Thursday, July 17, 2008

Israel film 'The Band's Visit' is finally shown in Cairo

An Israeli film has been shown in Cairo for the first time since Egypt and Israel agreed a peace deal nearly 30 years ago. But only one third of the audience were Egyptian, the BBC's Cairo correspondent Magdi Abdelhadi admits.

It was shown for a selected audience at a hotel in Cairo on Thursday.

The screening took place amid tight security and the event was not advertised in advance.

Previous attempts by Israeli filmmakers to take part in film festivals in Egypt met fierce opposition from Egyptian and Arab artists.

The award-winning Israeli film, The Band's Visit, was not allowed to be shown at the Cairo International Film Festival last year.

The Israeli embassy in Cairo has been trying for nearly a year to find a venue that will allow a private screening.

About 100 guests attended the show. According to the Israeli embassy, only about 30% of them were Egyptians.(...)

Opposition to any cultural or economic ties with Israel remains very strong in Egypt.

Writers or artists who go to Israel or even inadvertently happen to be associated with any event organised by the Israeli embassy come under a sustained barrage of attacks from the media.

The campaign against normalising ties with Israel enjoys broad support among the public and Israel is often described by Egyptian intellectuals as the enemy.

Some justify their hostility on the grounds that Israel continues to occupy Palestinian territories.

While others remain radically opposed to the idea of a Jewish state founded 60 years ago on what they still regard as Arab land.

Read article in full

The Band's Visit banned in Egypt

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