Last September, cultural producers from around the world came together in the Toronto Declaration, to protest the Toronto International Film Festival’s highlighting of Tel Aviv, as part of a Brand Israel marketing campaign. In the face of a disinformation campaign that tried to label Declaration signatories anti-semitic, a Celebration of Solidarity Event took place on September 14th, at Ryerson University – around the corner from major film festival venues. The event included solidarity statements from members of the film industry, and a discussion of why the Toronto Declaration came about.
Speakers included Mazen Mazri, Elle Flanders, Joslyn Barnes, Elia Suleiman and John Greyson.
The discussion was moderated by Judy Rebick.
The event begins with audio from Amy Goodman and Naomi Klein, from a Democracy Now interview recorded in New York earlier in the day. This video can be viewed at: http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/14/no_celebration_of_occupation_1_500
List of testimonials shared the Celebration of Solidarity event:
Ken Loach is an English film and television director known for his influential and thought-provoking films that explore issues of class, labour rights and politics. This year, he successfully persuaded the Edinburgh Film Festival to refuse funding from the Israeli Embassy to comply with the global movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions.
Udi Aloni is an American-Israeli filmmaker, writer and visual artist whose films and social justice work have often presented a critical perspective of Israel.
Howard Zinn is an award-winning Jewish American historian and author of A Peoples History of the United States.
Alice Walker is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple, and a long-time activist for civil rights and peace.
Joy Kogawa is a Canadian poet and novelist, as well as a Member of the Order of British Columbia and the Order of Canada.
Rachel Zolf is a Canadian poet and literary editor.
Viggo Mortenson, is an American actor, poet and musician.
Velcrow Ripper is a Canadian documentary filmmaker whose films examine the intersection of spirituality and politics.
Haidar Eid is a member of the Steering Committee for the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, and a professor of Cultural Studies at Al-Aqsa University in Gaza.
Video excerpts from the event can be found at:
The full text of the Toronto Declaration can be found here: http://torontodeclaration.blogspot.com/