Palestinian people and the global recognition of human rights that we request DocEdge end their affiliation with the apartheid Israeli Embassy and divest from a relationship that endorses and legitimizes the systemic and racist persecution of Palestinians.

In solidarity,

Cole Yeoman  –  ‘The Milford Road’ – Director/Producer

Gabriel Shipton  –  ‘Ithaka’ – Producer & brother of Julian Assange

Haidy Kancler  –  ‘Melting Dreams’ – Director/ Writer

Neasa Ní Chainaín  –  ‘Young Plato’ – Director

David Rane  –  ‘Young Plato’ – Producer

Rich Felgate  –  ‘Finite: The Climate of Change’ – Director/ Producer

Julia Maria Diana Jansch  –  ‘Coming Home’ – Director/ Producer

Olha Zhurba  –  ‘Outside’ – Director

Kaia Kahurangi Jamieson  –  ‘Scope’ – Director/ Producer

Image Credit | james lee

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