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Israeli Director Gets Death Threats After German Officials Call Berlin Film Festival Acceptance Speech ‘Antisemitic’

During his acceptance speech, Abraham denounced the “situation of apartheid” and spoke about ceasefire in Gaza, echoing sentiments expressed by other filmmakers who stood in solidarity with Palestine during the closing ceremony.

Divya Pal

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FOLLOWING his victory at the Berlin Film Festival where he bagged one of the top awards, Israeli filmmaker Yuval Abraham, 29, said that German officials’ labeling of the event as “antisemitic” has resulted in death threats and intimidation against his family members. This is the reason why Abraham has postponed his return to Israel.

His documentary No Other Land, which brings forth the eradication of Palestinian villages in Masafer Yatta, West Bank, earned him the prestigious best documentary award at the Berlinale. During his acceptance speech, Abraham denounced the “situation of apartheid” and spoke about ceasefire in Gaza, echoing sentiments expressed by other filmmakers who stood in solidarity with Palestine during the closing ceremony.

The following day, German media focused on criticism, and several politicians accused the speeches of being “antisemitic,” increasing tensions and jeopardizing Abraham’s safety and that of his family.

While speaking to The Guardian, Yuval Abraham, the son of Holocaust survivors, voiced concern over being labeled as antisemitic for advocating a ceasefire on German soil. He condemned the dangerous results of such accusations, and highlighted the risk they pose to Jewish lives.

Questioning Germany’s response, Abraham told The Guardian, “I don’t know what Germany is trying to do with us… If this is Germany’s way of dealing with its guilt over the Holocaust, they are emptying it of all meaning.” Originally planning to return to Israel post-ceremony, Abraham changed his plans after he discovered Israeli media branding his speech as antisemitic, citing German officials as sources.

Abraham faced both online death threats and physical intimidation targeting his family in Israel, prompting them to leave their home for safety. Reflecting on his heritage, with a grandmother born in a concentration camp and most of his father’s family perishing in the Holocaust, Abraham laid stress on the dangerous weaponization of the term antisemitism.

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