Israel Protests Use of ‘palestine’ at Montreal’s Recent Film Festival

The Israeli Consulate here recently sent a letter of protest to the director of the Montreal World Film Festival, which used the term “Palestine” to describe the country of origin of a Palestinian-Dutch production shown at the festival.

The festival, which ended last month, featured the film “Curfew,” which depicts life in the Gaza Strip for a Palestinian family.

The film has garnered three awards since its release, including a UNESCO prize at the Cannes Film Festival, whose organizers apparently also listed Palestine as the film’s country of origin.

Israeli Consul Aviva Raz tried unsuccessfully to contact festival director Serge Losique by phone for several weeks.

Finally, on Sept. 9, she sent a formal letter of protest.

She has received no response.

The letter explained that, according to the Declaration of Principles signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization last September, Palestine is not a sovereign nation.

Raz asked that the term not be used again.

She stressed that Israel does not object to the showing of Palestinian movies internationally.

Losique was unavailable for comment.

But Suzanne Villeneuve, who handles public relations for the festival, said it was the responsibility of film producers or directors to fill out a form describing their film, country of origin and other pertinent details upon applying for acceptance.

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