Israeli ‘Aggressive Attack’ on Film Depicting 1948 Killing of Palestinians

'All the campaigning against Farha will not deter us from our goal which is to share the film and the story it tells with audiences worldwide,' the film’s creators posted on the film's Instagram account

A still from ‘Farha.’Credit: TaleBox / Picture Tree International


The creators of a Jordanian film showing Israeli soldiers murdering a Palestinian family during the 1948 War of Independence, also known as the Palestinian Nakba, have condemned the “violent attack on the film” by Israeli officials and media.

“All the campaigning against Farha will not deter us from our goal which is to share the film and the story it tells with audiences worldwide…in the midst of Farha’s Oscar efforts,” the film’s creators posted on its Instagram account.

“In the past 48 hours our film, Farha, has been aggressively attacked by Israeli government officials and the Israeli media there, as well as by Israeli individuals on Facebook,” they added.

The director, Darin Sallam, and the producers, Deema Azar and Ayah Jardenah wrote that they “condemn all the accusations to discredit Farha and the organized campaign against the film on to drastically lower its ratings [and] attempts to just down the screening of the film yesterday in Saraya Yaffa Theater, and the threats to cancel Netflix subscriptions.”

The post condemns the “hateful messages” by Israelis about the film and that they would not condone threats against them. “The timing of this attack in Israel is not a coincidence, as it was planned ahead of the film’s screening in the city of Jaffa on November 30,” one day before it launched on Netflix. They wrote that the campaign against the film “is meant to prevent the film from being seen globally and with the obvious attempt to harm it.”

Such attempts, the team wrote, “to silence our voices as Semite/Arabs and as Women filmmakers to dehumanize us and prevent us from telling our stories, our narrative and our truth are against any freedom of speech.”

The creators wrote at the end of their statement that they were overwhelmed by the amount of support the film is receiving globally, and that they “are grateful to everyone who is doing their part to stand up against this attack and ensure that the film is spoken about and seen.”

“Farha” in which Israel Defense Forces soldiers are shown murdering a Palestinian family, takes place in Palestine in 1948. The plot is about a Palestinian girl whose father locks her in a dark storage room to protect her during the Israel Defense Forces’ assault on her village. It includes a scene in which the Israeli soldiers execute her entire family, including a baby. The film’s trailer and advertisements say it was inspired by real events. The trailer and publications about the film state that it was inspired by real events.

The film has been available on Netflix in Israel since Thursday, but only in the English version, on the English interface, and without Hebrew subtitles. Haaretz checked and found that as opposed to some of the reports and commentators in the media over the past few days, “Farha” was not planned to be translated into Hebrew.

This is also true of other films created in the Arab world and in other countries, including South Korea, Czech Republic and Indonesia. Films that are not translated into Hebrew do not appear to subscribers to the Hebrew interface, but can be seen as usual on the English interface.

The film has been shown at several international festivals, including the high-profile Toronto Film Festival, where it had its first screening in 2021. Speaking at a different festival, the director said that when she was a child, she heard this story about a Palestinian girl being locked in a room by her father to protect both her life and “family honor.”

The girl survived and moved to Syria, said Sallam, where she shared her story with a Syrian girl. The Syrian girl then grew up, married and shared the story with her daughter – Sallam herself. Since then, Sallam continued, she has never stopped thinking about that girl and what happened to her.

On Wednesday last week, Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman instructed that preparations be made to withdraw government funding from al-Saraya Theater in Jaffa because of the intention to screen the film. The directive came after an earlier call by Culture Minister Chili Tropper to withdraw government funding from the theater.

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