Israeli, Canadian activists slam director for boycotting local gay film festival
By Cnaan Liphshiz, May 8th 2009
Gay activists in Israel and Canada have sharply criticized a prominent director from Toronto for boycotting Israel’s upcoming gay film festival, while pursuing plans to screen films in Ramallah.
John Greyson, a leading filmmaker of gay-themed cinema, had verbally accepted an invitation to premier one of his films in June at the Tel Aviv International LGBT film festival, organized by TLVFest. Last month, Greyson sent organizers a cancellation letter saying "Israeli apartheid week" - an annual series of anti-Israel events in Canada - "helped clarify" his thoughts. Not joining the "growing boycott movement against Israeli apartheid," he said, "is unthinkable, impossible."
"What Greyson has done is an act of violence both against Israeli gays as well as [gay] Palestinians, for whom this festival is a rare ray of light," said Yair Hochner, the festival’s Israeli-born organizer and an internationally-acclaimed director. Greyson told Anglo File this week: "With ongoing violations by Israel of Palestinian human rights and given the specific content of my film, screening it in Israel would be hypocrisy." The film, "Fig Trees," deals with a Canadian AIDS patient’s refusal to take drugs until they were made available in South Africa.