His lies about brutal “Arab” attack in France exposed, Israeli director Yariv Horowitz concocts new ones

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Crif, the umbrella body for Jewish institutions in France, claimed on its website that Horowitz had been “lynched.” (Source)

Following the exposure as false of his claims that he was knocked unconscious in a brutal beating by Arab youths in France, Israeli film director Yariv Horowitz is now concocting new lies perhaps to cover up his earlier fabrications.

Horowitz now states falsely that he did not originate the claim that “Arabs” carried out the attack and that he has tried to calm the “maelstrom” sparked by his fabrications.

Yesterday, The Electronic Intifada reported that the general manager of the Aubagne Film Festival had contradicted the lurid claims by Horowitz and in Israeli media and called on Horowitz to withdraw the inflammatory statements he made about the 21 March incident in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Horowitz was at the festival in southern France to receive an award for his film Rock the Casbah along with Assaf Amdurksy, an Israeli musician who won a prize for the film’s score.

Amdursky, who also allegedly witnessed the incident, has not spoken publicly about it and neither he nor Horowitz have responded to repeated requests for comment.

According to film festival manager Gaëlle Rodeville, the minor incident had nothing to do with anti-Semitism or racism. Her statement was prompted by Israeli and Jewish communal media which had blown the incident up into – by several accounts – a “lynching.”

There was no “lynching,” Horowitz was not severely beaten by a group of youths and, regarding the single youth involved, the statement said, “As far as we are concerned, he was not Arab.”

Noting that no aggression is excusable, the film festival said that Horowitz received a single punch from a single person, although the person who threw the punch was present with friends around his own age. Horowitz suffered a minor injury and refused to make a police report or go to the hospital with emergency services.

Rodeville said that witnesses and videos back up the film festival’s account, and urged media to refrain from disseminating partial and inflammatory reports that feed communal “hatred.”

Horowitz responds … with more lies

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An official photo provided by the Aubagne International Film Festival shows a smiling Yariv Horowitz (holding microphone) receiving his prize on 23 March 2013. (Aubagne International Film Festival)

Today, the Israeli news website Walla!, citing The Electronic Intifada, confronted Horowitz with Rodeville’s statement and Horowitz replied as follows:

“The festival’s general manager was a witness to the attack and she says that I was indeed attacked,” Horowitz told Walla! Culture in response to the statement. “And it was not only her, but also Assaf Amdursky was a witness. If they are claiming that the attackers were not Arab then so be it, but they should find them and clarify why they did it.” The aim of this film is to bring reconciliation and I’m sorry that it’s in the midst of another storm like this. To say that I fabricated this is absurd and I emphasize that the general manager of the festival was a witness.”

Horowitz repeated the sequence of events on the evening of the attack. “We exited the venue and they jumped on me and I received blows. At that moment I did not at all think it had anything to do with the film or that the attackers were Arabs. The next day a person of Arab origin approached me at at a festival party and told me that he heard about the attack from friends of his daughter, and that they did this after one of them watched the film. Therefore this is all speculation. In the eyes of the French there’s no doubt they are not Arabs, they are French citizens.”

“If the film festival general manager thinks that the attackers are not Arabs and she has sources that can lead her to who did it then it seems to me to be worth it to clarify who did it and why. The media claims that I immediately declared that the attack had anti-Semitic motivations but this is not correct. I absolutely did not claim this. There has been a maelstrom and I have been trying to calm it down. You see, at the end of the day, what I’ve created is a film about reconciliation. The fact that I refused to file a complaint, what more do you need? It is sad how much hatred and tension there is. It’s a shame that a film whose aim is to bring people together is in the midst of such a storm.”

Unpacking Horowitz’s latest lies

  • In today’s Walla! report, Horowitz claims, “We exited the venue and they jumped on me and I received blows. At that moment I did not at all think it had anything to do with the film or that the attackers were Arabs.

But on 29 March he told Haaretz a different story which involved an exchange of words before the attack in which the attackers supposedly addressed him in an “Arabic accent.” Horowitz was emphatic about the identity of the attackers:

“They started to shout ‘fuck you’ at me in an Arabic accent. Assaf told me to ignore them, but I shouted back at them ‘Fuck you too’ and then they jumped on me. They knocked me down and kicked me, and as a result of a blow to the head I lost consciousness. It was clear that they were Arabs and drunk.”

Horowitz also told Ynet on 29 March, “In Israel I was criticized by the right and in France the Arabs beat me up.

Instead of taking responsibility for blaming “Arab” youths as he did unambiguously and repeatedly, Horowitz now blames an “Arab” man who allegedly approached him the next day for attributing the attack to Arab youths! For Horowitz, who apparently doesn’t check his earlier claims before issuing new contradictory ones, it seems Arabs are responsible for everything!

  • Horowitz says that he never attributed the attack to “anti-Semitic” motives and that he had tried to “calm the maelstrom.”

It’s difficult to think of a more disingenous statement. While Horowitz may not have openly attributed the attack to “anti-Semitism,” many others did. I can find no record of Horowitz contradicting the lurid claims of an anti-Semitic “lynching” or trying to “calm the maelstrom.”

In fact, some of his friends were reposting the inflammatory reports on his Facebook wall. Many of these friends posted comments expressing their outrage that he had supposedly been the victim of such a horrifyingly brutal attack and praised his courage and fortitude.

