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"SUNDAY" Film To Boycott Israeli Film Festival

19 September, 2002

Derry based Gaslight Productions, the driving force behind Channel 4’s drama documentary film ‘SUNDAY’ about the events of Bloody Sunday, is the latest cultural organisation to join the international boycott of Israel. ‘SUNDAY’ was selected for the prestigious Haifa International Film Festival, which opens tomorrow, Saturday 21st September in Israel.

Stephen Gargan of Gaslight said, “We are withdrawing our film in support of the boycott and to alert people in Ireland and Britain to the crimes against humanity daily being perpetrated by Israel on the Palestinian people.”

He continued, “When ‘SUNDAY’ was first selected by Haifa, we were faced with a dilemma. Should we screen the film in the knowledge that the parallels between the Bogside in 1972 and Palestine today were strikingly obvious and therefore the film had the real chance of provoking debate within Israel about its government’s actions? Or should we join the call for an international cultural boycott? When we fully realised that, as with the ANC in South Africa and their Anti-Apartheid boycott, it was Palestinians themselves that were leading the call for the world to boycott Israel, we knew that the just course of action was to support the boycott.”

“Anyone who saw John Pilger’s documentary ‘Palestine Is Still The Issue’ (ITV, Monday 16th) will be in no doubt as to the extent of the injustices that the whole population there is forced to endure. Yet while all the current media attention is focused on Saddam Hussein’s flouting of UN Resolutions, there are sadly too few media voices drawing attention to the daily implications for Palestine of Israel’s flouting of UN Resolutions 242 and 338 which call on them to withdraw from the occupied territories and respect the right of Palestine to exist as an independent state. Now under the guise of the ‘war on terror’, Israel has set itself on a course of destruction that will render Palestinian national and cultural existence on Palestinian land untenable. This intention is manifest in the systematic destruction of family homes, utilities, cultural/art centres, and even archaeological and cultural heritage sites.”

The letter of withdrawal addressed to the Haifa Festival Director states:

, “…of the many lessons that flow from the story of Bloody Sunday, key among them is the ethical political and long-term military folly of governments attempting to impose military solutions on civil and human rights problems.”

“We take this action in support of the Palestinian people and in solidarity with Palestinian artists and filmmakers. It is also done in solidarity with those within Israel (both Israelis and Arabs) who are speaking out and acting (e.g. refuseniks) against the government’s murderous policies against the Palestinian people.”

“Clearly the challenge of turning around current [ Israeli ] government policy in the climate created by a compliant Israeli media puts enormous responsibility on cultural actors/institutions within Israel. We hope however that people will somehow find the courage to act and to do what they can.”

Gaslight Productions, 1 Westend Park, Bogside, Derry, BT48 9JF
Phone/Fax 028 71308980