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LETTERS TO THE ORGANIZERS OF THE SAN FRANCISCO JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL
 

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The KORET Foundation pulls its funding from the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
 
As staunch champions and allies of Israel, the Koret and Taube Foundations do not support any organization that promotes or provokes anti-Israel sentiment; nor do we provide funding to any organization whose mission runs counter to our position. In this instance, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival has made three egregious errors in its upcoming presentation of the film, "Rachel":
 
- It is partnering with Jewish Voice for Peace and the American Friends Service Committee, two virulently anti-Israel, anti-Semitic groups that support boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against Israel. Both are closely associated with the International Solidarity Movement and other groups that aid and abet terror against the Jewish State. These groups cross the line for inclusion in the Jewish community.
 
- The film festival made a conscious choice to present a film that lays blame for the accidental death of a civilian at the door of the State of Israel. We are deeply saddened by loss of life, most notably the countless Israeli lives lost and interrupted by virtue of service to their country.
Presenting the story of a girl who put herself in harm’s way in no way advances our community dialogue. In fact, it threatens our community purposes.
 
- Finally, we are appalled at the film festival’s decision to invite Cindy Corrie into our community. This bereaved mother cannot help but have a negative bias toward Israel. Why would a Jewish organization hand her a microphone and a soapbox from which to condemn Israel as Jewish audiences are expected to sit and listen politely? There is no possible counterbalance to an emotional, grieving mother.
 
Those who cavalierly fling Israel’s future into the grasp of those who would destroy it betray a mainstay of the mainstream Jewish community to support Israel and to counteract anti-Israel propaganda events, speakers and organizations. In this case, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival has aligned itself with the wrong side.
 
 
Jeffrey A. Farber
Chief Executive Officer
Koret Foundation Funds
33 New Montgomery Street, Suite 1090
San Francisco, CA 94105
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questions about co-presenters of "Rachel" event
Dear Mr. Stein and San Francisco Jewish Film Festival Board of Directors,
I am disappointed, though not surprised, that you did not answer the questions I posed regarding the nature and extent of the SFJFF's involvement with Jewish Voice for Peace and the American Friends Select Committee, two organizations well-known for their virulent demonization and delegitimization of the Jewish State.  In any case, actions speak louder than words.  Within a day of my pointing out that a member of the festival board of directors, Rachel Pfeffer, was the National Director of Jewish Voice for Peace, the following events occurred:
 
Ms. Pfeffer's biographical information on the SFJFF website was altered in order to obscure her affiliation with the JVP.

The president of your board of directors, who was apparently very opposed to the SFJFF putting on this extremely anti-Israel, anti-Semitic event, resigned her position.
Most likely with encouragement from festival leadership, Cindy Corrie and Simone Bitton (director of Rachel) sent emails to the Bay Area leaders of the International Solidarity Movement and South Bay Mobilization (two virulently anti-Israel organizations that aid and abet terrorism against Israel and work towards the elimination of the Jewish State),  decrying the efforts of the "Pro-Israel Lobbies" to stop the "Rachel" event, and calling on all of their anti-Israel supporters to flood the Castro Theatre for the Saturday screening of "Rachel" and talk by Cindy Corrie.

You issued a public statement acknowledging that the "Rachel" program was divisive, antagonizing and upsetting to members of the Jewish community, but instead of canceling the event, you cynically chose to add insult to injury by bringing a token pro-Israel activist to participate in it, in an attempt to disarm your critics and legitimize this disgraceful demonization and delegitimization of the Jewish State.
 
So despite your silence regarding my questions, it is now abundantly clear that the "Rachel" event was never intended to bring a "democratic exchange of ideas" to the Jewish community, as you wrote in your first public statement about it, but rather to bring harm to the Jewish State and the Jewish people. It is not surprising that your egregiously selfish actions have caused deep anger and outrage in the Jewish community, and brought shame and opprobrium to this year's Jewish Film Festival.  What is surprising, and absolutely unconscionable, is that you do not even care. 
 
While there is still time, I respectfully urge you to reconsider your course of action, and choose the path of integrity:
 
Cancel this despicable event, including both screenings of "Rachel," and Cindy Corrie's talk.Do your best to reverse the terrible hurt you have caused, starting with issuing a public statement explaining that canceling the event was done for the good of the Jewish community, which is your top priority.
 
Resign your positions.  Collectively and individually, you have shown yourselves to be unworthy of positions of  leadership, and you should allow others who truly care about the Jewish community to replace you.
 
I hope that the hundreds of individuals who have been blind-copied on this email, and many others, will add their voices to mine and let you, as well as the Jewish communal leaders copied here, know that this is indeed the proper course of action.
 
Sincerely,
Tammi Benjamin
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Dear Festival coordinators,

 

I am very disturbed by the inclusion of the film about Rachel Corrie in your film festival. This film is supported by groups that have self-identified as enemies of Israel. What are you thinking? Is this the kind of movie that should be run in an Israel film festival?

