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Home Culture UK cinema chains let ‘culture be CANCELLED’ as they refuse to host Israeli film festival

UK cinema chains let ‘culture be CANCELLED’ as they refuse to host Israeli film festival

by moneylab

Cinemas’ role ‘should be to show films and culture… not cancel culture’, the festival’s co-founder said

An Israeli film festival’s co-founder has slammed a pair of UK cinema chains for promoting “cancel culture” after they refused to host screenings for the event, allegedly due to the “political atmosphere”.

Odelia Haroush, the co-founder and chief exec of the Seret International Film Festival – which showcases the “best of Israeli feature films, documentaries, shorts and TV” – said Curzon Cinemas and Picturehouse Cinemas, despite the pair being long-term partners of the festival, had declined to show films featured in this year’s offering.


Haroush said Seret had been pushed to drop film showings in Cambridge over what she called the “political atmosphere with the university and students there”.

Haroush added: “Their role should be to show films and culture and not cancel culture… Especially now; don’t cancel Palestinian culture, Russian culture, Ukrainian culture or Israeli culture.

Odelia Haroush said Curzon and Picturehouse had declined to show films featured in this year’s offering


“It is not that I am going to show [films] that show everything is blooming and great in Israel.

“We pick films on their artistic values and not political values. But I believe from the bottom of my heart in free speech.”

She said people involved in the film world were “not the ones to blame for what is going on in Israel”, and that she believed it was important its culture could be seen throughout the rest of the world.

Haroush continued: “This is why I am fighting; I want to show their work outside Israel… [But] the pressures on cinema houses and the pressure not to go and see a film is very very big now.”


Baroness Fox of Buckley said: “If we let such censorship have a free pass, it means a serious blow to artistic freedom in general”

UK Parliament/Seret International

The festival attracted a string of demonstrations earlier this year when it was being shown at cinemas in Amsterdam and Barcelona.

In the former, protests became “violent”, while in the latter, a cinema banned a film screening, forcing Haroush to relocate with just 24 hours’ notice.

Though Seret is “independent, non-political and non-religious”, it does receive Israeli state funding – though Haroush said this accounted for under five per cent of the festival’s budget.

She said the festival – a registered charity – received “much more funding” from the New Israel Fund, which Haroush described as “very left-wing” and a supporter of a “two-state solution”.

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