Monday, April 23, 2007

Why is 'Specialist' Sivan So Special?

Ms. Naama Hoenig Mr. Giora Eini Ms. Lia Van Lear
Cable Broadcasting Council Director, Rabinovitch Fund Cinematheque
Jerusalem Tel Aviv Jerusalem

Re: The Selection of Eyal Sivan as Film Director

Published media reports indicate that in a tender by Channel 8, Jerusalem Cinematheque and the Rabinovitch Fund, Eyal Sivan was selected to direct and produce a film presenting the brand film of Israeli roots “JAFFA” within the framework of the project "Past and Present in the State of Israel" for the 60th anniversary of the state's independence next year. We wish to strongly protest this choice.

Sivan is an expatriate Israeli who exiled himself from his country voluntarily. He defines himself as anti-Zionist and considers Israel at present as an "historical error". In his films as well as in various public utterances, Sivan has expressed estrangement and hostility to Israel and has undertaken actions that harm its good name and image. He signed a petition (see: during the second Lebanon war which was sent to Palestinian and Lebanese colleagues which described Israel's defensive operations as "war crimes". In a Letter to Palestinian and Lebanese filmmakers that he signed, it was claimed that "We unequivocally oppose the brutality and cruelty of Israeli policy, which has reached new heights in recent weeks" (see:

We also remind you that his film, "The Specialist", on Eichmann, was accused of being a forged work by the Spielberg Archive. Just this past February, he participated in a London "Israeli Apartheid Week", lecturing on "Zionism, Israeli Media and Rationalizing Racist Consciousness." Last year, Sivan lost a court case after he tried to sue French academic Alain Finkielkraut, who accused him of "Jewish anti-Semitism" having rebuked Sivan for making a link between Israel's treatment of the Palestinians and the Holocaust in his film Route 181.

All of these actions and more are galling and the feelings of the public have been extremely annoyed.

Mr. Sivan is free to hold his opinions and every man lives his own beliefs. But is this the man who is the first choice of the state of Israel to produce a film on a Zionist subject? More than ironic, this choice is irritating and vexatious. Shall state monies be willingly paid to a man who announces that he distances himself from the state in such a troublesome manner? And for a national celebratory project? Are there no other capable directors?

We ask that you reconsider the decision made. The Israeli viewer deserves better.

Prof. Eli Pollak
Chairman, IMW

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