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Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Accused of Promoting Israeli Propaganda
: Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Accused of Promoting Israeli PropagandaBy
: Nomi Morris Published in
: Huffington PostDate of issue
17 September 2009People/entities mentioned in this item:
Actress Julie Christie speaks at the news conference at the 34th Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 16, 2009. She is one of many signatories to a letter condemning what some feel is a disproportionate focus on Israeli cinema at this year's festival.
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Nomi Morris I GlobalPost
TORONTO, Canada - A protest over a Toronto International Film Festival spotlight on Tel Aviv cinema has galvanized the globe's creative community.
From Cairo to Calgary, artists can often be divided on their Middle East views but most agree on the need to draw the line between cultural expression and political advocacy.
As a glamorous parade of celebrities walk the red carpet here, increasing numbers of Hollywood stars are speaking out for or against the festival's critics, who say the Tel Aviv program boosts Israel's tarnished image eight months after its devastating bombing raids in the Gaza Strip.
"We protest that TIFF, whether intentionally or not, has become complicit in the Israeli propaganda machine," said the Toronto Declaration, signed earlier this month by 65 artists, including actresses Jane Fonda and Julie Christie, musicians David Byrne and Harry Belafonte and writers such as Alice Walker and Wallace Shawn.
Since then, 1,500 have added their names to the document, including 60 Israelis. The letter denounces the TIFF focus on Tel Aviv as being subverted by "the Israeli propaganda machine."