Controversy over Julian Schnabel's 'Miral' premiere
Tonight Julian Schnabel’s new film, Miral — about an orphaned Palestinian in the wake of Israel’s 1948 war for independence — is due to premiere at the U.N. headquarters in New York City. But the American Jewish Committee is trying to shut it down. AJC Executive Director David Harris, in a letter to UN General Assembly President Joseph Deiss, states that the film has a “clear political message” which portrays Israel in a “highly negative light.”
Both Schnabel and distributor Harvey Weinstein (also both Jewish-Americans) were quick to respond:
“I’m very proud that TWC is distributing Julian Schnabel’s Miral,” says TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein in a statement. “We pride ourselves on aligning our company with films that take risks and provoke dialogue. Miral is precisely that kind of picture. We are honored that it will have its premiere at the United Nations General Assembly hall, and it saddens me that some in the Jewish community are protesting this screening and judging Miral before they have had an opportunity to see it.”
Says Schnabel, in the official press release: “I love the State of Israel. I believe in it, and my film is about preserving it, not hurting it. Understanding is part of the Jewish way and Jewish people are supposed to be good listeners. But, if we don’t listen to the other side, we can never have peace. Instead of saying ‘no,’ I ask the AJC to say ‘yes,’ see Miral and join the discussion.”
After tonight’s screening, there’ll be a panel discussion featuring Palestinian journalist Mona Eltahawy, Rabbi Irwin Kula, and former Israeli Air Force Captain and co-founder of Combatants for Peace, Yonatan Shapira, moderated by Dan Rather. Miral will be in select theaters March 25.