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Australian film festival pulls movie deemed ‘anti-Israel’

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SYDNEY (JTA) – A French-Canadian film deemed “anti-Israel” was withdrawn from the Israeli Film Festival in Australia.

“Inch’allah” was being screened earlier this month at the annual Israeli Film Festival when a patron complained to Albert Dadon, the chair of the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange, which presents the festival.

David Schulberg said the film was “anti-Israel” and was not even a bona fide Israeli film because it was filmed in Jordan and written and directed by Canadian filmmaker Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalett, who in 2010 signed a petition endorsing the campaign to boycott Israel.

Dadon agreed, telling Fairfax Media its inclusion was “an error.” He said the film also “represents an ideology we obviously can’t endorse. It justifies suicide bombing. It might have been OK to be in another festival, but certainly not in ours.”

“Inch’allah” follows a Canadian doctor working in a clinic in a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank, where she treats pregnant women and faces daily checkpoints to return to her apartment in Jerusalem. It won the Critics’ Award at the Berlin International Film Festival.

The film was screened several times before it was pulled. The festival is in its 10th year.

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