Simon Wiesenthal Center responds to Toronto protest

By now, 63 artists from the international film community have signed on to a protest of the Toronto International Film Festival’s Tel Aviv sidebar, “City to City” which spotlights films from Tel Aviv. The protest began when Toronto veteran/filmmaker John Greyson withdrew his short film from the festival in objection, prompting a group of directors, writers and actors—including Jane Fonda, Danny Glover and Ken Loach—to sign on to an open letter calling Israel an “apartheid regime.”

Now, the Simon Wiesenthal Center is striking back.

In response to the protest letter, the SWC has written that it is “outraged” by the boycott. “As a filmmaker and member of the Academy, I can tell you that this is nothing less than a call for the complete destruction of the Jewish State,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier in a statement. The statement also said that Israel is being called an apartheid state because it chooses to defend its citizens against rocket attacks launched by Hamas terrorists. “The signatories to this protest may have been filmmakers, authors, directors and actors, but it is clear that the script they are reading from might as well have been written by Hamas,” the statement read.

The original protest letter entitled, “The Toronto Declaration: No Celebration of Occupation,” says that Toronto, “whether intentionally or not, has become complicit in the Israeli propaganda machine.”

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Protest sparked over Toronto’s focus on Tel Aviv