On Monday 22nd May 2023, the International Centre of Justice for Palalestinians hosted the sold-out UK premiere of Tantura at the renowned and iconic British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). Tantura is a ground-breaking documentary film, directed by Israeli historian and filmmaker Alon Schwarz. Through personal testimonies, historical documents, and archival footage, the film explores memory, accountability and censorship and examines the massacre and forced expulsion of the Palestinian inhabitants of Tantura by Israeli forces during the 1948 Nakba. ICJP’s screening came on the eve of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the massacre, marking it with particular poignance.
The event began with ICJP Director Tayab Ali providing an introduction to the organisation and explaining the significance of showing this film. His speech can be viewed below:
“Only when the asymmetric relationship between Israel and Palestine is brought to a position of symmetry will there be any real hope for peace.”
–Tayab Ali, ICJP Director
The screening was followed by a panel discussion chaired by Yasmine Ahmed, UK Director of Human Rights Watch. It featured Professor Avi Shlaim, Professor Nur Masalha and Palestinian filmmaker Hala Gabriel.
Avi Shlaim is Emeritus Professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford and a leading scholar on the Middle East. Nur Masalha is Professor of History at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, and an expert on the history and politics of Palestine and Israel.
The final panellist was Hala Gabriel, who directed the film One Night in Tantura, currently in post-production, which also deals with the Tantura massacre and forced expulsion. She has a personal connection as her father was forced to flee Tantura during the Nakba. You can view the full panel discussion below:
“The Nakba continues today. That’s the key point. The Israeli strategy in 1948 was maximum land and minimum Arabs in the Israel state. This is the current Israeli strategy in the West Bank. We need to catch up with the reality of an Apartheid state.”Professor Nur Masalha
“They were taking it like a military matter of fact: ‘This was our brigade, this was our strategy, this was our attack.’ There wasn’t guilt to them, they took it as war. It felt like they had an understanding to not remember.”Hala Gabriel
“The film provides a lot of insight into the conflict psychology of the veterans, but it doesn’t expose the collective view of Israel about itself: that the Israeli army is the most moral army in the world. It’s a myth. It never existed and it is preposterous to regard Israel, with its long list of war crimes, as a moral army.”Professor Avi Shlaim