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Artists and Activists Protest Tel Aviv Program at Toronto Film Fest

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has a way of popping up in any number of seemingly unrelated arenas across the world, such as the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival, where a planned Tel Aviv-themed program has spurred several entertainers, including Jane Fonda, Danny Glover and David Byrne, as well as writers and filmmakers, to sign a letter of protest that’s shaking things up with just days to go before the fest begins. All of the 10 films in City to City, a new program at the festival, will focus on the Israeli city. –KA

Toronto Star:

More than 60 people – including prominent members of the Jewish community such as author/activist Naomi Klein, Judy Rebick and Israel filmmaker Udi Aloni – have signed a letter protesting the Israeli financial capital’s inclusion in the festival’s inaugural City to City program.

As reported in the Star last week, Toronto filmmaker John Greyson initiated the protest by withdrawing his documentary Covered from the festival.

The tentative plan is to hold a press conference with a final list of signators, said filmmaker Richard Fung, one of the organizers.

The list also includes prominent names such as actors Jane Fonda and Danny Glover, British filmmaker Ken Loach, musician David Byrne as well as artists from Canada, the United States, Europe and Africa.

A core group of largely Toronto-based Jewish filmmakers is accusing the festival of playing into “the Israeli propaganda machine” with the City to City program, which excludes Palestinian voices from the 10-film program.

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