Monday, March 21, 2011

JVP Supporters Ed Asner, James Schamus, Kathryn Grody oppose attempt to censor Miral, Julian Schnabel film

Editor's Note: JVP is among more than 325 member groups of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, of which several have recently voiced support for Miral, a film opening this week in New York and Los Angeles.

March 14, 2011

As supporters of Jewish Voice for Peace, an organization inspired by the Jewish tradition of working for social justice, equality and human rights, we are committed to a just peace between Palestinians and Israelis that is based on the tenets of democracy and international law. We also believe that only by understanding both Jewish and Palestinian narratives can we ever hope to reach a lasting peace and mutual understanding.

For these reasons we oppose attempts by the American Jewish Committee and the Israeli government to cancel the premiere of the film Miral, which is scheduled to take place at the United Nations in New York this evening.

The film, based on the autobiographical novel of Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal, was made by Jewish-American director Julian Schnabel. He says he was inspired to make the film because of his own family history and commitment to a just peace.

The American Jewish Committee has said the cancellation is justified because the film “portrays Israel in a highly negative light.” We believe this is part of a deeper pattern of reactively muzzling perceived criticism of Israeli polices and human rights violations.

This attempt to prevent an audience from making up their own minds about the content of a commercial film, no matter how difficult or flawed, does an injustice to the core Jewish and human values for which millions of Jews and Israelis around the world stand.

As American Jews, we know the power of telling our own stories of exile and terrible loss. Palestinians should also be able to tell and see their stories, no matter how painful, without calls for censorship or charges that doing so threatens Jewish identity.

James Schamus

Ed Asner

Kathryn Grody

(more signatures pending)