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“Thank you very much to everyone. I’m back and everything is fine. I feel excellent.” Yariv Horowitz never contradicted any of the most lurid media reports that he was “lynched.” (Source)

But at no point did Horowitz warn people that some of the claims circulating in the media might be exaggerated or unconfirmed. His only intervention on 30 March was to post a brief status update responding to the outpouring of concern and sympathy: “Thank you very much to everyone. I’m back and everything is fine. I feel excellent.”

On top of all this, Horowitz is now placing the onus on the film festival’s organizers to find his alleged “attackers” when he had the opportunity to make a police report and refused to do so.

And now he is whining about the “maelstrom” when he’s the one who sowed the storm with his patently false claims.

Update: 2 April

From JTA:

Richard Prasquier, the president of the CRIF umbrella organization of French Jewry, told JTA that after looking into the case he found “there is no evidence to suggest the attack was anti-Semitic. Claiming this is irresponsible.”

Comments

Horowitz brags that by not filing charges with the police in an attack that resulted in a concussion, he was demonstrating his desire for “reconciliation”—which was supposedly consistent with the theme of his film.

Yet by saying so, he is once again suggesting that the attack was of an “Arab vs. Jew” nature. Otherwise, what is this “reconciliation” that he is demonstrating?

...here between an Arab and a Jew, there would be no free bullshit promotion of his fake peace movie. Welcome to self-promotion of a liberal, social media style.

"It’s a shame that a film whose aim is to bring people together is in the midst of such a storm”, says Horowitz. However, I question his aim, or at least the belief that it is his aim.
I saw Horowitz's "Rock the Casbah" at a film festival screening where it received much applause from, what I felt was, an audience eager to see Israelis 'appearing' to be self-critical. I found the film deceptive and even propagandistic. Palestinians were depicted as rather stupid, humorless, stone-throwers, whilst the soldiers were depicted as young men thrown into an impossible situation, victims of government policy and Palestinian violence (human).
Horowitz said during the discussion that the Palestinians who threw stones in the film were terribly apologetic about doing so and were worried they might hurt someone. The audience clapped. I felt sick.
It would be interesting to hear what some Palestinians feel about the film.

I haven't seen the film but I've seen his shorter documentary "Aftershock" (20 minutes) that I posted on an earlier comment thread, and which is the basis for "Rock the Casbah", I think. Yeah, I felt it was meant as propaganda too, for internal Israeli navel gazing maybe, and that right from the beginning when he mentions his father participating in the 'liberation' of Jerusalem in 1967. Typical liberal zionist, 'crying-while-shooting'.... and I start getting fed up with Israelis who make films about their military service (cf. Folman). It's really part of the hasbara: aren't we liberal, we talk and are aware about our misdeeds.

This film is an insidious way of trying to portray Palestinians as the instigators of violence against the poor old confused Israeli soldiers who are caught between a rock & a hard place! What a load of rubbish! No one is making these "soldiers" arrest & abuse children are they? Makes you wonder if they are on performance pay don't you? A bit extra if you manage to get 3 kids! Sick! This illegal occupation needs to be ended NOW!!!

Artemis, thank you for that short review of the film. I have not seen it, but I had concerns that it would be of exactly the type which you describe - an attempt to depoliticise the conflict, and to portray the occupation as bad because it offends Israeli sensitivities.

The organizers of this film festival should have boycotted Israel and its films, whatever the alleged good intentions of the film itself , it 's bound to have received state fundings so it should have been boycotted, end of the story.

Mireille is correct, why did the organizers allow a film promoted by the state of israel even be a part of the festival? Boycott Divestment Sanction israel for it's brutal and inhumane occupation of Palestine!

Of Foreign Affairs it is boycottable, or if it promotes violence against palestinians.

Many things to say here about film festivals, which see themselves as forums for films and are hesitant to boycott. Few festival directors are aware of the real issues and insensitive to the portrayal of Palestinians. I feel this is in part due to a prevailing idea that Israel is like our democracies, a deeper anti-Muslim trend that most are unaware of, as well as the fact that the majority of filmmakers and intellectuals in Europe, particularly in Germany, feel they have been disqualified from criticizing Israel's policies publicly by the histories of their countries during the Nazi era*. I dispute their reasoning and see this as alarming intellectual laziness and a new form of cowardice.
However, Omar Barghouti says, rightly, that as taxpayers, all Israeli filmmakers have a right to funding. The question of boycott applies when they represent the State of Israel, are financed by the State when invited abroad, or sign the infamous document agreeing to promote Israel as a condition for travel funding. I do not know whether Rock the Casbah falls into these categories, but it certainly functions as indirect hasbara.
*A few days ago in a 'left-wing' German newspaper, the TAZ, Micha Brumlik, who had recently offered a poor performance in his debate with Omar Barghouti about BDS, wrote a long article entitled: "„They Beat Them to Death“- The Nazis called: Don't buy from Jews! Most Germans obeyed. The legacy of history prohibits us from boycotting goods from Israel"." Brumlik ignores many facts, including "...the boycott, however, proved unpopular at home and abroad..." Sarah Gordon, Hitler, Germans, and the "Jewish Question", Princeton University Press, 1984, S.121.