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We’re not Israelis: Palestinians to Cannes

Palestinian cast members of the film ‘Let There Be Morning’ boycott the 2021 Cannes Film Festival because of being accepted under the "Israeli Film" category.

Palestinian cast members of the film ‘Let There Be Morning’ boycott the 2021 Cannes Film Festival because of being accepted under "Israeli Film" category.

“We cannot ignore the contradiction of the film’s entry into Cannes under the label of an “Israeli film” when Israel continues to carry its decades-long colonial campaign of ethnic cleansing, expulsion, and apartheid against us—the Palestinian people,” the cast said in a statement.

The production team further noted, "Each time the film industry assumes that we and our work fall under the ethno-national label of "Israeli," it further perpetuates an unacceptable reality that imposes on us, Palestinian artists with Israeli citizenship, an identity imposed by Zionist colonization to maintain the ongoing oppression of Palestinians inside historic Palestine; the denial of our language, history and identity, adding “Expecting us to stand idly by and accept the label of a state that has sanctioned this latest wave of violence and dispossession not only normalizes apartheid but also continues to permit the denial and whitewashing of violence and crimes inflicted on Palestinians."

Responding to the decision of the artists, Israeli director Eran Kolirin, claimed that it was not a boycott, but rather a political act.

“Our decision to boycott Cannes due to the bureaucratic decision to categorize the film as Israeli is not just symbolic for us. We stand together and call on the artistic and international community to amplify the voice of Palestinian artists,” the artists said.

“We oppose all forms of oppression of the Israeli regime against the right of the Palestinian people to live, be and create,” they added.

The film, which is adapted from the book of the same name by Palestinian writer Sayed Kashua, tells the story of an Israeli Palestinian who comes to discover his identity.