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Festival uproar: Anger at Israeli films

By Guy Adams

The Arab-Israeli question is at the centre of a fierce row overshadowing next week's Toronto Film Festival, with a group of prominent artists and celebrities accusing the festival organisers of sponsoring "the Israeli propaganda machine."

Fifty actors, writers and directors – including Jane Fonda, Danny Glover, Naomi Klein and Ken Loach – signed a letter urging fans to boycott the prestigious festival over its plans to screen a series of films from Tel Aviv.



Ten movies were selected for the "city-to-city" programme but not one of them was made by, or features, a Palestinian. As a result, critics have likened the imitative to a celebration of apartheid-era South Africa.



"This programme ignores the suffering of thousands of former residents and descendants of the [Tel Aviv] area who currently live in refugee camps in the Occupied Territories," reads their letter. "We object to the use of such an important international festival in staging a propaganda campaign." The Canadian film-maker John Greyson has already pulled his documentary Covered out of the 35-year-old event in protest.



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