‘YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED’: Israeli Envoy Naor Gilon

29 November, 2022 | Pranay Lad

Israeli Top News

Nadav Lapid, the jury chair for the IFFI, has come under fire from the Israeli ambassador to India, for his comments on The Kashmir Files, which he described as vulgar and propagandist.

Nadav Lapid, an Israeli screenwriter and jury chair at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), was criticised by Israel’s ambassador to India, Naor Gilon, in an open letter for his comments on the film The Kashmir Files, which he described as vulgar and propagandist. Naor Gilon urged Lapid to utilise freedom to voice his criticism of Israel’s shortcomings rather than venting his resentment at other nations on Twitter. Further criticising the jury chair, the Israeli ambassador remarked, “You will go back to Israel believing that you are daring and “made a statement.” We would remain here, the representatives of Israel.

In a series of Tweets, the Israeli envoy wrote an open letter to Nadav Lapid

  • An open letter to Nadav Lapid following his criticism of The Kashmir Files. It’s not in Hebrew because I wanted our Indian brothers and sisters to be able to understand. It is also relatively long so I’ll give you the bottom line first. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED. Here’s why:
  • In Indian culture they say that a guest is like God. You have abused in the worst way the Indian invitation to chair the panel of judges at @IFFIGoa as well as the trust, respect and warm hospitality they have bestowed on you.
  • Our Indian friends brought @lioraz and @issacharoff from @FaudaOfficial in order to celebrate the love in India towards Fauda and Israel. I suspect that this is maybe also one of the reasons they invited you as an Israeli and me as the ambassador of Israel.
  • I understand your need in retrospect to “justify” your behavior but I can’t understand why you told @ynetnews afterwards that the minister and I said on stage that there is similarity between our countries because “we fight a similar enemy and reside in a bad neighborhood”.
  • We did speak about the similarities and closeness between our countries. The minister spoke about his visits to Israel, it being a Hi-Tech nation and the potential of combining this with the film industry. I spoke about the fact that we grew up watching Indian films.
  • I also said that we should be humble when India, with such a great film culture, is consuming Israeli content (Fauda and more).
  • I’m no film expert but I do know that it’s insensitive and presumptuous to speak about historic events before deeply studying them and which are an open wound in India because many of the involved are still around and still paying a price.
  • As a son of a holocaust survivor, I was extremely hurt to see reactions in India to you that are doubting Schindler’s List, the Holocaust and worse. I unequivocally condemn such statements. There is no justification. It does show the sensitivity of the Kashmir issue here.
  • From your interview to Ynet the connection you make between your criticism of The Kashmir Files and your dislike to what is happening in Israeli politics was quite evident.
  • My suggestion. As you vocally did in the past, feel free to use the liberty to sound your criticism of what you dislike in Israel but no need to reflect your frustration on other countries. I’m not sure that you have enough factual basis to make such comparisons. I know I don’t.
  • You will go back to Israel thinking that you are bold and “made a statement”. We, the representatives of Israel, would stay here. You should see our DM boxes following your “bravery” and what implications it may have on the team under my responsibility.
  • The friendship between the people and the states of India and Israel is very strong and will survive the damage you have inflicted. As a human being, I feel ashamed and want to apologize to our hosts for the bad manner in which we repaid them for their generosity and friendship.

What remarks did Nadav Lapid make over The Kashmir Files:

The 53rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI) jury chair and Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid on Monday called the movie “The Kashmir Files” “propaganda” and “vulgar.”

Lapid stated in his statement at the IFFI 2022 closing ceremony that he was “disturbed and horrified” to see the movie being shown there.

“The movie ‘The Kashmir Files’ startled and surprised us all. We thought it was a crass and propagandist picture that had no place in the aesthetic competition of such a prominent film festival.

The festival’s ethos can actually welcome critical conversation, which is crucial for both art and life, therefore I feel safe sharing this sentiment with you, Lapid added.

The Kashmir Files, which debuted in theatres on March 11, was exhibited on November 22 as a part of the IFFI’s Indian Panorama Section.

The movie, which was written, directed, and made by Zee Studios, recounts the evacuation of Kashmiri Hindus from Kashmir when militants with support from Pakistan killed members of the community.

Among the cast are Pallavi Joshi, Darshan Kumar, Mithun Chakraborty, and Anupam Kher.

On November 22, Kher attended the special screening of the movie at the 53rd IFFI. On November 20, the nine-day film festival got underway.

The criticism didn’t just stop at the Israeli Envoy, users all over social media were left enraged after the remark.

Where users were expressing their displease over the remark, there were some who were supporting his statement.