Jerusalem’s Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum has been urged to resign for backing a screening of Katie Hopkins’ latest film Homelands in the city.
Hopkins’ film, which claims to document “forced Jewish and Christian exodus from Western Europe”, was shown at the Jerusalem venue Beit Uri Zvi yesterday.
Other locations including the Yad Lebanim Cultural Centre in Ra’anana and Jerusalem’s Menachem Begin Heritage Center cancelled screenings this week after backlash.
Hassan-Nahoum, who watched the film, backed the event, despite concerns raised by Board Deputy Tal Ofer on social media.
“I believe in freedom of speech and so [sic] I did and I assume your organisation does too when you did nothing to stop the nabka movie week promoting BDS at the cinematheque a few months ago,” she wrote in an apparent reference to the Board of Deputies.
“There was no hate speech in the movie that was shown so I would suggest you see it before passing judgement,” she added.
Among the critics, Ofer called for her resignation, writing: “The Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem have let British Jews and the Diaspora down and her position as Jerusalem’s Diaspora Minister is untenable.
“We would expect her resignation from this diaspora role.”
Hassan-Nahoum dismissed Ofer’s criticim, writing: “You don’t speak for the Board of Deputies as I have now discovered so any talk of resignation should be about yours. I was elected and the people of Jerusalem will decide whether I stay or go not a left wing activist from London.”
After the event, Hopkins thanked the venue for screening her film, writing on Twitter: “My thanks to tenacious Israeli friends for screening Homelands last night – documenting the Jexodus from Western Europe despite pressure from London to shut us down [….] we prevailed. We hosted Homelands in the very place where the Holocaust was predicted, 15 years prior.”
Asaf Barki, CEO of Beit Uri Zvi, told Jewish News it “believes in an open political debate with a real freedom of speech. This means listening to all sides. Even if we do not share their beliefs. This means respecting our audience in knowing that they are intelligent enough to ask questions, to raise doubt and to make informed decisions on his own.”
In four days a monthly debate will be held here. This month we’ll discuss the peace plans with the chairman of the peace organizations forum and a Palestinian peace activist.”
“The left wing is not the sole owner of the truth, nor the only one who practice liberty and freedom of speech. So it is hard for us to fathom the attack from the left corner of the political arena on a Mrs. Hopkins as a Jews hater, when last night she honoured the state of Israel by singing HaTikva, our national anthem.”
In a statement issued later, the venue said: “The left wing is not the sole owner of the truth, nor the only one who practice liberty and freedom of speech.
“So it is hard for us to fathom the attack from the left corner of the political arena on a Mrs. Hopkins as a Jews hater, when last night she honored the state of Israel by singing HaTikva, our national anthem.”
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said: “Katie Hopkins is a deeply divisive figure – history has taught us that the far-right are no friends of the Jewish community.
“We have been in touch with the Jerusalem municipal authorities to convey our concerns.”