Ministers condemn ‘terrible’ Jordanian film about 1948 war slated to hit Netflix

Avigdor Liberman suggests withholding funding from Jaffa theater set to screen ‘Farha,’ which he says ‘incites against Israeli soldiers’

Jordanian film director Darin J. Sallam (center) accepting an award for 'Farha' at the Red Sea Film Festival in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on December 13, 2021. (AFP)
Jordanian film director Darin J. Sallam (center) accepting an award for 'Farha' at the Red Sea Film Festival in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on December 13, 2021. (AFP)

Outgoing Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman on Wednesday condemned Netflix over its decision to stream a Jordanian film depicting alleged atrocities against Palestinians during the 1948 conflict that surrounded Israel’s creation.

Liberman, the head of the Yisrael Beytenu party, also suggested withdrawing state funding from a theater in Jaffa that plans to show the film.

“Farha,” directed by Jordanian filmmaker Darin J. Sallam, tells the story of a 14-year-old Palestinian girl whose village comes under attack by Israeli forces, who are depicted executing civilians.

It will be available for streaming on Netflix as of Thursday after featuring in the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival.

“It’s crazy that Netflix decided to stream a movie whose whole purpose is to create a false pretense and incite against Israeli soldiers,” Liberman said in a statement.

He also slammed as “unacceptable” the decision by the Al Saraya theater in Jaffa, which receives state subsidies, to screen the film.

Finance Minister and Yisrael Beytenu party chairman Avigdor Liberman speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset on November 15, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

“All the available measures, including denying funding, should be employed, Liberman said, “to prevent this terrible screening or similar films in the future.”

Outgoing Culture Minister Chili Tropper said the film shows “lies and libels,” and Al Saraya’s plan to screen it “is a disgrace.”

“I call on the theater’s management to change their decision to screen the film,” Tropper added.

The theater director did not immediately respond to a request by AFP to comment on the screening.

“Farha” is not the first film to stir controversy over alleged Israeli atrocities in 1948, when more than 760,000 Palestinians fled or were forced from their homes.

Most recently, Israeli director Alon Schwarz faced widespread backlash over his 2022 documentary on an alleged massacre of Palestinians in Tantura, a coastal Mediterranean village in the northwest of what is now Israel.

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