Statement of support for Yuval Abraham and Basel Adea, directors of No Other Land

Directors Yuval Abraham and Basel Adra have experienced a violent backlash after their award acceptance speech at the Berlinale. IMS unequivocally supports the rights of filmmakers to accurately portray reality and promote justice without being subjected to threats and security risks.

At this year’s Berlinale, No Other Land, a documentary by Israeli filmmaker and journalist Yuval Abraham and Palestinian filmmaker and activist Basel Adra, won the award for best documentary.

IMS supported the film in its initial stages, and I was very excited to see it recognised by one of the world’s largest film festivals. Sadly, my excitement was quickly replaced by disbelief at what has happened since.

No Other Land portrays the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the brutal and illegal takeover of land in Basel’s home region of Masafer Yatta. Yuval and Basel used their Berlinale acceptance speech to call for a ceasefire in Gaza and to highlight the deep inequalities between Israelis and Palestinians.

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Yuval said:

“I am Israeli, Basel is Palestinian, and in two days, we will go back to a land where we are not equal. I am living under civilian law and Basel is under military law. We live 30 minutes from one another, but I have voting rights and Basel does not have voting rights. I am free to move where I want in this land. Basel is – like millions of Palestinians – locked in the occupied West Bank. The situation of apartheid between us, this inequality, has to end.” 

Basel and Yuval pleaded for nothing more than what the UN has called for in countless resolutions in an effort to secure justice and a viable future for both Israelis and Palestinians.

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However, both Israeli and German politicians subsequently framed the two filmmakers’ speech as anti-Semitic. Since the award ceremony last Saturday, Yuval and Basel have experienced a violent backlash. Yuval Abraham has received a storm of death threats and a right-wing mob showed up at his family’s home, forcing him to postpone his return to Israel.  

These unacceptable threats constitute serious violations against the basic right of freedom of expression; a right which Yuval, Basel and the entire crew behind No Other Land have exercised with care, intelligence and cooperation with the aim of making all of us a bit wiser.

An Israeli-Palestinian co-production like No Other Land should have provided us with some much-needed hope in a situation where many feel hopeless. Instead, the film’s universal plea for peace and justice is being misconstrued as anti-Semitic and hateful. 

IMS unequivocally supports the rights of filmmakers and journalists to accurately portray reality and promote justice with a focus on the equal rights of people and our common humanity. 

We hope that many will watch No Other Land so that the outstanding journalistic and artistic efforts of Basel and Yuval will not drown in unjustified controversy and polarisation. For those in and around Denmark, the film will be shown at this year’s CPH:DOX film festival, where there will also be a chance to meet the two directors in Copenhagen. The film will also be screened in six other Danish cities. Find more information here.