The FIAT/IFTA website has added some information justifying their refusal to push back against the discrimination:
Everyone travelling to attend the FIAT/IFTA World Conference, no matter if the conference is held in the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Ireland, Beijing or the United Arab Emirates, must make sure to get a valid visa before entering the country. This is the sole responsibility of the attendee of the conference, and FIAT/IFTA does not have any influence on diplomatic relations between the country of a visitor from anywhere in the World and the country in which the World Conference takes place.Yes, they do. They have a lot of influence; by exercising the right to cancel the conference and to embarrass the host country into doing the right thing, just like tennis officials did in 2009 after Shahar Peer was denied a visa. Their pressure ensured that Israeli Andy Ram was able to play shortly thereafter:
Tennis governing officials warned that holding future tennis events in Dubai could be in doubt if the Emirates - which does not have diplomatic relations with Israel - continued to ban Israelis. The ATP, which runs next week's men's tournament, gave the UAE a Friday evening deadline to decide whether to grant Ram a visa.Also after Shahar Peer was denied a visa, the Women's Tennis Association threatened to no longer go to Dubai, and the Tennis Channel refused to broadcast the tournament.
"No player, who qualifies to play an ATP World Tour event, should be denied their right to compete on the basis of ethnicity, nationality or religion and we are happy that the Dubai Tennis Championships and the UAE have shown that they share that view," ATP president, Adam Helfant, said in a statement.
That is what FIAT/IFTA should have done if it had any sense of morality.
Algemeiner received an email from the Israeli nominee, Arik Bernstein, where he was taking the high road:
“I hope that this affair is finally coming to a satisfactory resolution. Meaning that our film ‘Israel: A Home Movie’ will be shown during the conference in Dubai. This for me was the most important element,” The filmmaker, Arik Bernstein, told The Algemeiner in an email.
The President of IFTA, Jan Müller, confirmed to The Algemeiner in an email that Bernstein would indeed not be attending the conference, but rejected any responsibility for his ban.
“Unfortunately, Mr. Bernstein, holding an Israeli passport, is not allowed to enter Dubai, due to political reasons. Neither IFTA, nor me as chairman and any other member of this federation of television archives. (sic) And neither the host of this conference, television company MBC, can be hold responsible for this sad issue,” he wrote.
I also saw from private communication that at least one other nominee is not flying to Dubai for his own reasons, but he expressed disgust at the discrimination against the Israeli filmmaker.
The Creative Community for Peace condemned FIAT/IFTA:
The recent decision by the organizers of the 'International Federation of Television Archives' competition to disqualify an Israeli film is a ridicule of artistic freedom and a clear case of institutionalized bigotry.
It is time to stop the politicization of art. "The festival organizers," says David Lonner, CCFP advisory member and CEO of Oasis Media Group, "substituted artistic and professional considerations with one-sided political ones." We, Creative Community For Peace, a coalition of entertainment industry executives [CCFP] and fans worldwide who have signed our petition [Petition], reject this injustice. We believe art and must be embraced as a tool to transcend political tensions.
Brian of London wrote in the Times of Israel about the fiasco as well.
So here’s the deal. If you hold a major event in Dubai you, your sponsors and your other participants are excluding Israelis (and by Israelis we mostly mean Israeli Jews).If your organisation is based in Australia, as a forthcoming case may well prove, you might even be committing an actual crime!
(h/t David, Jonathan)