The Aubagne International Film Festival has called on Israeli filmmaker Yariv Horowitz to retract his claims, widely reported in Israeli media, that he was the victim of a vicious anti-Semitic beating by “Arab youths” that left him unconscious while he was present at the festival earlier this month.
In a statement sent to The Electronic Intifada by the festival’s press office, the festival’s general manager Gaëlle Rodeville said she witnessed the minor incident and that it had nothing to do with racism or anti-Semitism. Rodeville’s statement also affirmed that, contrary to Horowitz’s repeated assertions, the youth involved was not Arab.
Rodeville called on Horowitz “to retract the statements he made in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and to exercise restraint in making allegations whose only effect is to reinforce communalism.”
She also said that the film festival’s version of events was supported by witnesses and video footage.
Rodeville appealed to the media to refrain from disseminating partial and unverified information that only feeds “hatred.”
The Electronic Intifada, which spoke to the local police commander in Aubagne, was the first to raise doubts about Horowitz’s claims, pointing out major inconsistencies in his account and suggesting that his allegation of an “anti-Semitic” attack by “Arab youths” was a fabrication.
Today’s statement from Rodeville, which we have translated from French and publish in full below, confirms that these suspicions were entirely justified.
France’s leading Jewish communal body Crif had claimed, based on Israeli media reports, that Horowitz had been “lynched.”
Statement from the Aubagne International Film Festival
Statement received by email from Manon Oullette, press officer for the Aubagne International Film Festival (Note: the statement in French is also published by the newspaper La Provence):
Aubagne, 30 March 2013. Gaëlle Rodeville, general manager of the Aubagne International Film Festival, wishes to provide a clarification in the face of the massive disinformation regarding an attack on the Israeli director Yariv Horowitz, who was present at the festival competition with his film Rock the Casbah.
“We were present when the attack on the director Yariv Horowitz took place on Thursday, 21 March at 10:30 pm. We are not in a position to judge who was at fault and no aggression is excusable. But it is important to establish certain truths:
It was not men who carried out the aggression but a young minor who was with others of his own age.
As far as we are concerned, he was not Arab.
The events that led up to a punch (a single punch) had nothing to do with a racist attack nor a lynching.
After being aided by the festival organizers, Yariv Horowitz was seen by the emergency services who found only a minor injury. They offered to take him to see the police. The director refused. His injury being minimal, he did not wish to go to the hospital either.
Far from being lynched, Yariv Horowitz rejoined the festival the following morning and took part in different events until the end of the festival.
He went on stage with a big smile the evening of 23 March during the award ceremony to receive his prize: special jury mention for the quality of his direction (see attached photo with him holding the microphone).
Our statements are supported by witnesses and videos. We ask the director Yariv Horowitz to retract the statements he made in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and to exercise restraint in making allegations whose only effect is to reinforce communalism.
We call for reason and ask those who propagate information to do their work according to journalistic professionalism and not to feed hatred with partial and unverified information.”