TORONTO (JTA) — Robert Lantos, a prominent Canadian Jewish filmmaker, has quit the jury of a student film awards show over the inclusion of a critic of Israel.
Lantos, who has produced films including "Barney’s Version" and "Being Julia," had been asked to judge films at Cinesiege, an annual showcase of student movies from Toronto’s York University set to begin Oct. 25.
Lantos resigned in protest after seeing John Greyson’s name in the credits of many of the films. Greyson, a filmmaker and York professor, sparked controversy in 2009 when he withdrew his short film from the Toronto International Film Festival to protest the festival’s decision to spotlight movies from Tel Aviv.
Greyson also was among the participants in the "Canadian Boat to Gaza" in July that attempted to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Lantos said his decision to quit the jury because of Greyson’s involvement was a personal one as a Jew who came to Canada from Hungary, a country that deported thousands of Jews to concentration camps during World War II.
"When someone has made a practice out of attacking my people and hence me, I don’t believe in simply passively waiting around until he does it again," he told the National Post newspaper. "The Jews of Hungary marched to their near extermination. I think a passive response is not an acceptable one for the Jews. When someone has said the things that this person has said and done the things that he has done, then I’m not going to rub shoulders with him."
In an e-mail to Greyson published by the Jewish Tribune, Lantos wrote, "I am a Jew, hence I am an Israeli. There is no difference. You are determined to vilify and undermine my people. You have targeted Jews because you think we are vulnerable and because you think you can get away with it in the current climate. About that, you are mistaken."