Mira Nair boycotts Israel Film Festival in Palestine’s support

Published: July 20, 2013
Nair tweeted that she stands with the Palestinian campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. PHOTO: FILE

Nair tweeted that she stands with the Palestinian campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. PHOTO: FILE

Internationally-acclaimed film-maker Mira Nair declined an invitation to take her latest film, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, to the Israel Film Festival. She cited the Palestinian call for cultural boycott for her refusal.

In a series of tweets, Nair made the following statement:

“I was just invited to Israel as a guest of honour at the Haifa International Film Festival with The Reluctant Fundamentalist. I will not be going to Israel at this time. I will go to Israel when the walls come down. I will go to Israel when occupation is gone. I will go to Israel when the state does not privilege one religion over another. I will go to Israel when apartheid is over. I will go to Israel, soon. I stand with the [Palestinian campaign] for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

[PACBI] and the larger Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions [BDS] Movement.”

Nair, who is the internationally-acclaimed director of Salaam Bombay! and Monsoon Wedding was called for her 9/11-based thriller The Reluctant Fundamentalist (TRF), based on Pakistani novelist Mohsin Hamid’s novel of the same name. The movie was released in Pakistan with Urdu subtitles, titled Changez. She has also been awarded the German Film Award for Peace, The Bridge 2013, for TRF.

The film tells the story of two conflicting ideologies – the “fundamentalism” of the capitalists and that of the terrorists – through a young Pakistani man chasing his American Dream.

Nair will be working along Nobel literature laureate Mario Vargas Llosa and British musician Peter Gabriel in a new film by Mexican director and screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2013.

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Reader Comments (21)

  • Arijit Sharma.
    Jul 20, 2013 - 9:39PM

    Stupid is as stupid does.


  • Abulahmed
    Jul 20, 2013 - 9:50PM

    Why doesn’t she boycott the whole west which support Israel ?utter hypocrisy for film promotion!


  • Al Waleed
    Jul 21, 2013 - 12:18AM

    Seriously, Israel is a civilizing influence on the unwashed masses of the middle east. They bring western education (the only nobel laureates from the middle east are israeli). They bring science and technology (any technological innovation coming out the middle east is likely israeli). Wouldn’t you rather have that than live for another 1000 years in the land of bearded mullahs and 7th century customs and practices? I think most younger people in the middle east (such as myself) will choose the former rather than the latter.


  • tax free
    Jul 21, 2013 - 12:44AM

    yes ..doha is a secular place with no slavery,with total religious freedom,with absolute rights for indian,pakistani labours ,yes a equal place for both of the genders ,no relgious apartheid and many other good things..right miss nair .!!!!!

    try to be real and not a hypocritical person with a superior intellect..


  • @Arjit Sharma
    Jul 21, 2013 - 1:05AM

    It’s actually a very admirable step.

    Unless you think you are smarter than Stephen Hawking, who also boycotted.

    Israel’s right wing government continues to increase illegal settlement activity despite increasing international isolation. This is only a reaction.

    Anyway, Nair made a personal decision. I’m a liberal, think anyone can make their own decisions without judgement in cases like these.


  • Optimist
    Jul 21, 2013 - 7:49AM

    I salute her courage. It is not easy to go against the powerful lobbies.
    Her influence will help Palestinian cause.


  • Optimist
    Jul 21, 2013 - 7:51AM

    @ Arjit Sharma

    Those who have no heart have always called the ones with Conscience as ‘stupid’. For some people bit of money is all they want, but actually there are mothers who care about innocent children being killed.
    South African govt had to cave in, even though it had many ‘intelligent’ supporters like you.


  • Pedro Pajaro-Carptintero
    Jul 21, 2013 - 12:51PM

    Good for her. Just look at so many of the racist comments to this news story, for example:

    “Israel is a civilizing influence on the unwashed masses of the middle east.”


  • Water Bottle
    Jul 21, 2013 - 4:30PM

    Really Mira?

    You don’t mind Indian army presence in Kashmir? You didn’t boycott India.

    You didn’t also mind the displaced and battered Kashmiri Pandits, who are not getting any rehabilitation assistance from Indian government?

    Let me see. That’s because you will lose your bread and butter.

    Boycotting Israel is ok. You don’t mind not eating Pita bread once in a while.


