Prominent French Jewish filmmaker Claude Lanzmann expressed "shock" last week that German leftists in Hamburg had violently prevented the showing of his debut documentary film, Why Israel, about the role of the Jewish state as a homeland for refugees.This happened last month, and it took three weeks for Der Spiegel to report it.
In late October, the 1973-produced film was scheduled to be shown at the B-Movie cinema, but roughly 50 left-wing activists from diverse anti-Israel groups affiliated with the anti-Zionist International Center B5 barred visitors from entering the movie house.
In Why Israel, Lanzmann - perhaps best known for his groundbreaking documentary Shoah - depicts Israelis who found refuge in Israel after the Holocaust.
The movie house said in a statement that it had been compelled to cancel the film screening and a podium discussion because "we were threatened with violence."
According to eyewitness reports in the German media, left-wing protesters ranging in age from 16 to 70 shouted "Jewish pigs" and "faggots" to the cinema attendees. A pro-Israel left-of-center group, Kritikmaximierung, cosponsored the showing of the film.
Werner Pomrehn, a radio host for the Hamburg-based station FSK, told the The Jerusalem Post on Friday that an anti-Israel activist had struck him in the face at the screening event. Asked about the International Center B5 demonstrators, Pomrehn, who reports on anti-Semitism in Hamburg, termed the group the "Pol-Pot Left."
The organizers plan to try to show the film again in December.