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Israel condemns screening of film about Palestinian journalist at UN HQ

Miral stars Freida Pinto as a Palestinian orphan caught up in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Israel has complained to the UN over the planned screening of a controversial new film by acclaimed US film-maker Julian Schnabel at its headquarters in New York, according to the Guardian. Miral, which stars Slumdog Millionaire's Freida Pinto as a young Palestinian girl caught up in the Arab-Israeli conflict, will receive a red carpet screening at the UN general assembly hall.

The film is based on the real-life experiences of Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal, who grew up in the Jerusalem orphanage founded by rich socialite Hind al-Husseini for Palestinian children she found in the street.

"This is clearly a politicised decision of the UN, one that shows poor judgment and a lack of even-handedness," Israel's mission to the UN said in a statement to UN general assembly president Joseph Deiss. Haim Waxman, Israel's deputy ambassador, added: "We are not aware of any other films with such contentious political content that have received this kind of endorsement from the president of the general assembly."

The decision has also come under fire from the American Jewish Committee, whose executive director David Harris wrote: "To say the least, we were surprised to learn about this highly unusual premiere under the auspices of your office. The film has a clear political message, which portrays Israel in a highly negative light."

Miral, which also stars Willem Dafoe and Vanessa Redgrave in cameo roles, is based on Jebreal's book of the same name. It is being distributed in the US by the Weinstein Company, whose directors Bob and Harvey Weinstein are also of Jewish origin.

The film centres on the experiences of two Palestinian women, beginning with the establishment of the Dar al-Tifl orphanage by Husseini in 1948. It continues until the Oslo peace accords of 1993. Along the way, it shows how one of the orphans, Miral, is forced to grow up fast when she falls in love with a Palestinian activist. The film was first screened at the Venice film festival in September.

Date posted: March 15, 2011 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 130