Columbia's Hamid Dabashi Uses BDS to Condemn Iranian Filmmaker's Trip to Israel
by Cinnamon Stillwell • Aug 1, 2013 at 1:35 pm
In contrast, eighty Iranian academics and opposition activists sent an open letter to the Times of Israel supporting Makhmalbaf's "bravery for breaking the taboo of visiting the state of Israel and conveying the message of friendship between [the] Iranian people and [the] people of Israel." Moreover, the letter states, "We believe that supporting the rights of the Palestinian people is not a sufficient justification to criticize an Iranian director's professional trip to Israel."
As for Makhmalbaf, he stands by his decision, noting that, "I try to unite people through arts, I am [a] citizen of cinema, and cinema has no border."
One might hope Dabashi, a film critic, film consultant, and self-described "theorist of trans-aesthetics ('art without border')," would reach the same conclusion, but, given that he's a member of the advisory board for the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel, it's clear that anti-Zionism trumps any alleged belief in the transcendance of art.
What's worse, Dabashi actually wrote a laudatory book about the filmmaker in 2010 titled, Conversations with Mohsen Makhmalba. Among other subjects, the two discussed Makhmalba's antipathy towards Iran's theocratic regime--the very regime with which Dabashi now find himself in tacit agreement, as Iran's hardliners have labeled the filmmaker a "traitor" and accused him of "treason" and "collaboration with the Zionists."
Both Dabashi and the Islamic Republic are pursuing a strategy of isolation, demonization, and bigotry rather than engaging with political opponents in an effort to find common ground. It's nice to know which side of the "peace" coin too many of our esteemed Middle East studies scholars are on.
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