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San Diego MOPA, Jenin and Normalization of Antisemitism

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Dear MOPA,

I’m surprised that a Museum with reputation for credibility and honesty would show a film that has no other function other than to portray the Jewish people in a negative light. There are dozens if not hundreds of films about the Israeli conflict, critical of Israel made by Arabs and Palestinians that are not based on disproven theories. None of those films are shown because they are not “banned in Israel” and none of those films make false claims based on disproven facts. This alienates all of Jewish community of San Diego and undermines the credibility of the Museum. The Arab Film Festival could have chosen to show any other film, but they are using this film for marketing just because it was banned. It’s a low low low thing to do that will do nothing for the movement to Peace, do nothing for Palestinians and only damage your reputation with all of the Jewish community of San Diego. 

This is an email that I wrote to Museum of Photographic Arts with respect to a film that was advertised to me on facebook. A film banned in Israel for one reason: the director lied. He knew that he was making a film based on a lie and he made it anyway. This lie was proven in courts. Out of a Palestinian genre that is nothing but criticism of Israel, this is the only one ever banned, this is the only one being shown in San Diego.

This film has no redeeming value. It is simply there for vilification of Jewish people based on falsehoods. San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts could have done research and said no. They didn’t. When I informed them of this their response was that:

“We contract with a multitude of film organizations throughout San Diego and beyond, offering a venue for clients to share their stories. Due to the nature of the diverse audience that we serve through our facility rentals, we cannot censor the films that are shown at our venue. 

Although we often don’t share the viewpoints or perspectives of the films being shown, we are providing an environment in which dialogue about the subject matter can take place. “

I can only respond that this is baloney. MOPA would never hold a white supremacist viewing party of Birth of a Nation just because some in San Diego hold racist views. They would not hold a viewing party for vaccine denial or Qanon documentaries or documentaries that deny the history of Native Americans just because some in San Diego hold that view. They refuse to stop showing this film for one reason, it’s ok to vilify and ignore Jews.

Jewish people are the only minority to be actively degraded and ignored this way. The hatred of Palestinians takes precedence over truth and honesty. They may not hold overt antisemitic views, but to the person experiencing a bias, that doesn’t matter. All that matters is people in San Diego, will go to MOPA to view a film and believe it because they would never think that MOPA would hold a viewing of a film that was antisemitic if it wasn’t factual. Unfortunately, that is the case. Shame on MOPA, shame on the Arab Film Festival. They could have chosen any of dozens if not hundreds of films about the conflict that was based on fact, but they chose a “banned” film for one reason: it is provocative, untrue and antisemitic.

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