Germany pays for its heavy silence in face of Israel’s crimes: Filmmakers avenge Palestinians

By: Souleymane Loum

The chance was too good to shake a Germany which put on its blinders in the face of the enormous atrocities perpetrated by Israel in Gaza in the name of blind revenge after October 7. What the German authorities feared above all else occurred at the Berlin Film Festival: Some had prepared well and offered themselves a platform to awaken German conscience. The authorities are not taking off…

Last Saturday evening, a host of directors did not waver during the awards ceremony to single out Israel, accused of committing genocide in Gaza. Statements that several personalities have deemed anti-Semitic, the classic argument that they draw when they have nothing to object to the horrors that the Israeli army is committing among Palestinian civilians. An easy accusation that those responsible throw in their faces when they have nothing to say, just to quiet those who dare to condemn the war crimes of the Jewish state.

The Berlin Film Festival witnessed a notable moment when American filmmaker Ben Russell, awarded for his film “Direct Action,” took to the stage wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh, a powerful symbol of solidarity with the Palestinian cause. This act, reported by the French newspaper Le Figaro on Monday, February 26, emphasised a shift in the dynamics of political expression at the festival. Until this incident, German authorities had been adept at managing dissent, usually silencing foreign conscientious objectors and artists who diverged from the mainstream narrative. However, Russell’s visible political view on such a prestigious platform indicated that this time, the authorities were unable to suppress or censor the expression of political dissent, observing a notable moment in the festival’s history and the broader discourse on freedom of expression and political activism within the arts.


Basel Adra, awarded for his film “No Other Land” about the expulsions of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, accused Israel of “massacre” the Palestinian population. The Palestinian documentary maker likewise attacked Germany for the weapons it sells to Israel. Statements warmly lauded by the audience. More than a political class weighed down by eternal German guilt after the horrors – the “Shoah” – that the Nazi regime inflicted on the Jews during the Second World War can bear.

Social Democratic Party (SPD) MP Helge Lindh stated the applause was “shocking (…). I am ashamed to see that, in my country, people today applaud accusations of genocide against Israel.” He called on the festival management to explain. The mayor of Berlin, Kai Wegner, posted this on the social network X: “Anti-Semitism has no place in Berlin, and this also applies to artists (…). What occurred yesterday at the Berlinale was an unbearable put into perspective.”

Same story with the Minister of State for Culture, Claudia Roth, who announced in the newspaper Die Welt that there will be an inquiry into the bravado of the filmmakers. “Together with the reigning mayor of Berlin, Kai Wegner, and the Berlin Senate, who bear responsibility for the Berlinale with us, we will now work on the events for the presentation of the Bear,” said Ms. Roth…

For its part, the Berlinale limited itself to saying that the directors voiced “individual and independent opinions”, even if the management respects the “indignation” aroused by the comments “felt to be too biased”.

Note that during the famous evening the festival’s Instagram account “berlinale. panorama” was hacked. Slogans such as “Free Palestine from the river to the sea” or “Stop the genocide in Gaza” invaded the page. “It is unbearable that people are using a Berlinale social media account to spread anti-Semitic propaganda,” festival management commented in a statement. She filed a complaint.

What's happening in Tunisia?
Subscribe to our Youtube channel for updates.

Top 48h

Copyright © 2019 Tunisie Numerique

To Top