Culture Minister: Artists free to boycott Israeli film

Police turned out in force at the French Cultural Center on Sunday after several Egyptian artists announced plans to demonstrate outside the center for showing an Israeli film. "Almost Normal," a film by Israeli director Keren Ben-Rafael, had been scheduled to be shown at the center’s sixth annual film festival.

Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni lashed out at the French embassy for insisting on showing the film despite Egyptian sentiments.

"Whoever wants to see the film can do so, but we will boycott it," he declared. "If Israel desires the normalization of cultural relations, it must take more steps towards peace."

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaky similarly criticized the embassy for its stance.

Egyptian filmmaker Mahmoud el-Lozy, for his part, withdrew his movie from the festival. "Ben-Rafael shot a film that promotes the Israeli army," he said. "The French embassy should not insist on showing it. They even had the nerve to accuse us of ‘antisemitism’ for our decision to boycott it."

Festival director Latifa Fahmy cut her vacation short to return to the center, but declined to give any statements to the press.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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