PRETORIA, South Africa (JTA) – The screening of a film comparing Israel to South Africa’s apartheid regime was canceled in Cape Town.
The theater reportedly made the decision after receiving hundreds of demands from patrons who were against the film.
The Labia Theater in Cape Town was to screen "Roadmap to Apartheid," by Ana Noguira, on Thursday night. The documentary compares the circumstances of the Palestinians with those of black South Africans under apartheid.
Pro-Palestinian nongovernmental organization called right2know, or R2K, and the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign of SA promoted the free screening. They had sponsored showings of the film earlier this year in Durban and Johannesburg.
The South African Zionist Federation earlier had refused an invitation to participate in a debate with the Palestinian Solidarity Group after the screening. Julie Berman, director of the federation, told JTA that the federation declined the offer since the film is heavily biased — ”which would not allow any intelligent debate on such complex issues."
Berman emphasized that the federation did not try to influence the theater owner to cancel the screening, saying he only learned about it though the media and it is not the federation’s role to lobby against or for the actions of private enterprises.
Theater owner Ludi Kraus said he could not condone the screening of a biased film followed by a one-sided public discussion.
Kraus added Wednesday that he was not prepared to please a handful of his clientele and risk losing the majority of them, explaining that he received hundreds of e-mails opposed to the screening, and only five emails in favor.
R2K has threatened to demonstrate in front of the movie hall Thursday night, when the film was to have been shown.