What’s the connection between the Boston Palestine Film Festival, the Intifada, and Chicago?

This weekend, the in-person edition of Boston Palestine Film Festival (BPFF) will open after being postponed due to the Oct. 7 massacre and Israel-Hamas war. The festival recently announced that “while the onslaught of Israeli violence continues,” they still plan to move ahead with their screenings at the Museum of Fine Arts and MassArt between Jan. 19-25.

In the mind of the BPFF leadership, there was no barbaric attack committed by a vicious Iranian-backed terrorist organization. No women and men were raped and mutilated. No 240 people of dozens of nationalities were taken hostage. No war crime was committed. Israelis just woke up on a Saturday morning of a Jewish holiday and decided to get violent with Gazans.

It is interesting to recall the celebratory email sent out by the BPFF in the morning of Oct. 9, only 48 hours after more than 1,200 Israelis were slaughtered by Hamas, reminding their subscribers to attend their festival, just to postpone the screenings two days later following Israel’s counter-attack (see my LinkedIn post from then).

That festival’s lineup included the comedy “A Gaza Weekend”: “When a deadly virus escapes from a lab in Israel, a British-Israeli couple seeks refuge in the Gaza Strip, which has hilariously and ironically become one of the safest places in the country,” goes the plot. It makes one cringe thinking about all the hostages that spent their first weekend (and many weekends since) at their Gaza prison.

Out of curiosity, I went browsing through the BPFF website to learn who is behind it. Even though it states that “The Boston Palestine Film Festival is organized and run by an all-volunteer Executive Committee,” it turns out that this BOSTON festival is operated by a nonprofit in…CHICAGO. According to the festival’s website, the foundation that supports it is the Chicago-based “Middle East Charitable and Cultural Society Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization.”

Its president is Ali Abunimah, co-founder and so-called journalist in The Electronic Intifada, a news platform that spreads antisemitic and anti-Israel propaganda and advocates for the BDS movement, whose declared goal is to destroy the State of Israel, and which has been acknowledged as an antisemitic operation by the Anti-Defamation League alongside multiple U.S.-based organizations.

In fact, the film festival and the infamous Electronic Intifada are run by the same nonprofit whose founder and president is Abunimah. Yes, the one in Chicago—”Middle East Charitable and Cultural Society Inc.”

The hatred and blunt antisemitism spread by The Electronic Intifada and Abunimah in particular is hard to miss online. See, for example, one of Abunimah’s latest masterpieces, denying Israeli women were raped by Hamas terrorists, which contradicts extensive fact-based coverage of the sexual violence by a series of media outlets including The New York Times.
I wish that the BPFF leadership could screen and promote positive messages of co-existence instead of smearing Jews and advocating for Intifada against Israel, unlike, for example, their Jewish counterparts—the Boston Jewish Film Festival—which isn’t operated by a dubious organization based in another state.
I also wish for the Museum of Fine Arts to reconsider hosting this festival, both this time and in the future.

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