The Berlinale distanced itself from statements made by individual filmmakers about the war in the Middle East at its awards ceremony on Saturday night. “The statements of the prize winners are independent, individual opinions. They in no way reflect the position of the festival,” a Berlinale spokeswoman told the German Press Agency.

“As long as they remain within the law, we must accept them,” he continued. The Berlinale understands that the statements of some prize winners were “perceived as too one-sided”, but also notes that expression of opinion at cultural events cannot and should not be prohibited in principle.

Criticism: One-sided accusations against Israel

During the awards ceremony on Saturday night, several award winners commented on the war in Gaza in ways that drew criticism. What was particularly striking, critics said, was that many of the speakers made one-sided accusations against Israel, without mentioning the Oct. 7, 2023, terrorist attack by the Islamist Hamas movement or calling for the return of Israeli hostages.

Only Berlinale co-director Mariette Rissenbeck struck a different tone: “We call on Hamas to immediately release the hostages, and we call on Israel to do everything possible to protect and assure the civilian population in the Gaza Strip that lasting peace can be possible.” return to the region.”

The Central Council of Jews pointed out

In doing so, the Central Council is likely alluding to the last document of fifteen years 2022, which was marred by the treatment of art that was criticized as anti-Semitic.

Filmmakers call for an end to fighting in the Gaza Strip

This year’s Berlinale was particularly marked by political debates. At the grand opening, some filmmakers called for an end to fighting in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas. At the awards ceremony on Saturday, several people on stage carried notes reading “Ceasefire Now” – protesting for an end to Israeli military action against the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip.

In addition, on Sunday, an anti-Israeli post appeared on the Instagram page of the Berlinale’s Panorama section, which was quickly deleted and then circulated as a screenshot on X. One photo showed the slogan “Free Palestine – from the river to the sea.”

This proposal means that there should be a free Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea – where Israel is now. The film festival also distanced itself from this and said it was the victim of a hacker attack.

“The fact that someone is misusing the Berlinale social channel for anti-Semitic incitement is intolerable,” dpa said when asked about it. The posts were immediately removed and an investigation is underway to determine how the incident may have occurred. “And we opened a criminal case against unknown persons. We condemn this criminal act in the strongest possible terms.” (day per year/foot)

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