The co-director of a documentary about the Israeli occupation of the West Bank says he is facing threats after using an award speech to call out what he described as Israeli “apartheid.”

“No Other Land” follows the expulsion of Palestinian residents of Masafer Yatta, an area in the southern West Bank that the Israeli army uses for training, and where Israeli settlers have attacked Palestinians.

According to its synopsis, the film uses footage of “the slow-motion eradication of the villages in [co-director Basel Adra’s] home region where soldiers deployed by the Israeli government are gradually demolishing houses and driving out their residents.”

On Saturday, Adra and co-director Yuval Abraham accepted the Best Documentary Award and the Audience Favorite Documentary Award at the Berlin Film Festival, and used an award speech to highlight the current situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Addressing the festival, Adra said it was difficult to celebrate “while there are tens of thousands of my people being slaughtered and massacred by Israel in Gaza,” and while “Masafer Yatta, my community, is being also razed by Israeli bulldozers.” He called on the German government to stop sending weapons to Israel.

And Abraham, for his part, called for a ceasefire, an “end [to] the occupation,” and a political solution. When he and Adra return home, he said, “we will go back to a land where we are not equal.”

“I am living under civilian law, and Basel is under military law,” Abraham said. “We live 30 minutes from one another, but I have voting rights, and Basel [does not have] voting rights. I’m free to move where I want in this land. Basel is, like millions of Palestinians, locked in the occupied West Bank. This situation of apartheid between us — this inequality — it has to end.”

The remarks sparked a quick and furious reaction, Abraham claimed.

“I’ve been receiving death threats since,” Abraham wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Sunday. On Tuesday, he wrote that “a right-wing Israeli mob came to my family’s home yesterday to search for me, threatening close family members who fled to another town in the middle of the night.” Abraham said he had also canceled his flight home.

Labeling the awards speech antisemitic, he added, puts co-director Adra’s “life in danger.”

“He is in far greater danger than I am,” Abraham said.

On Monday, German authorities said they were investigating the “one-sided” nature of speeches at the event. The Israeli public broadcaster Kan called Abraham’s remarks “anti-semitic” (and then walked back the label).

After ceremony footage showed German Culture Minister Claudia Roth applauding the speech, her office wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that her clapping “was directed at the Jewish-Israeli journalist and filmmaker Yuval Abraham, who spoke out in favor of a political solution and a peaceful co-existence in the region” — but that she wasn’t applauding Adra.

Neither director immediately responded to HuffPost’s request for comment on the reaction to their speech. +972 and Local Call, two regional publications where the directors have published work in the past, said in a post Wednesday that they “unequivocally stand with our colleagues” and said the campaign against the two men is indicative of “alarming trends.”

“It illustrates the depravity of Germany’s discourse on antisemitism, which has twisted itself so far as to interpret statements against Israel’s occupation — even by Jews themselves — as anti-Jewish racism. It reflects the growing intolerance for hearing hard truths about Israeli apartheid, not just in places like Masafer Yatta, but also in Gaza, which continues to be besieged and bombarded. And it shows that many cannot comprehend a partnership between Palestinians and Israelis that recognizes their power dynamics and actively co-resists the systems of dispossession and domination that make them unequal under Israeli law.”


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