AJC Asks U.N. to Cancel 'Miral' Screening, Saying the Movie Offers a 'Negative' Portrayal of Israel

Jose Haro/The Weinstein Company

Harvey Weinstein and filmmakers defend the film, which they say encourages dialogue.

The American Jewish Committee has called upon the president of the U.N.General Assembly to reconsider his decision to sponsor a screening of Julian Schnabel’s new movie Miral at the U.N. on Monday night.

In a letter sent to General Assembly president Joseph Deiss on Friday, AJC executive director David Harris accused the movie, about a young Palestinianwoman growing up in Jerusalem, of portraying Israel “in a highly negative light,” calling it “blatantly one-sided.” But the film-makers quickly rejected that interpretation of the film instatements issued by the Weinstein Co., which is releasing the film on March 25.

“As a Jewish American, I can categorically state that I would not bereleasing a film that was flagrantly biased towards Israel or Judaism,” Harvey Weinstein said.

Schnabel, who shot the film in Jerusalem, said, “I love the State of Israel. I believe in it, and my film is about preserving it, not hurting it.

Understanding is part of the Jewish way and Jewish people are supposed to begood listeners. But if we don’t listen to the other side, we can never have peace.”

Screenwriter Rula Jebreal, who adapted her own autobiographical novel, said that, “Miral is a story about human beings -- Palestinian, Israeli, Muslim, Jewish and Christian -- and it explores how we all react differently to theviolence around us, whether physical, emotional, political or otherwise. It is a film about love, education, understanding, and peace. That seems like agood thing to show at the United Nations.”

Producer Jon Kilik invited the AJC to attend the screening, saying, “We made this film in order to encourage the very dialogue that the AJC seems towant to prevent. We hope that AJC will come to the premiere instead oftrying to cancel it.”

Miral already survived another hurdle when it was initially given arestrictive R-rating by the Classification and Rating Administration. The film-makers successfully appealed that rating, and the film is now ratedPG-13.