Palestinians: Boycott Toronto Film Festival Over Tel Aviv Spotlight

Dozens of Palestinian filmmakers, writers and artists protest outside the offices of the Canadian representative in West Bank.

Palestinian artists on Thursday called for a boycott of the Toronto International Film Festival for screening a series of movies about Tel Aviv.

The spotlight on the city is part of the Festival's City to City event, which this year celebrates Tel Aviv's centennial.

Dozens of Palestinian filmmakers, writers and artists protested outside the offices of the Canadian representative in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

Protesters earlier handed the Canadian mission a letter condemning the festival for showcasing Tel Aviv.

Around 1000 international artists and activists have also signed a letter in protest against the festival, which opened on Thursday, claiming that Tel Aviv was built on violence, ignoring the "suffering of thousands of former residents and descendants."

The "Toronto Declaration" was drafted by an ad-hoc committee including culture critic Naomi Klein and director John Greyson, who announced their protest over the homage to Tel Aviv.

Among those who've signed their names to the list are actors Jane Fonda, Danny Glover and Eve Ensler, as well as author Alice Walker, filmmaker Ken Loach and theorist Slavoj Zizek.

Recently the Israeli filmmaker Udu Aloni, one of the letter's initiators, sent a public appeal to enlist Israeli film Duo Gal Uchovsky and Eitan Fuchs, whose film "The bubble" will be screened at the festival.

Two-time Oscar winner Rabbi Marvin Hier, who founded the Simon Wiesenthal Center, called the declaration "an attack on the heart and soul of Israel."

"People who support letters like this are people who do not support a two-state solution," he was quoted as saying on Hilton's blog.

"By calling into question the legitimacy of Tel Aviv, they are supporting a one-state solution, which means the destruction of the State of Israel. I applaud the organizers of the festival for celebrating on the 100th anniversary of Tel Aviv. If every city in the Middle East would be as culturally diverse, as open to freedom of expression as Tel Aviv is, then peace would long have come to the Middle East."