 

There are enough Israel haters out there who are presenting the same views as in the Rachel Corrie film. Why must you join the ranks of those presenting Israel as a villain?

 

We need to show the world the positive side of Israel through films.  Please, for the sake of the Jewish community, do not show this film!

 

Dr. N. Bonus
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It was with utter incredulity that I learned that the San Francisco Film Festival is to include a virulently anti Israel film and speaker in your schedule. Just what motivates you to promote the Rachel Corrie film, which gives a totally distorted view of the facts surrounding the death of a young lady who opted to be a part of the International Solidarity Movement, acting against Israel, and who has been pictured burning the American flag in a public demonstration, and who deliberately put herself in danger by confronting Israeli forces in a war zone…

 

While everyone with any heart mourns the death of Rachel Corrie, the way that death has been presented and the lies that have been told, in my mind, have no place in a Jewish Film Festival. There are even false pictures available showing how the story has been manipulated and misrepresented and I would be happy to provide you with copies.

The links of some of the Board of the Festival to anti Israel organizations, some of which promote an illegal boycott of Israel, and others which peddle misinformation and lies, are clearly the catalyst for such an inappropriate choice of film and one would hope that the organizers will think again about showing it and giving Rachel's mother a platform. What a coup that is for the enemies of Israel, and those who are not only anti Israel, but many of whom are motivated by unashamed anti-Semitism.

 

Can you imagine a pro Israel film being shown at a Palestinian Film Festival? There would be a riot. It is not too late for the majority of the Board who promote this Festival to wake up to what is happening in their name and to put right this terrible mistake by withdrawing the film and the accompanying speaker, thus avoiding the Film Festival becoming a laughing stock.

 

If this does not happen, whilst I do not approve of boycotts in any form, unlike those who have hijacked the Festival with the inclusion of this film, I hope the film going public will vote with their feet and refuse to support it and that sponsors will withdraw rather than have their name associated with such a travesty.

However, the best case scenario would be to ensure this outrage is not allowed to happen, and that a Jewish event is not allowed to be used to promote anti Jewish and anti Israel sentiments.

 

Yours in disbelief

Joy Wolfe MBE

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Dear Sirs,

 

Your intention to include the Rachel Corrie film in the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival as well as the self-proclaimed anti-Israel groups that support it is, for the Jewish community and for Israel herself, the equivalent of being shot at by one's own troops and demonstrates that you have no interest in the real security or welfare of Israel.

 

How do you enhance the prospects of peace or the safety of Israel by enhancing the prospects and the profile of those people and organizations dedicated to war and the annihilation of Israel? This is the worst kind of self-destructive behavior. At some point you are going to have to decide just whose side you are on. Self-abasement is usually unattractive and always dangerous. Trying to display your lack of stuffiness and some sort of above-it-all even-handedness in order to appear civilized is a descent into the world of pandering appeasement that only serves to legitimize the alleged grievances of those who seek your ultimate ruin. Don't do it. Your moral compass will thank you as will those of us who are forever dedicated to the security, prosperity, and freedom of the Jewish people in their historic homeland.

 

Sincerely,

 

Paul Schnee

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Dear Sir/Madam,

 

I am writing to you in haste as I just learnt that in cooperation with two virulently anti-Israel extremist groups, the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), you have included a film from a staunch enemy of Israel to the Jewish Film Festival in San Francisco. I am talking about, of course, Cindy Corrie’s film “Rachel”.

 

I understand that Rachell Pfeffer, the acting national director of JVP who is on your board of directors, is no stranger to this unfortunate decision. As for AFSC, they went as far as hosting Iranian President Ahmadinejad at a celebratory dinner in New York on September 25, 2008 – need I say more…

 

In the 1940s, while not all Jews applauded to the return of their nation to its land of origin, their objections quickly vanished when they realized that their people were facing yet another threat of extinction from Israel’s Arab neighbors. 60 years later, some misguided Jews have renewed their objection to the existence of Israel in absurd deference to their party line. At a time when Israel is under a very real nuclear threat, this amounts to no less than abject treason, and as a Christian and a friend of Israel, it makes me sick.

 

But above all, the Festival is supposed to promote art and culture, not to serve as a propaganda platform. Including this film in the works presented in 2009 casts a dark and embarrassing shadow upon the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival . I always attend the same Festival organized every year in my area (Palm Springs), but if it becomes a senseless attack on Israel, I’ll stay home and I will tell my friends.

 

I urge you to reconsider this misguided decision.

 

Thank you.

 

Noëlle Pineau

La Quinta, CA
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This letter is written to you as a board member of the SF Jewish Film Festival
 
It has come to the attention of our news agency that the Jewish Film Festival is going to allow itself to be used in an inappropriate manner to spread the notion that Rachel Corrie was deliberately killed by the Israeli army.
 
