First Published: 2017-10-05

Arab filmmaker faces Israel probe over Lebanon comments
Israeli culture minister demands probe into prominent filmmaker Bakri after comments made in enemy country Lebanon about Israel’s ‘racist laws’.
Middle East Online

"I don't take her seriously," says Bakri on Regev

JERUSALEM - Israel's culture minister asked the attorney general Sunday to order the investigation of a prominent Arab Israeli filmmaker who spoke out against the Jewish state during a visit to Lebanon.

Mohammed Bakri, who is in Lebanon as part of the "Palestine Days" cultural festival, reportedly said over the weekend that "normalisation with the Zionist enemy is treason, and the debate surrounding it is disgraceful and totally unacceptable".

Bakri called his presence in Lebanon, which is officially in a state of war with Israel, "a victory over (Israel's) racist laws", in remarks carried by the Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar.

On Sunday, Culture Minister Miri Regev asked state attorney Avichai Mandelblit to launch an investigation against Bakri upon his return over visiting an enemy country and "inciting" against the state.

"The absence of a firm response from law enforcement agencies would legitimise this type of unacceptable conduct," Regev wrote in a letter.

The justice ministry refused to comment on the issue.

Bakri told Israel's Channel 2 television that he didn't "believe a word" Regev said.

"I don't take her seriously," he said, stressing he was not afraid of being arrested.

Bakri enraged the Israeli establishment and Jewish public with his documentary film "Jenin, Jenin" about April 2002 clashes in which 52 Palestinians and 23 Israeli soldiers were killed.

The film was banned in Israel after a few screenings, but the supreme court later overturned the ban.

The outspoken Regev, a former military censor who belongs to what is seen as Israel's most right-wing government ever, has also repeatedly taken on the country's largely left-wing Jewish cultural elite.

In recent days, she lashed out against a new film, "Foxtrot", which won the grand jury prize at the Venice film festival as well as Israel's best film award, making it eligible for the Oscars.

Regev, who accused the film of "choosing to lie about the Israeli army", vowed to change how public funds are allocated to the cinema industry.

 

Two Danes stabbed by man shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ in Gabon

UN considers rejecting Trump Jerusalem decision

Israeli air traffic halted due to strikes

Iran's schools suffocate in smog

Christmas in Jordan dimmed by Jerusalem crisis

Turkey slams Austria ‘discrimination’

Tunisia elections delayed

Istanbul summit strong on the rhetoric, weak on concrete steps

Morocco’s Islamists elect new leader, walking away from predecessor’s populism

Palestinians call for protests against Pence Jerusalem visit

Palestinian billionaire detained in Saudi Arabia

Egypt opens Rafah crossing for four days

Turkey court releases 7 suspects in New Year attack trial

Palestinian activist killed in Gaza protests

Foreign fighters a worry as IS struggles to survive

Over half Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in 'extreme poverty'

Palestinians killed in continuing protests over Jerusalem occupation

Bourita: Extraordinary meeting between ECOWAS, Morocco to be held beginning of 2018

Saudi-led air strikes, clashes as Yemen forces battle rebels

Sahel force funding shows terrorism fight is Saudi 'priority'

UN 'appalled' at mass execution of jihadists in Iraq

Iraq's Sistani says Hashed should be under government control

Middle-class Egypt adapts as costs soar

Somalia's budget meets IMF terms

Israel PM questioned in graft probe

US says Iran supplied ballistic missile to Yemen rebels

Lebanon approves bid for oil, gas exploration

US to present 'irrefutable evidence' of Iran violations

Istanbul 'to remove Gulen links' from street names

Iraq hangs 38 jihadists

Pence to visit Middle East despite controversy

Hamas chief calls for continued Jerusalem protests

EU to repatriate 15,000 migrants from Libya in two months

Syria Kurds fear US ally will desert them after IS defeat

Israeli drugmaker Teva to cut 14,000 jobs over two years

Turkey rescues 51 migrants stranded on rocks

Saudi, UAE hold talks with Yemen Islamists

18 killed after bomber strikes Mogadishu police academy

Israeli air strikes target Hamas military facilities

US-led air strikes kill 23 civilians in Syria

Israel union calls nationwide strike over pharmaceutical giant job cuts

UN envoy urges Putin to press Assad for elections

Yemen's Huthi rebels release pro-Saleh media staff

Israel intelligence minister invites Saudi prince to visit

Saudi-led strikes kill 30 in rebel-run Yemen prison