ADL Condemns Oslo’s “Human Rights Human Wrongs” Film Festival for Boycotting Israeli Films

Urges City to Withrdaw Support

New York, NY, August 20, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today condemned the “Human Rights Human Wrongs” film festival of Oslo, Norway, for adopting a policy of boycotting Israeli films, and called on the city of Oslo to withdraw its financial support for the film festival.

Roy Zafrani, the Israeli director of “The Other Dreamers,” a documentary film about children with disabilities, received an email from Ketil Magnussen, the film festival director, which stated, “I’m sorry but we can’t show this film. We support the academic and cultural boycott of Israel...” Mr. Zafrani has stated that his film has not received any Israeli government funding.

“The current and prior Norwegian governments have clearly expressed their opposition to boycotts of Israel, and that policy should be implemented at all levels of government,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL National Director. “Academic and cultural boycotts of Israel pushed by the BDS movement – as we are seeing in this particular case in Norway - aim to isolate and demonize Israel and deny the Jewish people their right to self-determination and a homeland.”

In a letter to Stian Berger Røsland, the Governing Mayor of Oslo, the League asked him to secure a public statement from the film festival, renouncing its anti-Israel boycott, or to withdraw the municipality’s financial and political support for the festival and publicly dissociate from it.

On August 19, ADL welcomed an apology from the Rototom Sunsplash reggae festival in Spain for cancelling the appearance of American Jewish singer Matisyahu under pressure from anti-Israel boycott activists. Following widespread condemnation for anti-Jewish discrimination, and acknowledging its mistake, the festival re-issued its invitation.

“The film festival in Oslo should follow the lead of the reggae festival in Spain, which should be a key lesson in not succumbing to the BDS movement,” Mr. Greenblatt said. “We urge the ‘Human Rights Human Wrongs’ film festival to do the same.”