It was our news agency that scooped the circumstances of Rachel's tragic death, based on real time interviews with Rachel Corrie's friends and our revelation of the distrorted photos issued by the ISM to Reuters which misrepresented Rachel's death, as if she had been standing in front of a bulldozer with a megaphone.
 
This is our news story that reveals the full context of how Rachel Corrie died.
 
http://israelbehindthenews.com/bin/content.cgi?ID=1676&q=1
 
It has also come to the attention of our news agency that the film festival board member, Rachell Pfeffer, has a conflict of interest, since she is a member of one of the virulent groups which misrepresents the circumstances of  Rachel Corrie's death.
 
The Question Remains: Will you allow a truthful account of Rachel Corrie's tragic death to be told?
 
 
David Bedein
Bureau Chief, Israel Resource News Agency
Director, Center for Near East Policy Research
Beit Agron Int'l Press Center
37 Hillel Street
Jerusalem 94581 Israel
www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
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Dear San Francisco Film Festival officials:
 
Thanks for having a Jewish film festival. I understand your attempt, no matter how misguided, to try and have different sides and perspectives in the films you choose to air and the speakers you invite to speak. I am disappointed, however, to hear that you are allowing a film and a speaker that deligitimizes Israel's right to exist. This will not advance peace and respect in the region or in your community. All it does is add to the confusion, narrowmindedness, and empower those that stand for extremism and annihlation of civilized people. Unless of course you are having speakers and playing films that rebut this perspective. My guess is you're not. 
 
For example, will you be playing the film "Relentless." Do you invite former PLO members that are now pro-Israel such as Walid Shoebat. Do you invite the family members of victims of Palestinian terrorist actions. 
     
There are plenty of festivals and functions one can attend to get the viewpoint that Israel is evil. All one has to do is watch or listen to the BBC, The Guardian, NPR, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera. Or better yet why don't you just invite your local Neo Nazi to attend and play some propaganda films from the 1930s. Shame on you.
 
From An Aipac Jew and proud of it,
Andy Reich
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Why are you promoting an event that is so anti Israel that if any other NON JEWISH organization would  promote, we would call it antisemitic?
Doesn't Israel have enough enemies without your so called Jewish friends?
A Jewish film festival needs to have movies that enrich people, inspire them, give them pride and knowledge, and not feed them anti-Jewish state propaganda. You have a one sided event that acts as the prosecutor, Judge, and jury, with no one to defend Israel.
 
Would you look at yourself in the mirror and say you didn't know this would happen when the bombs start falling in Israel? The same way some Jews were looking the other way when their people were slaughtered in Europe.   Rachel Corrie was a poor misguided young woman, that was accidentally killed because of her stupidity. Using her death as a tool to show Israel as the big bad wolf will not help anyone, but the haters of Israel. Israel is the only country in the world that would go to any length to protect and defend Jews, and save them from harm whether they are in Ethiopia or San Fransisco.
 
Israel is not perfect, no country is, but showing off all her flaws under a magnifying glass is not done from love and only helps her enemies. Her list of enemies is long and I didn't know that you joined it.
 
Please do the right thing apologize, and cancel this event.
 
Sincerely,
Nava Skolnik
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The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival has moved from its role supporting and analyzing Jewish thought and activities, to a political platform antagonistic to  Jewish thought and activities through its support of the Rachel Corrie propaganda apparatus.  Why should Jews support this self-destructive behavior? As we look around the world, is there a scarcity of hatred for Jews?  Do we really need to foment more self-hatred, particularly when there is strong evidence that Corrie was used just for that purpose?
--
Henry P. Kaplan, MD
20745 Sevilla Ln.
Saratoga CA 95070-4823
(408) 741-1338
ourhealthsystem.blogspot.com
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Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:
 
"Rachel" at the "Jewish Film Festival"?
What is next? "Al-Nakbah"? Or perhaps the film version of the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion"?
 
The cosponsors JVP, AFSC, ISM and RCF are anti-Israel extremist groups. Cindy Corrie (of the Rachel Corrie Foundation) has been relentless in her continuous campaign to delegitimize  Israel and promotion of the pro-Hamas, anti-Israel International Solidarity Movement (ISM).  Her RCF site hosts posts like Who Will Stop the AIPAC Jews Before it is Too Late?
 
I suggest each of you pick up a copy of the book The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege by Kenneth Levin.
 
In the meanwhile, I have a huge blister on my heart!
 
Gail Rubin, Davis, California
 
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Dear San Franciso Jewish Film Festival:
 
It has come to my attention that your upcoming festival will feature a film about Rachel Corrie and that speakers and sponsors who are adamantly against Israel and  seek to increase hatred of the State of Israel will present the film.  I don't imagine there is anything that I could say to disuade you from assisting in putting forth an agenda that mis states history and seeks to harm our brothers and sisters in the Jewish state.  I would, however, ask that rather than adopting a pose as a mainstream Jewish organization you have the honesty to change your name and avowed purpose to what it is:  The Anti-Jewish Film Festival.    
 
Abby L. Hyman
Attorney at Law
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