Award Winning British Film Director Boycotts Israel
By Palestine Monitor
19 October , 2010
Mike Leigh had been due to teach classes at the Sam Spiegel Film & Television School (SSFTS) in Jerusalem next month, but has pulled out following the Israeli government’s amendment to the Citizenship Act.
Leigh had been expected to lead the ’Great Masters’ programme at the prestigious institution from November 20-27. In a letter to SSFTS director Renen Schorr, he outlined his reasons for the cancellation.
"As you know, I have always had serious misgivings about coming, but I allowed myself to be persuaded by your sincerity and your commitment," Leigh wrote. "And it is because of those special qualities of yours that I am especially sorry to have to let you down. But I have absolutely no choice. I cannot come, I do not want to come, and I am not coming.
"Eight weeks after our lunch, the Israeli attack on the flotilla took place. As I watched the world very properly condemn this atrocity, I almost cancelled. I now wish I had, and blame my cowardice for not having done so.
"Since then, your government has gone from bad to worse. I need not itemise all that has taken place ... I still had not faced up to the prospect of pulling out until a few weeks ago, but the resumption of the illegal building on the West Bank made me start to consider it seriously. And now we have the Loyalty Oath.
"This is the last straw – quite apart from the ongoing criminal blockade of Gaza, not to mention the endless shooting of innocent people there, including juveniles ..."
Mike Leigh had previously served on the Russell Tribunal of 2009, which highlighted Israeli human rights abuses. He has been a longstanding supporter of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Renen expressed that he was "greatly saddened" by Leigh’s cancellation and made efforts to distance his school from the Israeli government.
Learn more about the campaign for boycott, divestment & sanctions here: http://bdsmovement.net/