BERLIN (JTA) — German authorities have barred those under 18 from seeing a Turkish film widely considered anti-Semitic.
Jewish groups continue to raise concerns about the release in Europe of "Valley of the Wolves-Palestine," which critics say demonizes Israelis and contains virulent anti-Semitic stereotypes of Jews as bloodthirsty killers of children.
Deidre Berger, head of the American Jewish Committee office in Berlin, said she welcomed the decision by the German ratings agency, FSK, to restrict access to the film. Berger called it “an important step in limiting the spread of this film, which glorifies violence and incites anti-Israeli sentiments.”
Still, Berger expressed doubts as to whether the restriction would be enforced.
Shimon Samuels, the Paris-based director for international relations for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, appealed Monday to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann to condemn the film and asked them to rally the support of local Turkish associations to discourage people from seeing it.
The movie is a sequel to the 2006 production "Valley of the Wolves: Iraq,” which focused on a fictitious Jewish doctor harvesting organs of Iraqi soldiers for use in Israeli hospitals. The film was wildly popular among young men of Turkish background in Germany. In all, some 3.5 million people of Turkish origin live in Germany.
The new film involves a group of Turks who set out to avenge the deaths of nine militants who were killed by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara boat, which attempted to break the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza last May. The opening scenes use actual footage from Israel’s military raid.
Mainstream political parties have joined in condemning the movie as anti-Semitic and expressed concern about its potential to cause further harm to Israel-Turkey relations, which were damaged already by the Mavi Marmara incident and earlier the Gaza war.