As someone working in the media arts sector, I signed the 500 artist BDS letter along with Cinema Politica’s Executive Director Svetla Turnin. We signed because it was a tangible action that connected art to the resistance against oppression.
We also signed because we feel that too often artists and those working in the arts who are privately critical of Israel take two paths around the issue of Palestine’s occupation: Ignore it all together in their work and their public life, or adopt a liberal stance that argues it is not the role of art to intervene in such matters.
At Cinema Politica we believe it is one of the fundamental—and most transformative—roles of art, and we see our screenings as interventions on a range of important issues, including Palestine.
Connecting art, audiences, and action.
Cinema Politica is a non-profit media arts organization that screens political documentaries and radical film & video at locations throughout Canada and abroad. We are the largest community and campus-based documentary network in the world.
Cinema Politica has as part of our mandate the commitment to providing social, political and cultural space for the showcasing of the stories of the oppressed, marginalized, and dominated majorities of the world. We are also committed to highlighting the stories that are not given sufficient space in the Western media matrix.
So it follows that Cinema Politica screens many films about Israeli apartheid and the struggle of the Palestinian people. Despite the fact that many of these independent films have won international awards, and meet our criteria of anti-racist content, they remain our most controversial.
As professor Yakov Rabkin says in the documentary on Norman Cornett, the McGill prof fired over his class dialogues on Palestine-Israel, “There isn’t an issue that you can so easily lose friends over as the issue of criticizing Israel.”