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Accused of anti-Semitism after his speech at the Berlinale, Israeli Yuval Abraham maintains his remarks

On the stage of the Berlinale Palast, Saturday February 24, alongside his co-director Basel Adra, Yuval Abraham - whose documentary focuses on the occupied West Bank - delivered a speech applauded by the assembly, before triggering controversy within the German political class and anger in Israel.

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Accused of anti-Semitism after his speech at the Berlinale, Israeli Yuval Abraham maintains his remarks

On the stage of the Berlinale Palast, Saturday February 24, alongside his co-director Basel Adra, Yuval Abraham - whose documentary focuses on the occupied West Bank - delivered a speech applauded by the assembly, before triggering controversy within the German political class and anger in Israel. “Anti-Semitism has no place in Berlin, and this also applies to artists,” denounced the mayor of the German capital, Kai Wegner, on his X account (formerly Twitter).” “What happened (Sunday) at the Berlinale constituted an unbearable put into perspective,” he added.

The film festival is accused of having allowed the broadcast of anti-Semitic statements by directors during the awards ceremony, in connection with Israel's war against Hamas. For his part, Chancellor Olaf Scholz believes “that such a unilateral position cannot be tolerated, and that in any debate on this subject, it is important to keep in mind the event which triggered this new escalation of the conflict in the Middle-East".

German authorities should open an investigation to determine how winners of the Berlin film festival were able to make “unacceptable” comments against Israel in the context of its war against Hamas, a government spokesperson said on Monday (February 26). , Christiane Hoffmann. “It is unacceptable that the Hamas terrorist attack of October 7 was not mentioned,” she added.

In an excerpt from his speech at the Berlinale closing ceremony, Yuval Abraham says: “Basel and I are the same age. I am Israeli, Basel is Palestinian. And in two days, we will return to a land where we are not equal. This situation of apartheid between us, this inequality must end.” This extract was taken up by Israeli channel 11, calling the director “anti-Semitic”. “Since then, I have received death threats. I stand by every word,” declared Yuval Abraham on X. According to France Info, Tuesday February 27, “a crowd of right-wing activists went to his family’s home to look for him.”

When he received his prize, Basel Adra notably accused Israel of “massacre” the Palestinian population and criticized German arms sales to Israel. Co-directed by an Israeli-Palestinian collective of four people, No Other Land was filmed in the West Bank, in Masafer Yatta, where Palestinians were forced to leave their villages. Presented at the 74th Berlinale, the first feature film won both the Best Documentary Jury Prize and the Audience Prize in the Panorama section.

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