Report: Anti-Zionist Israeli to Direct Movie for Israel's 60th Birthday

Director Eyal Sivan, who called Israel a 'historic mistake,' to receive NIS 650,000 in state funds for movie.

Haaretz Service
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Haaretz Service

An Israeli director who is a self-proclaimed "anti-Zionist" has been hired by an Israeli television channel to direct a film marking the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the state, Army Radio reported Sunday.

According to the report, Eyal Sivan will be given a NIS 650,000 grant, paid for by Israeli taxpayers, to direct a film for next year's Independence Day, Israel's 60th.

The film will be part of the "Past and Present in Israel" project, meant to promote Israel's "Jaffa" brand citrus fruit. It will be produced by Channel 8 television, together with the Jerusalem Cinematheque and the Rabinovitch Fund.

Sivan, who has resided in Paris for the past 15 years, directed the 1999 film "The Specialist," which used footage from Adolf Eichmann's trial to portray the architect of the Final Solution as just a Nazi party bureaucrat, the radio said. The film also attempted to present Sivan's view that Eichmann's Jewish victims could have done more to prevent themselves from being murdered, it said.

In an interview in 2001 in the French newspaper "Le Monde," Sivan famously referred to the UN's 1947 partition plan, which called for a Jewish homeland in Palestine, as a "historical mistake." He also said that the rise of anti-Semitism in France is in large part due to the support for Israel by French Jews.

Sivan co-directed with Palestinian director Michel Kleifi the 2007 documentary "Route 181," which deals with life along the seam line, which formed the pre-1967 West Bank border.

According to the radio report, French Jewish academic Alan Finkelkraut called the movie "incitement to murder" for the comparisons it draws between the treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli government and the experience of European Jews during the Holocaust. Sivan sued Finkelkraut in French court in 2007 over the remark, but the lawsuit was thrown out.

The radio report stated that during the Second Lebanon War last summer, Sivan joined a group of Israeli filmmakers in signing a petition pledging support to Lebanese and Palestinian civilians. The petition read: "We the signatories are absolutely against the brutality and cruelty of the State of Israel as shown in the news from recent weeks."

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