'Activists are expressing outrage after a cinema in Vienna canceled the Austrian premiere of a film about Palestinian football.
Meanwhile in Canada, campaigners are protesting a decision by the ruling Liberal Party to drop a parliamentary candidate based on false allegations of anti-Semitism.
BDS Austria, a group that supports the campaign to boycott Israel for its violations of Palestinian rights, saysthe cancellation of the screening of ¡Yallah! ¡Yallah! is censorship.
Directed by Cristian Pirovano and Fernando Romanazzo, the 2017 feature is an Argentinian-Palestinian co-production that tells the stories of seven Palestinians through their connection to football.
The screening was supposed to take place at the Artis International cinema on Tuesday followed by a discussion with Pirovano, who is on a European tour. The film has been screened in dozens of cities worldwide.
“The last-minute cancellation of the film screening by Artis cinema, which belongs to Cineplexx Ltd., the largest cinema operator in Austria, is unlawful and unacceptable,” BDS Austria said.
According to the group, the cinema claimed that “in recent days we increasingly received information and messages which pointed out the politically controversial statement not so much of the film as such, but of the movement supported by BDS.”
BDS stands for boycott, divestment and sanctions, a campaign started by Palestinians and modeled on the global solidarity movement that helped end apartheid in South Africa.
The goals of BDS are to pressure Israel to obey international law by ending military occupation of Palestinian land, abolishing all forms of discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel and respecting the rights of Palestinian refugees to go back home.
But in 2018, the Vienna city council adopted a resolution calling for non-cooperation with the BDS movement and smearing it as anti-Semitic.
BDS Austria says that Artis cited this resolution as its pretext for banning the screening.
The group accuses the city of enacting “unreasonable and disproportionate restriction on freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly” and of “organized and institutional racism.”
Activists protested outside the Artis cinema following the cancellation of ¡Yallah! ¡Yallah!.'
Read more: Vienna cinema censors film about Palestinian football
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12 November 2019
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