Award-winning filmmaker Ziad Doueiri defended his recent visit to Israel in an interview with Al-Arabiya TV.
Doueiri, who is both a Lebanese and US citizen and has worked with the likes of Pulp Fiction director Quentin Tarantino, shot his newest film in Hebrew, even employing Israeli actors and actresses.
In response to a question as to whether he regretted breaking Lebanese law, which prohibits citizens from visiting the country, Doueiri said that the fact that it does “harms Lebanese artists, not Israel.” Doueiri also noted that he visited Israel on his U.S. passport.
He continued: “It harms the spreading of our ideas, our narrative, abroad. They want to remain boxed in within the tiny Lebanese shack, which is managed by four or five people. They think they are punishing Israel, but they are punishing people like me.”
The full transcript of the interview is posted below (courtesy of MEMRI TV):
Interviewer: Your movie was filmed in Israel, in Hebrew, with an Israeli actress. Doesn’t this contravene Lebanese law?
Ziad Doueiri: Technically, it is not against the law to film a movie in Hebrew. What was against the law was my going to Israel, and filming a movie with some Israeli actors. True, that was against the law, but there are more important issues. The question is about the law itself. I went to Israel as a U.S. citizen, on a U.S. passport. Before going, I gave official notification to the military intelligence about this, so they would not think that I was collaborating with Israel behind their backs. I wrote a letter to the military intelligence and sent it through the Information Ministry. I presented myself and said that I planned to go to the occupied land, in order to film a movie in Palestine with some Israeli actors. I told them that I had to do this because the entire plot takes place between Tel Aviv and Nablus.
The insane committee [for boycotting Israel] talks about “normalization.” They commercialize the Palestinian cause. We accuse anybody who is against us of supporting normalization, and this is a mistake. On my way here, on the Métro, I was thinking that the committee for boycotting Israel harms Lebanese artists, not Israel. It harms the spreading of our ideas, our narrative, abroad. They want to remain boxed in within the tiny Lebanese shack, which is managed by four or five people. They think they are punishing Israel, but they are punishing people like me.
Israel does not even respond to the U.S. and European pressure to stop the settlements. The last thing Israel cares about is Beirut’s committee for boycotting Israel, which they probably never even heard of. The only way to change the conduct of the Israeli state is from within. The Israelis relate only to the Israelis. They ignore the Americans, the Russians, and the whole world. In my opinion, when …read more
Source: The Algemeiner