The Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival, or simply TLVFest, has run every year since 2006. Multiple times in recent years, there have been calls from Palestinian rights groups to boycott the festival over its funding from the Israeli Ministry of Culture. This year, that call has been more potent than ever, and more than 130 queer people from the film world have signed a pledge agreeing to boycott the event.
“As filmmakers, film artists and production companies committed to LGBTQIA+ liberation, we understand that our liberation is intimately connected to the liberation of all oppressed peoples and communities,” the pledge reads. “We stand in solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom, justice, and dignity. We shall do no harm to their liberation struggle.”
In response to calls from Palestinian queers to boycott the Israeli government-sponsored LGBT film festival TLVFest, we pledge not to submit films or otherwise participate in TLVFest or other events partially or fully sponsored by complicit Israeli institutions until Israel complies with international law and respects Palestinian human rights.
The campaign, Queer Cinema for Palestine, is run by PACBI (the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, part of the broader BDS organization) in conjunction with Palestinian queer groups such as Pinkwatching Israel, which fights efforts by the Israeli government to provide cover for its treatment of Palestinians through token gestures of LGBTQ-friendly progressivism.
Notable signatories of the pledge so far include recent Turner Prize winner Charlotte Prodger, Cannes Film Festival honoree Alain Guiraudie, and trailblazing Canadian director John Greyson. A number of Korean filmmakers have signed the petition, with EBS International Documentary Festival Grand Prix winner Minji Ma stating, “In Korea I constantly learn of these pinkwashing issues, so I have tried my best to engage in the BDS movement. Israel is burying its head in the sand, so I couldn’t just wait and see. I signed the pledge in order to deliver the message that I am strongly opposed to pinkwashing. I send Palestinians solidarity with all my heart.”
Officials from TLVFest have yet to respond to the petition. The 2020 edition of the festival is set to run June 4 through 13.