  • Vishal Kaul
    Jul 21, 2013 - 4:54PM

    Another mentally ill persona from India do stupid things. Why not Mira Nair boycott Pakistani writers and film line people for there country involvement in ethnic cleansing of Hindu kashmiri and in Pakistani Hindus also . Like Palestinian people’s Pakistani minorities and Kashmiri Hindus. Face extremism from radical terrorist Muslim group of Pakistan. Israel face also terrorism from Palestinian terrorist group Hamas and hizbulla and another Muslim terrorist groups who involved in killing of innocent Israelis why not Mira Nair protest these extremists and give a comment on there activities which are against humanity.


  • Vishal Kaul
    Jul 21, 2013 - 5:08PM

    Don’t hate Indian army for there presence in Kashmir . We kashmiri pandits save by the Indian army in 1989 . The people’s of jammu and ladhakh were also saved from Pakistani and Kashmir Muslim terrorist groups by Indian army . I agree on your statement that Indian government failed in rehabilitation of Kashmiri pandits in Kashmir after there exile. @Water Bottle:


  • Jul 21, 2013 - 6:00PM

    Hear, hear! This is why Mira Nair never visits Pakistan. She wouldn’t dream of visiting a state where they prioritize one religious group over the other;

    …where a President can only be from one religious group

    …where the religious pilgrimages of one only group are state sponsored

    …where a certain minority religious group cannot register its marriages

    …where a certain minority group does not have a right to self-identity;

    …where minorities are openly targeted, killed in broad daylight

    …where the minorities are told that the country’s laws will be made according to the majority’s religious beliefs, and if they don’t like it, they can leave.

    Isn’t that right, Mira Nair?


  • G. Din
    Jul 21, 2013 - 6:08PM

    Water off the duck feathers, Israel shall survive such a “mortal” blow from a demagogue such as Ms Nair!


  • Ameer Akhund
    Jul 21, 2013 - 6:14PM

    For all those egg heads who are saying that she should boycott West n do this n do that…folks she is just a movie director n she took this step to make west n Israelis acclaim that what they are doing is not serving humanity…..this is what max she can do in her own shoes…so be positive and appreciate


  • dannykid
    Jul 21, 2013 - 7:11PM

    Guess who graduated first in this year’s medical school class at the Technion, Israel’s version of M.I.T.? It’s a 27-year-old, charming, feminist, smart, open-minded and observant Islamic woman named Mais Ali-Saleh who grew up in a small village outside of Nazareth, in Israel’s Galilee. This is apartheid???
    Ali-Selah’s academic excellence not only marks her own personal achievement but also proves that contrary to propaganda spouted by proponents of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Movement — whose latest convert is Stephen Hawking — an academic boycott of Israel is the wrong approach to solving the Israel-Arab conflict. Moreover, it ultimately hurts the very people it claims to help. Ali-Selah put it best when she said, “An academic boycott of Israel is a passive move, and it doesn’t achieve any of its purported objectives.”


  • truthbetold
    Jul 27, 2013 - 3:58AM

    Cheap publicity stunt. If she is so much in support of the Palestinians, why is she (and her husband Mahmood Mamdani live in the US which supports Israel? Why not move back to India, Pakistan or Uganda, if they are sincere in their “support” for the Palestinians?


  • truthbetold
    Jul 27, 2013 - 6:16AM

    It is so ironic and amusing to see many Pakistanis shedding crocodile tears for the Palestinians. But, they have nothing to say when they are reminded that Zia ul Haq personally killed hundreds of Palestinians in the Black September operations in 1970’s. Also, they don’t see the irony and dichotomy of Arabs, Central Asians, Persians, Afghans and Turks invading ancient India and dividing and forming an Islamic state, on what was once Hindu lands for thousands of years.


  • zulfi butt
    Jul 30, 2013 - 1:00AM

    @Al Waleed:
    I wish you were an inhabitant of the parts of Palestine who have been dispossessed of their homes…may be you wouldn’t be that blase about it…To the point being Arabs being backward, you are spot on and are perhaps equally if not more responsible of the Palestinian plight!!


  • Gp65
    Aug 5, 2013 - 5:16AM

    @Faraz Talat: you said it. Agree with you a 100%. I was trying to make a similar point on the Reza Aslam blog.Recommend

  • KP5
    Aug 24, 2013 - 2:41AM

    Yeah sure Mira, and the minorities are living such a good life in Islamic states. e.g. Pakistan,Indonesia. If u seriously have such problem with Israel why are u living with ur muslim husband in a country which is a biggest supporter of Israel? Will u ever make a movie based on minorities getting abused in islamic states?
    Sure u can express ur views but that doesn’t make any sense when u can’t deal with the reality itself. Such a phony act!


  • Rashid
    Sep 2, 2013 - 1:44PM

    @Faraz Talat

    Well said.


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